A Foreign Language Teacher’s Professiogram In The Digital Era

Abstract

The modern educational space is characterized by its gradual digitalization and inclusion of electronic educational platforms not only in distance education, but also in online interaction between a teacher and a full-time student. Moreover, students devote more time to learning on their own. In such conditions, teachers spend more time on developing and providing electronic teaching materials, which means changes in the requirements for the teacher’s professiogram. It is getting more important to look for the most effective methods of teaching, the ways of providing information and material. Moreover, it is necessary to create a natural learning environment in the conditions of digitalization, which provides for productive activities, the development of a student’s personality, and cognitive processes. Methodologists try to obtain traditional results from online interaction. Modern universities often use electronic educational platforms where teachers can provide their courses supplementing the classroom work. The success of such teaching combined with computer technologies will largely depend on the teacher’s ability and willingness to use the Internet. This article is devoted to a foreign language teacher’s professiogram in the conditions of digitalization of the educational process and a wide use of electronic educational platforms. We will focus on the teacher’s professional competence, which allows to organize online interaction between teachers and students and to promote e-learning.

Keywords: A teacher's information culture; a foreign language teacher’s ability to use the Internet; professiograma foreign language teacher’s professiogram

Introduction

Modern researchers point out the importance of computer literacy for specialists in different spheres (Claro, Salinas, Cabello-Hutt, San Martin, Preiss, Valenzuela, & Jara, 2018; Svärd, 2017). The modern educational space cannot exist without the rapid digitalization of people’s life, connected with the use of digital resources aimed at improving various spheres of human activity. "The paradigm shifts from traditional literacy practices to multiliteracies, with the aim of engaging learners in using semiotic representation in various modes to convey their meanings, has increasingly attracted the attention of researchers" (Hui-Chin Yeh, 2018, p. 28). This causes a natural change in the teacher’s professiogram. Nowadays, University teachers are involved in working on educational and methodological materials to provide online interaction with students, which gradually becomes an integral part of the educational process. A modern student is a representative of the new digital generation, the aboriginal of the digital society – "a digital native" (Prensky, 2001, p. 1). Scientists point out significant changes in learning environments "Foreign language teaching and learning have changed from teacher-centered to learner/learning-centered environments" (Moeller & Catalano, 2015, p. 327). The role of the electronic space is getting more and more important, which influences the educational sphere (Aladyshkin, Kulik, Michurin, & Anosova, 2017; Bylieva, Lobatyuk, & Rubtsova, 2018; Gashkova, Berezovskaya, & Shipunova, 2017). E-learning is actively promoted in teaching foreign languages, in particular, teaching Russian as a foreign language. Distance education is provided online. In addition, teachers and students interact by means of special programs like modern video messengers such as Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, etc. Teachers can provide individual lessons and classes for a group of students (thanks to a video-connection in the form of a conference). At present, in the United States teachers combine traditional forms of the educational process with 3D computer games aimed at teaching foreign languages.

"E-learning has become the new stage of education informatization in most developed countries" (Korolyova, 2016, p. 222). In such conditions, "teacher's information culture " has several meanings. It is related to the formed "information worldview and the system of knowledge and skills that provide targeted independent activity to meet individual information needs by means of both traditional and new information pedagogical technologies" (Deryabina, Dyakova, & Zherebtsova, 2015, p. 13). Moreover, it also includes the combination of the knowledge system and skills providing the development of electronic courses, distance and online education, and the Internet interaction between teachers and students.

Problem Statement

In our article we will:

  • Analyze the structure of the foreign language teacher’s professiogram in the conditions of digitalization of the educational process.

  • Focus on the components of information and computer literacy of a modern foreign language teacher.

  • Define the concept of "teacher's information culture"

  • Mention the skills a foreign language teacher should have to provide a distance and online educational process

Research Questions

What knowledge and skills should a foreign language teacher have to organize the students’ educational activities and to develop their cognitive activity in the conditions of digitalization of the educational space?

What is the role of information culture in the professiogram of a foreign language teacher?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of our research is to determine the components of the professiogram of a foreign language teacher using electronic platforms for online teaching.

Research Methods

The research is based on the analysis of the scientific publications devoted to the problems of providing distance education and the problems related to information and computer literacy. We also take into account the educational portals of two Russian universities (Telecommunication educational information system - RUDN, "DERZHAVINSKI in the network" – Tambov State University named after G.R. Derzhavin). In addition, the authors of the article also created and tested their own electronic courses.

The following methods of research were used: analytical and descriptive, pedagogical (observing teachers’ and students’ activities).]

Main part. [A professiogram means scientifically grounded norms and special requirements for the professional activity and personal qualities of a specialist that allow him/her to do effective and productive work and to create conditions for the development of his/her own personality (Markova, 1996).

Taking into account the competence approach, we consider a foreign language teacher’s professiogram as a combination of components of the professional competence, which includes the following characteristics, presented at Figure 1 .

Figure 1: The components of a foreign language teacher’s professiogram
The components of a foreign language teacher’s professiogram
See Full Size >

In the new information and digital environment, the requirements for the teacher’s professiogram change, so there is a need to increase his/her computer and information literacy (information culture) that influences the success of the educational process.

According to Professor Bogomolov, computer and information literacy implies the formation of a number of competences: ICT competence (information and communication competence); a competence related to providing distance learning; psychological and pedagogical competences in the field of distance learning (Bogomolov, 2007).

Let us analyze the components of computer and information literacy of a modern teacher of foreign languages.

  • Information and communication competence (ICT competence) implies a purposeful, effective application of technical knowledge and skills in educational activities, which requires a high level of functional literacy in the field of ICT; an effective and reasonable use of ICT in the process of education to solve professional problems; using ICT as a basis for a new educational paradigm aimed at developing students as subjects of the information society that can create new knowledge and analyze information to get new intellectual and / or activity results.

ICT competence is associated with the formed information worldview; the ability to correctly formulate information needs and requests and use an electronic, computer information retrieval system. It is also connected with the awareness about the technology of providing information: the ability to use the acquired knowledge and information in educational, professional and other cognitive activities.

  • The competence related to organization of distance learning implies providing electronic teaching materials to arrange online interaction between teachers and students.

  • Psychological and pedagogical competences in the field of distance learning are related to the abilities to search for the most effective teaching methods, the ways of processing and providing information, creation of a natural learning environment for productive activities and the development of the student’s personality and cognitive processes.

  • The competence related to combining teaching with the Internet technologies implies the teacher's ability to provide distance interactive education by means of a stable Internet connection and special programs (modern video messengers), and electronic educational resources.

The development of the modern methods of teaching foreign languagesimplies that the teacher should have information and computer literacy skills.

"According to the 2006/07 statistics, over 90% of American universities (Hawkins & Rudy, 2007) and 95% of the British higher education institutions (Browne, Jenkins, & Walker, 2006) installed LMS-systems and provided them for the use of their teachers and students" (Maloshonok, 2016, p. 60).

Today, many Russian universities organize an educational process on the basis of a modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment (MOODLE), which is popular with the world community. So, on the basis of MOODLE Tambov State University named after G.R. Derzhavin created an Internet portal called "DERZHAVINSKY in the network" to promote e-learning. The portal is aimed at introducing new educational technologies (business simulators, virtual laboratories, etc.) within the framework of distance learning.

TUIS - the Telecommunication Educational and Information System of RUDN (the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia) is also based on MOODLE. The system is used by the RUDN employees and students. Currently, the electronic courses of the system are mainly aimed at supplementing full-time education and providing facilities for students’ individual work.

"To work in TUIS system, the teacher needs to be competent and to have special skills to develop the courses" (Chervyakova & Maslennikova, 2015, p. 5) and to monitor students' progress. Students also develop certain skills: ICT-competence; the competence related to fulfilling tasks within the electronic course; the ability to interact within the framework of the course; the competence related to finding the necessary information to perform a task.

Thanks to the program, teachers can give students various types of tasks. To revise the material, students should do different kinds of tests.

Any electronic course cannot exist without the Fund of Assessment Tools, the Rating System of Knowledge Assessment; the information about students’ progress, teaching materials and curricula.

Some tasks of the electronic course are assessed at the lesson; in addition, the course interface also enables teachers to monitor students’ progress online.

At the stage of higher education one of the aims of such courses is to help students to find information on their own. The modern educational environment provides a lot of information resources. On the one hand, it makes the learning process more accessible, but on the other hand, it can result in a superficial information search. Therefore, today the teacher's goal (especially a University teacher’s goal) is to help students to feel comfortable in the information space, to analyze teaching materials, and to develop critical thinking.

It means that modern students should be ready to work on their own. "Modern technologies help people to find easy ways to solve problems, which results in the fact that people become less active and too unmotivated to do things on their own" (Tkhostov & Surnov, 2005, p. 24). Thus, another goal of a teacher of foreign languages is to develop the ICT competence to be able to search for necessary information in a foreign language. To do this, it is crucial to understand how search engines work and to know which sites can help students to cope with the difficulties inherent in the process of mastering a foreign language. So, teaching Russian as a foreign language, a teacher can instruct students how to use reference information portals, for example, Gramota.ru.

"The educational process should be aimed at developing students’ ability to acquire and apply knowledge" (Vygotsky, 2010, p. 385). It is important to learn how to use foreign reference resources because they direct students’ "active energy" and help them to "look for knowledge and gain it" on their own (Vygotsky, 2010, p. 385). In this case, the psychological aspect is crucial: students have to be willing to work on their own; they should be motivated and be ready for e-learning.Let's focus on the skills a teacher should have to arrange a foreign language training forum, which is a different type of work within an electronic course (a teacher and his/her students discuss a problem online). Thus, teachers should be able to:

  • raise topical problems to make students think and get involved in discussions in a foreign language;

  • upload the relevant material to the portal;

  • make students participate in a polylogue: to show the ways how to arrange a verbal communication and to motivate them to improve their written speech.An electronic course provides educational materials of various types (aimed at teaching, checking, controlling, etc.). So, in this case we should determine the teacher’s role in the digitalized process of education.

Teachers have to spend a lot of time and work intellectually to include a task in the e-course. So, to use educational portals of universities teachers have to find and give links to video / audio materials, make students do listening tasks online, work with photographic and video materials, infographics. Teachers have to be able tomanually create a number of multiple choice tests. These skills expand the traditional definition of the teacher’s professiogram as they are related to the knowledge and skills of administering LMS-systems (learning management systems), basic knowledge of HTML coding and work with computer graphics.

The result of the reform of the education system has been the development of online education aimed at maintaining new kinds of demand - and sometimes even creating them.

"After the success of this approach to mass education many institutions organized such courses" (Bugaichuk, 2013, p. 150). The two key features of MOOCs:

  • Open access - anyone can participate in an online course for free

  • Scalability - courses are designed to support an indefinite number of participants" (Li & Powell, 2013, p. 6). "The peculiarity of MOOCs is online interaction between teachers and students and online examination" (Rochina, Rochin, & Rudakov, 2018, p. 175).

Providing real time e-learning, the teacher should be able to work with special programs: 1) websites for webinars (for example, My Own Conference, Webinar.ru, Mirapolis Virtual Room, etc.); or 2) modern video messengers like Skype, Viber, WhatsApp. Using websites, a teacher can interact with a group of students. Video messengers are more suitable for teaching one student or a small group of students.

Online teaching implies using electronic handouts like presentations, pages of textbooks, audio and video materials, links to the Internet resources, etc. Teachers create files which are assigned a number and dragged to the chat window of the video messenger. When the teacher gives instructions, students open the files that replace writing on the board, presentation materials, etc. It is impossible to use a traditional method of explanation like writing on the board when teaching students online. In addition, it is problematic to predict which files should be prepared in advance to explain all the material to the students learning online. The function of video messengers such as "Demonstration of the screen" allows to solve this problem. The teacher can make electronic records in any programs (Word, Paint, etc.), and let students see them online. Thanks to this function, students can also see pictures, photographs, tables, electronic textbooks etc.

Findings

Analyzing a foreign language teacher’s professiogram in the modern educational environment, we should take into account the following things:

In the new information environment, a foreign language teacher’s professiogram should include the teacher’s information culture related to the information worldview and a knowledge system aimed at purposeful independent activities to meet individual information needs, to develop e-courses and to provide distance and online education.

Computer and information literacy of a foreign language teacher implies the formation of a number of competences: ICT competence (information and communication competence); competences related to providing distance learning and teaching materials; psychological and pedagogical competences in the field of distance learning, the competence related to teacher’s ability to use IT providing distance education;

Electronic educational platforms of the Universities expand the teacher’s professiogram which includes more competences. Teachers should be able to develop new materials for the system of the distance education and by means of IT interact with students and monitor their progress online.

Conclusion

Online education became a means of higher education system renewal (Beetham & Sharpe, 2013). "Organizing such interaction demands additional efforts and time" (Grebenyuk & Bulan, 2015, p. 12). Modern universities use electronic educational platforms for the teachers to provide e-courses supplementing the classroom work. This influences a foreign language teacher’s professiogram which also includes the competences related to developing e-courses, providing distance and online education and arranging Internet interaction between teachers and students. Due to these factors, it is important to find the best and effective teaching methods and the ways of providing new information and material. In addition, it is crucial to create a natural learning environment in the conditions of digitalization of the educational space. Philology students should aspire to form a secondary linguistic personality to be able to use a foreign language in written and oral online communication. They should be ready for both face-to-face and Internet interaction in the form of a monologue and a dialogue.

Acknowledgments

The article is published within the initiative theme 050323-0-000 Russian Language in Different Linguistic and Cultural Surroundings.

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18 December 2019

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978-1-80296-050-1

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Future Academy

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51

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Communication studies, educational equipment,educational technology, computer-aided learning (CAL), science, technology

Cite this article as:

Deryabina*, S., & Dyakova, T. (2019). A Foreign Language Teacher’s Professiogram In The Digital Era. In V. Chernyavskaya, & H. Kuße (Eds.), Professional Сulture of the Specialist of the Future, vol 51. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 600-607). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2018.12.02.65