The purpose of the research is to analyse students' perceptions of their own specific and transversal competencies, the diversity and typology of the formulated competencies, competencies’ formulation modalities. The data were collected using the survey method, and 30 geographic students answered the questionnaire. The data collection was done in 2019 by the survey method. In the seminar of the discipline Geography Didactics we have applied a questionnaire with two open questions: Which are the transversal competencies (besides disciplinary) you have trained and developed in different contexts, apart from university studies? Which are the specific competencies that you have trained and developed in the study program from the specialization for which you are preparing? The formulations were subjected to content analysis, qualitative text analysis and comparative method. We determined: greater diversity of categories and transversal competencies than that of the competencies specific to specialization; ascertainment of some competencies areas in the case of transversal competencies; presentation of hierarchies and classifications of transversal competencies; a higher average per student of transversal competencies, compared to that of specific competencies; different ways of presenting competencies (grouping by categories and subcategories, competencies areas enumeration; competencies enumeration); similar formulations as meaning in the name of a skill. The students in geography presented more comprehensive lists than those in previous series and demonstrated the use of transversal competencies in the context of the observed didactic activities.
Keywords: Studentshigher educationcompetencies areacompetencies typologies
The inhabitants of the present space of Romania have proven throughout their historical time that they hold diverse competencies and developed at a high level (Scridon & Ilovan, 2015, 2016; Ilovan, Jordan, Havadi-Nagy, & Zametter, 2016), and in the pre-university and university education there was a permanent interest in training the competencies of those who learn (Dulamă & Ilovan, 2015; Dulamă, Ilovan, Bagoly-Simó, & Magdaș, 2019). At present, competencies represent the main aims of vocational education and training, specified in the official documents of education (legislation, programs and textbooks). In this study, the competencies will be analysed from the perspective of the definition of competencies mentioned in Art. 4. of the Law of national education (Parlamentul României, 2011): “multifunctional and transferable set of knowledge, habits / competences and competencies” (p. 2). Brien (1997) mentions that this set is made up of declarative knowledge, procedural knowledge and attitudes and that this assembly is activated in the planning and execution of a task that requires more operations. Regarding transversal competencies, Tsankov (2017) argues that they are formed in specific contexts and that they provide opportunities for the proper accomplishment of the person's practical activities.
The way of training the students' competencies, mainly of the geographers, and of assessing the level of competence has been the aim of many studies. Recent studies have focused, in particular, on the use of ICT and digital competencies in the training and development of other competencies of "digital native" students. Thus, the development of the specific competencies of the students in geography to analyse the urban landscape was studied and the changes within it using web-based research and visual imagery (Ilovan, 2019) and by using digital mapping (Ilovan et al., 2019). One study looked at how students use online apps, web sources and electronic devices to analyse and interpret the geographical processes in the field and in the laboratory (Rus et al., 2019). The digital competencies of the students in geography from generation Z has been harnessed in making didactic films about the use of teaching methods and means in some learning activities in order to support the training and development of the didactic competencies of the future geography teachers (Dulamă, Ursu, Ilovan, & Voicu, 2019). Although the Internet is a valuable source of information and working models, in training professional competencies in the academic environment, the teacher plays an essential role in designing and organizing activities for training and developing competencies (Dulamă, Ilovan, Ciascai, & Maroşi, 2015), as well as in assuring feedforward and feedback regarding the level of competence achieved by the student and its growth modalities (Dulamă & Ilovan, 2016). The individual study carried out by the students was analysed and included in the category of transversal competencies Jucan (2014, 2016).
Students in geography who go through the program of psycho-pedagogical studies to become teachers learn about the theories and practices regarding competencies in order to be able to create to their students appropriate contexts to form the competencies provided in the official documents. In the scientific and didactic works in Romania there are different opinions about the concept of skill, about their typology and formulation, about the training and evaluation mode (Mândruț & Dan, 2015), we asked about the students' perception regarding competencies. Because in studies it is shown that a teacher can facilitate the training and development of the competencies he holds, to the students. (Dulamă & Ilovan, 2016), we asked ourselves what are the competencies that students have when discussing competencies.
The questions we sought to answer in this research are the following: What are the transversal competencies that students in geography consider to have? What are the specific competencies for the specialization that students in geography consider that they train and develop through the study program they are currently pursuing? How do students formulate and describe their competencies?
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this research is to analyse students' perceptions of their own specific and transversal competencies the diversity and typology of the formulated competencies, competencies formulation methods.
30 students from the Faculty of Geography - Babeș-Bolyai University from Cluj-Napoca from five specializations from the 2nd year, university degree level participated voluntarily in this research: Geography (12 students), Geography of tourism (11), Territorial planning (3 students), Cartography (2 studenti), Hydrology, Meteorology (2 students). These students go through the program of psycho-pedagogical studies to become teachers of geography.
The measurement instruments is made up of students' answers to the two questions to which they replied in writing and which they presented orally during a seminar.
The data collection was done in 2019 by the survey method. In the seminar of the discipline Geography Didactics I have applied a questionnaire with two open questions: Which are the transversal competencies (besides disciplinary) you have trained and developed in different contexts, apart from university studies? Which are the specific competencies that you have trained and developed in the study program from the specialization for which you are preparing? The answers were presented in writing and orally. Through the interview method we obtained the necessary information to clarify the content / description of the competencies listed by the student. We processed the formulations of competencies by the content analysis method, by the qualitative text analysis method and by the comparative method.
Analysis of transversal competencies.
We note the diversity of competencies in the students in geography (116 competencies) and the competencies areas (23 areas) in which we have classified them according to the characteristic of their content. From the analysis of these competencies, we appreciate that the participants in the study form them during the pre-university study years (communication in Romanian and foreign languages, digital competencies, mathematical competencies, sports competencies etc.), and others in other contexts (children's clubs, private lessons, providing some jobs, family life etc.). During their presentation, we asked students to describe certain competencies that they claim to have (for example, Identifying the type of temperament; some techniques in the visual arts) or the context in which they were formed. We found that they described them (declarative knowledge and procedural knowledge) and they even applied / used them properly, in front of their colleagues (Identifying the temperament of the second author). Compared to the lists made by students from previous years, we emphasize that the lists of competencies of the current students have been much more comprehensive, more diversified. Also, in the course and seminar activities we noticed the high level of some competencies (oral and written communication, digital competencies, problem situations solving etc.), which represented a solid basis for the training of the competencies (Muste, 2016) for the career of teacher and a proof of the self-evaluation and the presentation with a low degree of subjectivity of their own transversal competences.
Analysis of the specialization competencies.
Regarding the specific competencies nominated by students for a specialization, based on the data collected, the following hierarchy is highlighted: Geography of tourism (9 specific competencies); Cartography (8 specific competencies); Hydrology Meteorology (7 specific competencies); Territorial planning (3 specific competencies). Although in the Geography specialization we could assign a number of 18 competencies, these were assumed to be formed also in students from the other specializations, many of these competences having a more general character. We also observed that, in the hierarchy of competencies that the students in geography develop, we have: digital skill (24 students – a share of 80%), skill of orientation in space / land (15 students - 50%), map analysis / interpretation / use (10 students - 33%).
From the analysis of the specific competencies formulated by the students, we notice several aspects: the nomination of some competencies areas (digital competencies; territory planning and design; territory research and analyse; topography competencies, cartography, meteorology, hydrology, marketing, sports competencies); connection of several competencies into one formulation (Interpretation of diagrams and graphs); detailing a skill area (digital competencies: GIS, ArcGIS, ArcMap; interpretation of geological maps, of flood risk; explanation of geographical phenomena/processes: geomorphological); constructing similar formulations as meaning (pace organization/ territory planning and design); Listing of transversal competencies (team work English, public speech, argumentation, projects presentation, data collection, information / data processing). A student refers to a skill level, being aware of the minimum level of some of his competencies).
At the end of the research, our main findings regarding the competencies presented by students in geography are: greater diversity of categories and transversal competencies than that of the competencies specific to the specialization; establishing some competencies areas in the case of transversal competencies; presentation of hierarchies and classifications of transversal competencies; a higher average per student of transversal competencies, compared to that of specific competencies; different ways of competencies presentation (grouping by categories and subcategories, listing of competencies areas; listing of competencies); similar formulations as meaning in a skill denomination. Students in geography have presented more comprehensive lists than those in previous series and have demonstrated the use of transversal competencies in the context of the observed didactic activities.
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17 June 2020
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Teacher, teacher training, teaching skills, teaching techniques, special education, children with special needs
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Andronache, D., & Dulamă, M. E. (2020). Transversal And Specific Competencies In The Perception Of The Students In Geography. In & V. Chis (Ed.), Education, Reflection, Development – ERD 2019, vol 85. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 713-722). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.06.74