Skills Of The Academic And Professional Interaction In Master’s Students Training

Abstract

The relevance of a research is caused by search for the new technologies of training and modernization in the new conditions of «information boom». In this regard, this article is directed to recognize new technologies to develop critical thinking and the letter as the system of methods, which is adapted within a number of training courses in the Perm State National Research University. The article describes the course "Communications in the Professional and Academic Environment" developed by a group of authors (the initiative of administration of PSU) for first-year master’s students since 2018. The aim of the study is to describe technologies leading to the development of the academic and professional interaction’ skills during master’s students training. The leading methodological methods are: Free Writing, Focused Writing, «Expansion» or «explosion of the text», Text rendering/Collaborative Reading, The Socratic Method. The article reveals the content of these techniques and methods and presents the scheme of work with the text of Kant «What is enlightenment?» (1784). The materials presented in this article allow to develop scenarios of lessons and the scheme of work developed by authors. Furthermore, results show effectiveness of such technologies. However, the application of the described techniques is faced with a number of difficulties which are also specified.

Keywords: Soft skillsacademic interactionprofessional interactioncritical thinkingacademic writing

Introduction

In modern conditions of a global «information boom», a teacher cannot act only as a “translator” of knowledge. Search for the new technologies of training and modernization is a way to organize the process of training in new conditions. Development of information society causes need “to turn” education to problems skills’ formation of communicative behavior. In this context, special attention should be paid to the development of critical thinking and the letter as the system of methods and a technological basis model of three stages «a call – realization of sense (judgment) – a reflection». In many respects the conceptual fundamentals of pedagogical technology are defined by the theoretical ideas of the sociocultural theory of Vygotsky (2012). Interesting methodical developments and wide practical experience is available in the Bard college, the USA (Peoples, 2015).

Technology for the development of critical thinking and writing is adapted and used in the Perm State National Research University within the framework of a number of training courses. In our article we will consider the course "Communications in the Professional and Academic Environment" developed by group of authors (at the initiative of administration of PSU) for first-year master’s students since 2018. The training course "Communication in professional and academic environment" consists of intensive laboratory work, aimed at the study of texts as a means of professional communication and the modern concept of "new literacy", the development of practices of "critical reading", the creation of different types of academic and non-academic texts (essay, reviews, texts in electronic environment, etc.). Result of a course is writing of several essays devoted to reflections about the considered texts and problems lifted in them. During writing of the essay student’s show individual understanding of the considered problem, creative thinking, and skills of written statement of a thought. Besides professional competences, they demonstrate universal competences, showing ability to structure information, argue their point of view, to illustrate its striking examples, to summarize the stated material. These skills are necessary for any competent specialist to achieve success in any professional activity involving cognitive abilities of the personality (experience of critical thinking), special skills on work with information / texts and elements of emotional intelligence (Berezina, Vetoshkina, & Ignatova, 2018; Crosbie, 2005; Polyanina, Baleva, & Shevkova, 2018).

Problem Statement

Dynamics of social-economic transformation is driving the popularity of communication skills. The transition of the higher education to new Federal state educational standards, as well as other directions of its modernization entails some consequences. The relationship between a teacher and a student becomes more complicated. The critical atmosphere and importance of interaction increase.

Research Questions

  • To describe techniques and methods of the formation of skills of academic and professional interaction in master’s students training;

  • To present the scenario of one lesson;

  • To formulate discussion questions.

Purpose of the Study

Theoretical and methodological substantiation of technologies that provoke the development of the academic and professional interaction’ skills in master’ students training.

Research Methods

The course uses a number of techniques:

Free Writing - spontaneous writing of the text without a given topic. The created text is usually not read. General duration of the writing process is usually 3–5 minutes. It is necessary to write quickly, literally without tearing off the handle from paper. It is important not to stop and not to re-read written. The free writing allows to switch attention from what occurred outside audience and to focus on occupation and also to liberate a thought and to force it «to work quicker». The technique very well helps "to undersign", not to be afraid of a blank sheet and the thoughts. It is necessary to write having forgotten about stylistics and grammar, about spelling and that someone will read it. This is not a text, it is a stream of thoughts, released. The technique is based on the principles underlain still Elkonin (1966) and Davydov (1996) also it is widely used in modern psychotherapeutic practices, in training programs for development of creative thinking and etc. (Cameron, 2017).

Focused Writing – letter on a given topic. The topic usually is connected with the forthcoming subject of occupation. This stage is necessary for binding of the big problems lifted in the text with personal experience and the current situation (Halpern, 2000).

«Expansion» or «explosion of the text» – creation of "hypertext" and «intertekst» helps students to enter dialogue (dispute) with the author or coauthorship process, to find additional meaning of the text or to fill author's "innuendo" (Bart, 1989; Kristeva, 2004) through search of associations.

Text rendering/Collaborative Reading. The technology assumes that the text surely has to sound. It is important to hear the «voice of the text» (Xajdegger, 1991; Zhelezniak, 2013). Each student has to take part in reading, entering process in any order; he or she reads that volume of the text which considers necessary. Such principle also allows not to lose concentration of attention on the text, to see (to hear) additional meanings. In large texts on volume reading of the fragments which are in advance chosen by the teacher is possible. Usually the procedure of reading takes 10-15 minutes. As a rule, this technique causes the most serious rejection and a protest in audience of students as experience of «meditative, questioning, deciphering, «deconstructing», clearing up, interpreting» reading (readings aloud) is lost presently.

The Socratic Method (Berezina et al., 2018) – method of training and style of conversation which focuses on independent search by the student of the truth in a conversation and communication when interlocutors adduce arguments and the facts, and the teacher — the equal participant of discussion whose opinion is not decisive, and «to some of».

Findings

The group of authors has developed about 20 occupation scenarios, using the texts of various genres and styles as objects for work (for example, Kant, 1784; Baudrillard & Glaser, 1994; Borges, 1972; Nurkova, 1996).

As an example we will give the scheme of work with the text of Kant «What is Enlightenment?» (1784).

The lesson involves 2 couples (4 academic hours) conducted according to the scheme below (Table 01 ):

Table 1 -
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In the end of a course surely there is a process of feedback, recommendations and wishes in writing from students. Overwhelming number of students assess a course positively. Here are some examples: «The course teaches to write various types of the academic texts, practitioner on writing of the essay were especially useful. Patterns can be used on other courses. Interesting texts are selected for reading and work. Periodically it was necessary «to compare incomparable» which was a challenge to my competence abilities. Separately, I would like to note the feedback, because not all teachers pay attention to this - feedback is not in the form of points, but in the form of a detailed comment on the performed work». (a master’s student, degree in History). «I consider this course useful, because in most cases we finish school with a feeling of inability to write the most elementary texts. We are taught on the certain mechanism excluding creative thought and with this feeling we pass through all student's life …» (a master’s student, degree in Geology). «Working with various texts from the field of philosophy, sociology, art is very uncharacteristic for the natural science direction. This entails a powerful personal development: the ability to formulate their thoughts in oral and written forms. Develops a written thought, teaches reflect on topics not related to one’s own daily life, and relieves internal stress when presenting one’s own thoughts to other people» (a master’s student, degree in Chemistry).

We received separate critical remarks and suggestions, for example: «There was not enough work with «formal» academic texts in the specialty - hereinafter, our emphasis). I would like to delve more into this area» (a master’s student, degree in Biology). «Perhaps, there was not always enough dialogue between students. After we write down and we sound thoughts, sometimes there was a wish to agree or not to agree with someone even if initially you did not look at the text at all from a certain point of view which was seen by your fellow student. The written language to some extent limits because it is only necessary to read what you wrote before scoring of all options» (a master’s student, degree in History). «There was not enough operating time with texts because the rate of work at all different. It was necessary to supplement gaps in work with the text already at home, and effect of work of the house not such any more. There is not that efficiency what is on couples» (a master’s student, degree in Physics).

These responses very precisely note problem points of a course.

First, we note that it is difficult for specialists in the humanities who are teachers to work with natural-science texts, for example, in chemistry, physics, geology, etc. It is a problem which we really faced. In this regard prospect is expansion of professionally focused texts. As examples it is possible to consider autobiographical and biographic texts of key representatives for everyone sciences (for example, books from the series «The Life of Remarkable People»).

Secondly, each lesson includes a wide range of the individual, group written and oral tasks performed in audience. Special attention is paid to group discussion and mutually reviewing of oral and written works of students. We organize the educational process based on the principles of the Socratic Method (Berezina et al., 2018): collectivity (we organize group work); reciprocity (students share their observations when working with texts); support (teacher and colleagues listen carefully, do not interrupt, accept); focus (the course is aimed at the formation of relevant competencies, each lesson has a goal and is built according to the script). Creates a safe inspiring environment, conditions for communication are created (Vygotsky, 2012). However, our work is only the first stage in the development of group dynamics (Foppel, 1999), which needs the subsequent support and maintenance (including, other courses of the curriculum). Unfortunately, in lack of such support, there is a risk of fading of the started processes (Ebbingauz, 1911).

Thirdly, the format of work assumes both classroom and out-of-class work. Working at home, students get experience of independent activity and a reflection (Karpov, 2003). This process is connected with overcoming specific psychological features and overcoming personal difficulties. Therefore, the arising discomfort is explainable.

Conclusion

The use of the described techniques (Free and Focused Writing, «Expansion» or «explosion of the text», Collaborative Reading, Socratic Method and etc.) forms a personally-oriented positive environment conducive to creativity, the development of the reflexive abilities of the participants in the interaction, and the work with texts. The teacher acts as a facilitator who supports the process of self-expression. In this context, traditional ideas (Komensky, Lokk, Russo, & Pestalozzi, 1989) about a student as a creature to be disciplined or normalized and, accordingly, about «vertical» interaction with the teacher are overcome.

However, the application of the described techniques is faced with a number of difficulties and restrictions. First, the coverage of smaller quantity of specific questions, than in case of traditional (a lecture and seminar way, for example) statements of maintenance of a training course is supposed. Secondly, there is an obvious unreadiness of the majority of teachers to change the role behavior.

From a teacher who builds his or her activity on the basis of the presented technology requires not only knowledge of specific actions and their sequence, but also the ability to «feel» the situation, students, features of the studied material and the most subject matter is required. The same technology in the hands of specific performers may look different: here the inevitable presence of the personal component of the teacher’s activities, the characteristics of the student population, their general mood and psychological climate in the audience.

The use of this technology contributes to the development of the student's ability to reflect not only on the results, but also on the process of their own activities, it helps the student to move from the position of the object of pedagogical influences to the position of the subject of active learning activities. Obtaining such experience contributes to the development of constructive and effective academic and professional interactions.

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

23.01.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.01.25

Online ISSN

2357-1330