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TOPICALITY OF TEACHER PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE DEVELOPMENT WHEN WORKING WITH JOINT CLASSES IN LATVIAN MODERN SOCIETY

Автор Доклада: 
Neimane I.
Награда: 
TOPICALITY OF TEACHER PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE DEVELOPMENT WHEN WORKING WITH JOINT CLASSES IN LATVIAN MODERN SOCIETY

UDC 37.02

TOPICALITY OF TEACHER PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE DEVELOPMENT WHEN WORKING WITH JOINT CLASSES IN LATVIAN MODERN SOCIETY

Neimane Ilma, Dr.paed., associate professor
Liepaja University

 

In the history of pedagogy the beginning of the 20th century is characterised as a protest against formalisation of the lesson, thus looking for opportunities to make the teaching/learning process attractive and oriented towards the learners’ personality development. The new movement or reform-pedagogy has always been focused on practice, disseminating ideas.
Nowadays reform-pedagogical movement is looking for new solutions in Latvia, offering to join classes in small country schools, thus preserving the school as an educational centre of the area. No doubt, the offered solutions should be viewed in the context of social-economic and cultural-political aspects of Latvia. In future a compromise should be reached between what the best for the learner is and the offer of the state in the present situation of crisis.
Teaching practice shows that the learner has a possibility to feel significant in joined classes, but teachers lack teaching aids for work in such conditions. The above discrepancy is typical of reform pedagogy, in which it is the ideas that emerge first and only later there comes endeavour to analyse, systematise and generalise them.
Key words: Jenaplan, joint class, joint groups, reform-pedagogy, new financing model “money follows pupil”.

In the history of pedagogy the beginning of the 20th century is characterised as a protest against formalisation of the lesson, thus looking for opportunities to make the teaching/learning process attractive and oriented towards the learners’ personality development.
Nowadays reform-pedagogical movement is looking for new solutions in Latvia, offering to join classes in small country schools, thus preserving the school as an educational centre of the area. No doubt, the offered solutions should be viewed in the context of social-economic and cultural-political aspects of Latvia. In future a compromise should be reached between what the best for the learner is and the offer of the state in the present situation of crisis.
In this paper there are presented the results of active research or practical research, which are obtained by using contentanalysing method. By focusing attention on joint class work experience of practicing teachers, a survey was made, in which took part participants of Liepaja University enforced ESF project “Promotion of Educators' Competitiveness within the Optimization of Educational System” course “Work in joint classes”. By offering the above mentioned project course program the recommendations of high school educationalists and practicing teachers about promotion of educators' competitiveness within joint classes were appraised.
In 20th centuries 20s and 30s Latvian educationalists, by getting to know experience of other countries, were collaborating with German educationalists, promoted by traditions of language proficiency and educational acquisition.
This new classification is known as “reform - pedagogy”. By characterizing activities of historical time period, synonyms are used such as “alternative school” or “new school”. Spreaders of this idea set these goals:
- connect social and individual upbringing, freedom and discipline;
- diversify educational content, closing it up to real life;
- activate the educational process by using different methods and outlines;
- democratize pupils and teachers relationships, treat personality of a child with respect. (8)
Taking into account that reform-pedagogy ideas encompass wide society range, in different countries literature term “reform-pedagogy” is used differently:
Reformp?dagogik (German) – reform-pedagogy, education nouvelle (French) – new education, progressive education (New Education Fellowship) (English/ American) – progressive or gradually developing education. (1,571)
Practically new ideas in Latvia were introduced by teachers- testers in 20th century 30s. The author of the movement idea in Latvia J. Greste expressed the basic thought, which is also relevant in nowadays, like this: “necessity to instill volition “look for everything in written information”, to teach ability to find in books. And then, when a pupil can learn without a teacher, then the goal is reached.” To reach this goal he offered two ways, ie., to organize the work by class system or subject system. In class, where worked one teacher was introduced joint tuition. E. P?tersons thinks that joint tuition can be practiced in elementary schools in first degree by arranging material in exercises, themes and work steps and creating so called interest points. Teachers in 20th century 30s held a view that joint tuition contribute to pupils’ development, looking for common truth, unaided thinking and formation of esthetically developed individual. (12, 250) To enable liquidation of illiteracy, idea of joint classes was also used in so called collateral schools, where pupils who didn`t want to continue education in secondary schools. In 20th century 20s and 30s in educational law was written that everyone must learn until 15 years of age.
Educators to this theme about joint classes turned repeatedly in 20th centuries 50s. In empty after-war schools, especially in rural areas, it was hart to man one – age classes.
Historical parallels can be found in nowadays also, when in stated socioeconomical conditions pedagogical practice offers its own solutions in planning and organizing joint class work.
In methodical suggestions of Educational and Science Department about joint class work the term “joint class” is formed as “joint class is scholastic class, where two or more scholastic groups together and in one classroom acquires part of educational program planned for two or more educational stages (classes)”. (7, 21)
Base of work organization is “model of lifetime school” adapted from Jen seminar, known as Jenplan. This plan is made in 20th century by teacher of progressive education P. Petersen. Main feature of this plan is grouping kids by age, not by educational years. By comparing both grouping ways chronologically, Canadian professor D. Prets writes that grouping by educational years is an upgrade of latest 150 years, which was introduced in administrational way to standardize schools and classes, and to make their job easier. Before that, approximately until 1849, in rural schools, where usually was only one educational room, kids entered at different age and moved on according to their abilities. Previous societies did not divided kids segregationally by age. Vice versa, for millions of years, normal social environment for rising generation was group of playmates, where kids, who just made their first steps and young adults, were taught together. (4, 194)
Scientist I. Maslo characterized educational work organization by using Jenaplan like this: “”Horizontal grouping” in classes, accordingly from pupils age is superseded by “vertical grouping” in which pupils are divided into diverse age and training degrees.” Respectively in every class three groups are formed. Transition from group to group is realized in form 4 and 6 to7. Inside of the group, taking into account common interests, freely formed temporary subgroups are shaped, 2 – 6 kids in every group. When acquiring material, pupils work after individual plans and singly try to reach goals. (6)
I. Maslo emphasizes that mentioned approach lowers academical readiness level of pupil.
In 20th century 90s Bureau of Educational Information has made a survey of number of joint classes (372 set of classes). Right now Educational and Science department do not make this kind of statistics although in mass media time to time appears information about increasing number of joint classes.
In the beginning of 21th century society again returns to discussion about the place of joint classes in Latvian educational situation.
To characterize and evaluate provided solutions of pedagogical practice, to my mind, worth emphasizing is cognition of scientist I. ?ogla: “Without reference to pedagogical paradigm or didactical model, without reference to educational methods or organizational forms, educational process as fact, as preserved didactical reality is dependent from inside legitimacy of this process, which are based on comprehension about human activities as measure of his basic development and activity.” (13) To scientists mind inside legitimacies of educational process are: deliberate activity of pupil, organizational process of teacher, characterization of pupil-teacher activities, and revision in unity with development of new experiences, educationally instructive, developing and up bringing values.
In these changing economical situations in country, a question about joint classes is getting more and more actual in educationalist society. Along with administrative territorial reform, a new financing model “money follows pupil” is introduced in financing provision, which gives the rights to school, basing conclusions on amount of pupils, to decide the necessary amount of workers. In 2009 Department of Education and Sciences made up suggestions for municipalities and leaders of educational work in which they have defined these school network optimization ground rules (possibilities):
- in primary school – to preserve access to education as close as possible to living place by joining classes and making necessary amount of classes in optimal number of classrooms and minimal number of teachers;
- in elementary school – elementary schools with small number of pupils can be transformed into subsidiaries of bigger schools, in that way saving up expenses of administration and establishing optimal number of pedagogical rates;
- in secondary school – to establish bigger concentration of pupils and resources.(2)
Simultaneously changes in laws are introduced. Regulations Nr.735, attested by cabinet in 27th of September, 2005 are cancelled. These regulations “Regulations of minimal and maximal amount of pupils in all-round education, preparatory forms, special education institutions and social and pedagogical correction classes in state and municipalities”, defined, that:
- amount of pupils in joint class agrees to minimal and maximal pupil amount in class (8-30) defined in these regulations;
- not more than two classes with insufficient amount of pupils are joint.
By canceling confinement about minimal and maximal amount of pupils, the chance is given to make set classes and join classes, taking into account financing. In 2009/2010 educational year planned amount of pupils to one pedagogical rate: in regions – 8; in republic cities – 10,2. In 2012 following information of Department of Education and Science it is planned that there will be 12 pupils on one pedagogical rate.
Program standards of Elementary education, affirmed in 2009, foresee that in terms with teacher job payment fond, educational institution have the rights to:
- make joint groups from different classes,
- make joint classes.
Taking into account theoretical basic regulations mentioned before, in organizing everyday work, teachers practically use:
- Switzerland, Bern canton teacher experience of work with joint classes,
- teacher conference materials in August,
- social portal http://laukuskolas.wikidot.com.
Taking into account sharp globalization process, 21th century demands keeping up to fast development of different sciences and synchronously make such environment and conditions, that pupils would acquire skills, would be ready to changes and job in educated society. Professor D. Bl?ma, when characterizing process of teacher further education, as main characteristics point out endlessness of this process, coordination of elements in this process and changes of professional level (9). Taking into account these sharp changing processes, Liepaja University in terms with ESF project “Promotion of Educators' Competitiveness within the Optimization of Educational System” introduced a program “Work in joint classes”
In 2009/2010 study year on the whole 89 participants from 32 schools of Latvia attended the courses. Job experience in joint classes of participants in courses can be characterized like this (see Diagram Nr.1):

Job experience in joint classes of participants in courses

27% from participants do not have any experience and 22% works in joint class for one year now. It partially explains these opinions in society: existence of joint classes is a threat for educationalist professional career, better to work just like it was before, not drawing a salary for additional work in other class, job in this kind of class threatens the quality of work. Answers to a question about what kind of joint class groups are there in your school (see Diagram Nr.2):

Joint class groups(number of schools)

Acquired data attests that it is practically impossible to forecast joint class groups early and for a long period of time, but teachers – especially these without experience – have the wish to maximally fast have the information about possible job rates for next year to guarantee more productive work from them. Research assures those advices, given in literature for 1st and 3rd class, 2nd and 4th class joining or 1st and 9th class excluding from joining, being practically useless.
When answering the question about most characteristic subjects in joint class groups, practically all obligatory subjects were mentioned: literature, Latvian, math, sport, science, biology, Russian, ethics, upbringing, housekeeping and technologies, music, visual arts, social studies, physics, chemistry simultaneously for different age groups.
In studies of joint class basic problems the results and gathered information of teacher survey, which were gathered in 20th century 90s, were compared.
Characteristic problems in 20th century 90s:
- double preparation work for teacher;
- acquiring new methods (independent work – making work lists, group works, discussion methods, projects, differenced exercises);
- deficiency of methodical literature;
- difficult for pupils to detect which class is worked with;
- hoe teacher must listen to pupil answers;
- adaptation problems for pupils.
Survey which was made within the framework of courses pointed out problems very much connected with previous problems:
-teacher does not have methodical materials for work in joint classes (time resources);
- deficiency of information about school work expected results;
- the youngest class pupils do not have enough unaided work skills;
- deficiency of experience in choosing methods;
- time dividing in class;
- hard to connect thematic plans.
These results show that in school practice there are not yet acquired enough strong arguments in organizing joint class work. Teachers does not see this kind of work as an actual pedagogical problem thinking that it will not happen to them and the solution is actual already now.
Possible solutions, basing on Switzerland pedagogical practice results, can be found:
- in planned work, including day plan and week plan;
- in teacher further education;
- in making educational plans;
- in diversifying educational activities, providing four basic activities in study plan: planned unaided work; project work; free work; self - disclosure.
With understanding problems which are met in everyday school life, in course program ”Work in joint classes”, made by Liepaja University, there are provided pedagogical solutions. Basic themes are: characterization of joint class; class organization and leadership; specific characteristics of different development states; didactical principles of pedagogic technologies; integrating education and teacher cooperation for work in joint classes; teacher practical work experience; preparation of materials (day, week plan); discipline in classroom; evaluating pupil results; acquired result self-evaluation.
A problem met in making program was defining the aim auditory. The most active participants in these courses are teachers of primary education, special education and teachers of different subjects, more rarely teachers of – sports, physics, chemistry and art subjects, to whom making a thematical plan is especially hard process. On the one hand there is an idea that the interest centers must be made, which are provided for botch classes, but in everyday life problems start with theme differences and even titles of the same science braches in different classes.

Conclusions
1. In 20th century first half sharply developed new pedagogical ideas, which are known to the world as progressive education Reformp?dagogik (German) – reform-pedagogy, education nouvelle (French) – new education, progressive education (New Education Fellowship) (English/ American) – progressive or gradually developing education. Practically co working with German educationalists, in 20th century 20s and 30s teachers – testers J. Greste, E. P?tersons etc. „new school” ideas adapted in Latvia, offering to include joint education in schools.
2. Taking into account socioeconomical and cultural aspects, makers of education policy in Latvia more than once (20th c. 20s, 50s and 90s and 21th c. begining) have discussed joint class as a organizational form of education.
3. When evaluating cognitions of progressive education aboutjoint class theoretical base in 20th century 90s teachers choose German educationalist P. Petersens made Jenaplan.
4. In the beginning of 21th century in Latvia was introduced the administratively territorial reform „Money follows pupil”, changes in law are made by defining school network optimization basic principles and canceling cabinet set regulations about par minimal un maximal amount of pupils, but planning to set about 12 pupils on one pedagogical rate in 2012.
5. Influence of globalization in Latvia results in further education process, giving opportunities to use ESF project funds for making and realizing further education course program ”Work in joint classes”.
6. When analyzing competences of course participants there appears a chance to comment false opinions made in society: joint class threatens the quality of work, better to work as it was previously and not to have additional money for work in second class etc.
7. Problems in joint class teachers` work have not significantly changed during last 20 years, which confirms not wanting to find a constructive solution of problems.
8. Participants of the course positively evaluate cooperation between small rural schools and high school that is a guarantor for balanced school network existence.

References:
1. B?hm W. W?rterbuch der P?dagogik.- Alfred Kr?ner Verlag in Stuttgart, 1994. – S. 759
2. Izgl?t?bas funkciju nodro?in??ana p?c Administrat?vi teritori?l?s reformas un finans??anas mode?a „Nauda seko skol?nam” ievie?anas. Ieteikumi pa?vald?b?m un izgl?t?bas darba vad?t?jiem. - IZM. 2009. – 19 lpp.
3. Greske A, Gr?nfelds A. Izgl?t?bas p?tniec?ba. - LU Akad?miskais apg?ds, 2006. - 261 lpp.
4. Gudjons H.Pedago?ijas pamatatzi?as. - R: Zvaigzne ABC, 1998. - 394 lpp.
5. ?estere I.Pedago?ijas v?sture - R:Zvaigzne ABC. - 181 lpp.
6. Maslo I.Skolas pedago?isk? procesa diferenci?cija un individualiz?cija. - R:RAKA, 1995. – 172 lpp.
7. Metodiski ieteikumi apvienoto kla?u darb?bai// Pedagogam, PIAC informat?vais materi?ls NR.4 – 21.- 23.lpp.
8. Ob?teins K. Pedago?ijas v?sture IV – R: P?pi?a spiestuve, 1939. – 193 lpp.
9. Pedagogu t?l?kizgl?t?bas metodisk? t?kla nodro?in?juma izveide.Rokasgr?mata//Eiropas savien?bas strukt?rfondu nacion?l?s programmas projekts Nr.2006/0129/VPD1/ESF/PIAA/06/NP/3.2.5.1./0001/0001/0504.-VIKNA, 96 lpp
10. Prets D. Izgl?t?bas programmu pilnveide.- R. Zvaigzne ABC, 2000.- 383 lpp.
11. Par Latvijas lauku skol?m [ skat?ts 2010.g.5.sept.]. Pieejams: http://laukuskolas.wikidot.com.
12. Staris A, ?si?? V. Izgl?t?bas un pedago?ijas zin?tnes att?st?ba Latvij? pirm?s br?vvalsts laik?.- R: Zin?tne,2000. – 307 lpp.
13. ?ogla I.Didaktikas teor?tiskie pamati. R: RAKA, 2001. – 275 lpp.

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