The article discusses issues related to the improvement of economic education in modern conditions. The transition of Russian society to new forms of economic management, the transition of mankind to a new technological platform imposes completely different requirements for the quality of training economic personnel in a higher educational institution. The modern labor market also forms certain requirements. The transition to a competency-based teaching method requires appropriate pedagogical teaching technologies. In our opinion, a practice-oriented approach to teaching plays an important role in solving these problems. When forming the content of academic disciplines in the conditions of practice-oriented learning, the fundamental is the possibility for students to obtain practical skills in applying the knowledge acquired in each discipline to solving problems from the field of future professional activity. Such tasks allow students to independently formulate professional problems, set a goal, look for the optimal solution, analyze the results obtained, build predictive models, and get the first practical experience. The results of the conducted pedagogical experiments (ascertaining and formative) with students studying in economic specialties of universities have shown the importance of the applied practice-oriented teaching technologies. The academic success of students has increased, the motivation for learning has improved significantly, the number of students involved in extracurricular forms of professional development has increased. According to employers' feedback, the quality of student training has improved significantly, and the time to enter the specialty has decreased. Some of our students have become winners of various professional olympiads and competitions.
Education in a person's life plays a fundamental role regardless of the area of their professional activity. Education for every person is a value that allows getting a certain social status and level of income. The market method of economic management, the transition of society to a new technological platform contributed to the emergence of a sufficiently large number of jobs for specialists in the field of economic activity. A whole range of new directions and specialties and vacancies in the labor market are emerging. A modern specialist in the field of economic activity must solve not so much standard problems as in a rapidly changing political and economic environment, be able to analyze, plan and make decisions with incomplete data, use full-fledged mathematical methods and the capabilities of information and communication technologies to find the optimal solution. The current stage in the development of Russian society has identified the problem of having a sufficient number of specialists in the field of economic activity. And at the same time, at present, economic education for school graduates remains the most in demand. The choice of a future profession by applicants is usually associated with advice from parents and "fashion".
The saturation of the labor market with specialists in the field of economic activity leads to a reduction in the number of budget-funded places for economic specialties in universities and an increase in the share of the commercial form of obtaining economic education. Despite this, the popularity of economics education among school graduates is not reducing. The society has heard many new interesting names of specialties associated with the work of banks, enterprises and firms of various forms of ownership. For admission to economic specialties, it is necessary to pass the exam in Russian language, mathematics and social studies. Russian is a compulsory exam. The number of students taking social studies is growing every year and is currently about 60%. It is not so difficult to pass mathematics at the university threshold. You don't need special talents to get an economic education. The job of an economist has always been associated with big money. So, the choice of a profession related to economic activity is not always understood among applicants with the internal content of the specialty itself, but only with its external attributes. Thus, first-year students do not always clearly understand the area of their future professional activity, do not see the final image of a specialist, do not understand the requirements of the modern labor market.
Employers have complaints about the quality of student training in universities. This is due to the fact that university graduates have incompletely formed competencies for successful labor activity. There are quite a few practically prepared students who could make optimal decisions in professional problems and make full use of the possibilities of modern science. As a result, the adaptation period for young specialists in a company takes long. Sometimes an employer spends money on training a young specialist. (Berdnikova & Monaco, 2019).
These problems are associated with the organization of the educational process at the university. The period of study at the university allows the student to receive a certain amount of knowledge. At the same time, as a rule, the ability to apply the acquired knowledge to effectively solve problems from the professional field is not developed. Students do not reach the required level of competence. For example, in the first year, students study disciplines related to block 1: the basic part. These are general education disciplines. They are aimed at the formation of general professional competencies. The content of the disciplines of this block is not refracted through the prism of future professional activity. So, the first-year students come with a poor understanding of the image of a professional in the field of economic activity. And the disciplines studied in the first year do not create motivating conditions for training, for the formation of the image of a professional in the field of economic activity.
The analysis of the field of future professional activity of students made it possible to determine the ways of changing the process of preparing students at the university. The goal of training in each discipline, regardless of its basic affiliation, should be determined by the nature of future professional activities. In these conditions, technologies of interdisciplinary, practice-oriented learning become significant. The issues of practice-oriented learning are reflected in the works of D. Warneke, A. Verbitsky, S. Pitch, T. Pushkareva, V. Serikov and others.
Verbitsky (2017) examines the formation of practice-oriented learning based on the possibilities of the contextual study of all disciplines. Their study should be focused on the acquisition of knowledge, expertise and experience of practical application.
Warneke (2007) believes that the practice-oriented approach is an active form of organizing vocational training, intended for use in theoretical and practical components, which is realized by saturating the educational process with elements of professional activity.
Thus, the practice-oriented approach in vocational training orients the educational process at the university towards the end product of the pedagogical process – the formation of students' professional working skills.
At the same time, the role of the teacher also changes: from a translator of knowledge to a manager organizing various types of student activities aimed at the formation of professional competencies (Vyatkina et al., 2017) The teacher's inclusion of real professional situations in lecture and practical material is the result of a practice-oriented approach. This does not violate the classical principles of education, its fundamental nature. Acquaintance of students from the first days of study at a university with professional tasks in the study of various disciplines allows students to understand the area of future professional activity, teaches them to formulate professional problems, analyze, find ways to solve the subject by means of the studied subject, choose the optimal solution, build predictive models.
Thus, first-year students usually choose a specialty, as a rule, under the influence of external insignificant factors and poorly realize the area of future professional activity. The study in the first year of disciplines of the general education cycle, the content of which is not related to the area of future professional activity, reduces students' motivation to learn. The problem arises of the development and creation of pedagogical conditions that make it possible to form the image of a professional in the field of economic activity by means of all studied subjects, regardless of their basic belonging, starting from the first days of study at a university.
To solve this problem, it is necessary to develop pedagogical conditions for supporting the educational process of students – future economists – at the university: enrichment of educational material and activity with professional tasks of personality-oriented content. To solve this problem, it is necessary to change teaching methods and form a new approach to teaching, the use of appropriate pedagogical technologies for teaching students of economic specialties. For their successful implementation in the educational process of the university, the following conditions must be met.
The presence of a sufficient number of developed practical tasks from the field of future professional activity of students, solved by means of all studied disciplines, regardless of its cyclic affiliation. This is especially true for the disciplines studied in the first year.
Development and implementation of the necessary pedagogical technologies for conducting lectures and practical classes. Pay special attention to the compilation and solution of cross-cutting problems. In junior courses, use the technology of conducting binary classes with the involvement of the entire teaching staff.
Purpose of the Study
To solve this problem, it is necessary to use innovative pedagogical technologies for teaching students of economic specialties. This technology is a practice-oriented teaching method. Practice-oriented education is aimed at obtaining students' knowledge of the subject, acquiring and enriching the experience of solving professional problems by means of the studied subject. It forms personal structures that allow professional activities to be engaged in, which in turn is a powerful motivational factor in learning. This approach allows creating conditions for the formation of students' readiness for future professional activities within the framework of the competence-based approach. The tasks of practice-oriented learning include
- the formation of graduates of excellent knowledge of theoretical and practical skills;
- expansion of cooperation of employers with higher educational institutions for students to gain work experience and further employment;
- increased efficiency of the practice passed by students in the learning process (Luneva et al., 2019).
The methodological basis of the research was formed by the axiological and humanistic approaches, according to which a person is the main value of society and, accordingly, of the educational process; a competence-based approach that allows organizing the educational process and evaluating its results, a practice-oriented approach. Theoretical methods made it possible to analyze the main educational programs, curricula for each studied discipline. The ascertaining and formative experiments allowed obtaining an evidence base for the correctness of our reasoning.
One of the ways to solve this problem is to change the approach to teaching general education disciplines. To solve this problem, the authors have developed an innovative program for delivering mathematics to students of economic specialties, in which filling abstract mathematical concepts with tasks having professionally oriented content is the main component. A system of economic problems was developed in accordance with the main sections of the course in mathematics: linear algebra, analytical geometry, differential calculus, integral calculus, functions of many variables, differential equations (Monaco, 2019).
Teaching students to solve problems in mathematics according to the proposed system becomes the first step in the professional development of future economists. These tasks reflect the area of future professional activity of students, establish connections between the processes taking place in society, economics and scientific knowledge from various branches of science. When solving such problems, students get acquainted with various economic situations, analyze them, establish the interaction between the available mathematical knowledge and methods for solving economic problems, predict possible scenarios for solving professional problems. With this approach, the necessary professional competencies are formed, inter-subject and inter-cycle connections are established, for the first time, students have the opportunity to get acquainted with professional problems, for the solution of which it is necessary to use the newly studied mathematical material. For students, the solution of the proposed practice-oriented tasks is a powerful motivational factor in learning.
In the process of solving practice-oriented problems, various economic situations arise, implying an ambiguous solution. In these conditions, the role of the teacher is to justify the choice of an effective solution using the methods of mathematics, to help select the appropriate method and find the optimal management solution. The solution of the proposed economic problems and examples, as well as the discussion of the professional situations arising in this case, allow obtaining constructive economic knowledge necessary for practical work. This approach motivates students to study both theoretical and practical material in all studied disciplines. It will allow them to consolidate the theoretical mathematical knowledge they have received, teaches them how to use it to solve professional problems, and practice ways of behaving in various economic situations.
Another area of improving economic education is the use of interdisciplinary connections. For example, in the first year, students study economic theory. Many questions of this science have good mathematical interpretation and implementation. To establish links between the sciences, binary classes were used as one of the forms of integrating subjects. Binary classes are one of the forms of implementing the principle of interdisciplinary communication. They enable the systematization and generalization of the knowledge available to students, the formation of the holistic perception of the material being studied, the integration of knowledge from various branches of science to solve one problem. They enable students to apply the acquired knowledge in the study of various disciplines in practice to solve problems in the field of future professional activities, contribute to the formation of professionally important personality traits. Binary classes lead to overcoming the disciplinary disunity of scientific knowledge, they show both intra-subject and inter-subject connections. Binary classes are the result of a creative union of two or more teachers who become like-minded people and co-authors. Such classes are a creative process that is born in front of the students and they themselves become its participants. The result of such classes can be considered the formation of students' conviction in the presence of interdisciplinary connections, their ability and experience to transfer existing knowledge to new areas. They get the opportunity to solve professional problems with the help of knowledge gained in the study of two or more disciplines, learn to work in non-standard situations. Binary classes help to unite the efforts of two teachers of various disciplines, create conditions for their closer acquaintance with the field of future professional activities of students, for a clear vision of the entire pedagogical route of shaping the personality of a modern economist.
The effectiveness of the work done was determined by experimental work, which was carried out in the conditions of the educational process for a number of years with students of economic specialties studying at the North Ossetian State University. K.L. Khetagurova. In the course of the experimental work, the following pedagogical conditions were realized:
- enrichment of the content of general education disciplines with professional, personality-oriented content;
- the inclusion of future economists in professional activities through the use of interdisciplinary and intercycle connections;
- interaction of the teaching staff, aimed at the professional development of students;
- the inclusion of future economists in professional activities through practice-oriented ways of cooperation of teachers, students and representatives of the professional community;
- actualization of the need for professional development of students, associated with understanding the meaning, values, priorities of the profession through involvement in the solution of professional tasks by means of all studied subjects, starting from the first days of study at the university.
The ascertaining and formative experiments which were carried out in the experimental and control groups made it possible to draw a conclusion about the correctness of the chosen approach to the organization of training. The result is a significant increase in the educational success of students, an increase in the motivational factor of learning. Experimental group students showed significant interest in participating in various professional activities, showing good results. Some of our students have become winners of various professional olympiads and competitions.
The results obtained are in complete agreement with the studies of Verbitsky (2006), Luneva et al. (2019), Polisadov (2014) and other authors, carried out in relation to teaching students in other faculties and specialties.
The new conditions for the development of society require a change in the approach to training specialists, improvement of pedagogical teaching technologies. It is necessary to take into account the peculiarities of the contingent of students entering the first year, respond quickly to the demands of the modern labor market, from the first days of training, to form the image of a professional in economic activity by means of all studied subjects. The use of practice-oriented and competence-based approaches to teaching students of economic specialties, starting from the first days of study at the university, allows them to acquire practical skills in solving professional problems, establish interdisciplinary connections, and take an active part in extracurricular forms of professional training. At the same time, students gain experience in the practical solution of professional tasks and problems; an appropriate level of competence is created. The motivational factor of learning is increasing.
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17 May 2021
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Berdnikova, A. E., & Monako, T. P. (2021). The Features Of Training Economists In Modern Conditions. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization, vol 107. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 172-178). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.23