Acmeological Conditions To Foster Professional Success In Teacher Training

Abstract

Continuous reforms in education presupposes a rapid adaptation of teachers to new requirements along with their commitment to meet new challenges. The teacher, provided that education is viewed as a complex, ever-changing system, will support his/her activities through professional self-improvement. Therefore, it is relevant to look for new effective technologies and conditions for teaching future educators who should quickly adapt to new requirements in the field of future professional area. The paper examines a step-by-step development of teacher’s mastery, starting from professional self-determination in adolescence and ending with a final phase of professional activity. If the development of future teachers during their studies is determined and controlled by the university, then after graduation teachers must build a trajectory of their professional growth and achieve the goals set for enhancing and acquiring new competences. This is possible, provided that future teachers are ready for continuous professional self-improvement throughout their lives. This requires educational institutions that provide training to future teachers to create enabling learning environment, including professional positioning of a student being trained, education based on professional ideals, analysis and development of future teachers’ potential, training based on professional partnerships between students and teaching staff, adequate learning objectives for students based on individual capabilities, phased introduction of educational assessment, acmeological support for professional development of future teachers.

Keywords: Professional success, acmeological conditions, professional self-improvement, teacher training

Introduction

Economic growth of any state depends on the quality of education, both higher and school (Repina et al., 2020). Rigidity of experienced teachers and low activity of early-career specialists routinely make it difficult to tackle the tasks set for modern education. Many researchers believe that a majority of teachers are not ready for new challenges and requirements set by society, the state and business to school education (Korovnikova, 2018; Korshunova & Shkalikov, 2019; Mishchenko & Tenyunina, 2018; Poletaeva, 2004; Soboleva & Perevozchikova, 2019). Educational institutions that train future teachers should focus not only on filling pedagogical vacancies in the labor market, but also on the ability of young teachers to ensure a high quality of school education throughout their further professional activities. This requires teachers and students of pedagogy-related profiles to acquire skills that would ensure continuous personal and professional development based on the prospects for school education as an area of ​​their professional activity. Acmeological approach is the most effective tool in solving issues of professional self-development (Perekrestova, 2013; Poletaeva, 2004). This approach is based on the ideas of perfection, which ensures a proper selection of methods and means to foster the advancement of the future teacher to the highest result in professional activity throughout the entire working period from a crowning achievement at one stage to a crowning achievement at the next stage (Kislov, 2018; Perekrestova, 2013).

On the one hand, teacher’s professional success develops through the prism of personal experience in mastering a profession, and, on the other hand, based on the conditions created in learning environment by educational institutions during training (Vishnyakov, 2004; Zavodchikov & Manyakova, 2018). These conditions should ensure the readiness of the graduate for continuous self-development (Poletaeva, 2011). The question remains open as to what conditions will enable to prepare a mobile, easily adaptable teacher who is able to independently model and use pedagogical innovations for improving the quality of education throughout the entire period of professional activity.

Problem Statement

The objectives of the study are:

  • To get to the inside of teacher’s professional success.
  • To identify the problems related to the development of professionalism in the process of training future teachers.
  • To determine the required acmeological conditions that ensure a continuous build-up of professionalism by future teachers in the process of professional training and upon completion, based on the desire for self-improvement.

Research Questions

Today, improving the system of training teachers for comprehensive schools is an urgent issue. Teacher’s professional success is associated with a set of significant internal and external conditions determining teacher’s achievements in professional activity. The internal conditions include personal characteristics of the teacher, comparable to the ability to show what you can in pedagogy. The process of preparing a future teacher falls into the external conditions. Hence, the subject of research is acmeological conditions created in teacher training educational institutions, aimed at ensuring continuous personal and professional self-development.

Purpose of the Study

The study aims to find ways to improve training of pedagogical personnel. They should be linked with the development of their ability for personal and professional self-organization, aimed at achieving high results in the field of school education in accordance with the changing requirements posed by society.

Research Methods

The study examines several dimensions of the issue, namely, lack of flexibility in teachers once faced with changing requirements for the quality of school education and necessity to look for new methods of training future teachers, aimed at the skills designed to reach the heights of perfection based on the need for continuous self-development. It is advisable to consider this issue in line with the acmeological approach. With this in view, the study is based on a convergent model tailored in such a way as to identify the correlation of the said dimensions.

Findings

Currently, there are various approaches to interpret the concept of “professionalism” (Balakireva & Robotova, 2019; Poletaeva, 2011). From an acmeological standpoint, professionalism is a state of human self-organization, in which he is able to progress from one peak in his professional activity to another. This progression represents personal and professional development and is characterized by a transition from a low level of professionalism to a medium and high. But even if the highest perfection is reached, this situation can be unstable. Alongside the changing expectations of society towards the results of teacher’s activities, prerequisites arise to revise the criteria for teachers’ professional success. For some teachers, these changes are sources of incentives to further develop their professional qualities. Other teachers enter into a state of protest against the need to improve their skills, which leads to professional stagnation that can occur at any stage of professionalism development. This can happen due to a lack of internal and external motives or because of the inability to independently organize the process of professional development.

The path for professional skills of any teacher is developing gradually. Thus, the basis for the development of professionalism is laid even prior to the start of labor activity. Hence, the first stage is that of professional orientation associated with the idea of a young person, a future student, about the main activity to choose after leaving school. It is based on the interest towards the profession of “teacher”, awareness of its essence and evaluation of possibilities for self-development.

The next stage is entering the profession, when a future teacher is immersed in the educational environment providing professional training. This stage is crucial, since the content of training programs expands and changes ideas about the profession, which prompts students to make sure if they have made a right choice. However, negative impressions can cause disappointment and refusal to further study in this academic area. Having made sure of the correctness of the choice, students move to the stage of development of basic professional skills necessary for the implementation of future work functions. In addition, at this stage, the pedagogical orientation of students is enhanced, which is a framework of values associated with professional activity.

The third stage implies replicating students’ participation in possible pedagogical situations in the process of professional training through pedagogical modeling. Such models discussed in the classroom differ from those that future teachers will face after graduation from the university. During this period, students shape ideas about the invariants of pedagogical activity, which are the basis for the formation of professional skills. Limiting the creativity of future teachers at this stage can lead to a slowdown in professional growth.

Evaluating professional skills in real settings of comprehensive schools expands the opportunities for training a competitive individual that meets professional standards assigned for a teacher (Zhukova et al., 2019). Gaining the initial experience of working with children at comprehensive schools during teaching practice allows students to move on to the next stage – the stage of getting aware of the involvement in the profession. At this stage, students see the first results of their pedagogical activity, thanks to which there is an assimilation of life values ​​with a professional mission and an increase in motivation for further mastering study programs. But even at this stage, students making mistakes may get disappointed and doubt the correctness of the choice, which will lead to leaving the profession.

Having embarked on a full-fledged professional activity after graduation from the university, an early-career teacher applies the knowledge and skills acquired, boosting his/her professionalism. However, sooner or later, due to changing requirements for school education, this knowledge and skills become insufficient. New conditions call for teachers to acquire new competences. A teacher, realizing the need for further development, either moves to a new stage – the stage of professional self-improvement, or, being unwilling for this progression, ceases to cope with the duties assigned.

Therefore, the main thing in the training of future teachers is to develop their need for continuous professional self-improvement and life-long learning. With this, they will be able to plan and adjust further growth in the profession in accordance with the changing requirements for the results of teachers’ activities. Individuals with a focus on professional development as their raison d'être are highly responsible for the result of their activities, are more proactive and prone to innovation (Petrova & Kozlova, 2018; Voronina 2018).

Future teachers’ willingness for continuous professional self-improvement is formed around the following conditions:

1. To evaluate the potential of future teachers. The composition of student groups is heterogeneous, and each student has a unique set of qualities, both pronounced and latent. Not all students, due to their individual characteristics, can demonstrate their capabilities. Therefore, before the start of training, it is reasonable to thoroughly examine students’ innate resources, which could enhance personal and professional development of future teachers.

2. To gradually introduce a system for assessing educational and professional activities of future teachers, since it takes long to adapt to learning process. Low academic performance, against the background of a high degree of student efforts, can neutralize the desire for professional development and initiate a change in professional orientation.

3. To treat university students as early-career teachers rather than graduates. Vishnyakov (2004) believes that professional “student-future teacher” positioning will be a decisive acmeological condition of their professional training. This will enable to identify students’ activity in the learning process with a degree they are pursuing, as well as to link life goals with professional mission.

4. To create benevolent psychological climate in the educational institution where students are trained. Academic performance depends on the relationship between all educational agents (students-students, students-teachers, teachers-teachers) (Jafari & Asgari, 2020). Modelling success stories for future teachers, university teachers can not only encourage them to search new information, but also to acquire the skills necessary for self-study work on improving their professionalism.

Directing teaching models, despite the advantages, hinder personal fulfillment of future teachers and development of their self-reliance. Only in professional-partnership relations between students and teachers does it become possible to cope with one of the reasons for students’ low activity – the fear of making a mistake. The absence of fear in teaching future teachers is clearly pivotal to self-improvement, whereby contributing to the development of an individual style of professional activity.

5. Future teachers have professional ideals being standards to set development trends (Poletaeva, 2019). These can be both real and abstract models. Certain teachers who have achieved professional success can act as real models. Abstract models represent possible invariant aggregates of personal and professional qualities that a teacher must have in order to effectively perform his/her functions. Such models are created based on teachers’ commitment to solve the tasks assigned and possible directions for the development of school education. However, at present, there are no professional standards for teachers of the near and distant future, which negates the effectiveness of modeling learning conditions for a productive teacher (Kirichenko & Strikhanov, 2019).

6. Setting difficult, but feasible goals, ensuring constant interest in the learning process and a sense of movement towards a new stage of professional success.

This condition is a necessity, since situations where student’s capabilities do not allow him/her to achieve learning objectives set by teachers can result in disappointment and loss of self-belief. When, in the learning process, students are faced with tasks that do not require special efforts, there is a standstill in their development as professionals.

Acmeological support in achieving the goals by students. Acmeological support implies the situations created in the educational environment that stimulate the need for self-development in future teachers, providing the opportunity for successful realization of personal potential in profession and career. As such, various competitions in various areas of professional activity attracting future teachers can be organized at various levels: group, course, educational institution, region, as well as at the international level (Kirichenko & Strikhanov, 2019). Every student should be entitled to participate and count on scientific and methodological support provided by an educational institution. This can be done through the creation of special collaboration groups consisting of teachers, senior students with experience in professional competitions and successful teachers from partner organizations.

Conclusion

Shaping teacher professionalism begins with a choice of profession made in adolescence and ends with leaving profession. The effect of teachers’ professional achievements is temporary due to the rapid development of school education, which requires them to constantly improve. During the studies, the future teacher must form not only the need for continuous professional self-development, but also the skills to satisfy it.

This requires educational institutions providing teacher training to create special conditions, such as:

  • professional positioning of students during studies, which strengthens a professional focus;

The conditions listed above can ensure willingness for continuous professional self-development provided that they are comprehensively applied.

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17 May 2021

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Yakimovich, E. P., Yunevich, M. N., Banku, T. A., Garanin, S. A., & Fedoreeva, E. A. (2021). Acmeological Conditions To Foster Professional Success In Teacher Training. 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. 1736-1742). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.230