Teacher professional competency: present-day evaluation within the framework of new social challenges
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №5 - 2013
Nabiev Ersain, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan
Petrusevich Arkadij, State Pedagogical University, Russia
Recently, due to public demand, the system of education both in Kazakhstan and Russia has been undergoing significant changes. But whatever the reforms we see in
education, finally, they are aimed at the school teacher, their actual
It is the school teacher, who is a key figure in practical
realization of any innovations. It is but natural that a teacher has to possess
adequate level of competency and professionalism in order to succeed in
implementation of various innovations in the epoch of social transformations.
Education science and practice treat teacher professional competency
as a specific ability to effectively and in a good manner perform complicated
activities in various environments. Teacher competency is defined by means of
the notion of “pedagogical excellence” which can be considered firstly, as an
ideal of educational work inspiring teachers to self-improvement, and secondly,
as a benchmark containing assessment of the teachers’ performance. One of the
key criteria for pedagogical excellence in modern education is the teacher’s
performance, making itself evident in excellent (100%) academic achievement of
the learners and their sincere interest in the subject. It means that a teacher
is a master of his trade when he manages to teach all his students. In its turn,
competency is considered to be a qualitative characteristic of the person’s
implementation of the knowledge gained through education, generalized work
methods, cognitive and practical skills. It reflects a person’s ability to
apply acquired knowledge in an active and creative way for tackling personally
and socially significant educational and practical tasks, his success in
attainment of vital goals.
Evaluation of competence in teaching requires consideration of the
problems of educational process composition. Nowadays, it is what we call
conventional and innovative models of education. It is evident that the
character of teacher competence assessment will differ in these two models. In
the context of the conventional model of education, the teacher brings his
subject to schoolchildren. He does not go to his subject together with
learners, but takes his subject to them. It means that his major task is to
find most efficient ways of presenting new material and related visual aids. In
this case, the teacher pays much attention to translation of the ready textbook
knowledge. Then, evaluation of his teaching competence should be closely
related to his skills of bringing the studied material home to learners.
Accordingly, setting educational goals is related to acquiring definite
personal skills by the students.
The goals are usually set in the terms describing these skills:
students have to acquire some ideas, information, rules; develop certain
habits, skills, etc. Most typical are the following assignments: “insert”,
“italicize”, “remember”, “reproduce”, “make a sum following the model”, etc.
Such educational process has mostly a reproductive character and results in formation
of the reproductive type of the cognitive activity. That is why it is often
called “memory school”.
Within the framework of this model, a teacher goes to his class with
the primary target to provide new information. The teacher’s expertise will be
aimed at narration, explanation, covering the topic, and, finally, at providing
necessary knowledge. Yet, it is well known that the teacher’s content knowledge
does not necessarily mean the students’ knowledge. In order to transform
information into knowledge, the teacher has to make the student do extensive
work individually, both in class and at home, to control and rate it. Here,
teacher professional competence reveals itself in the methods effectively
promoting the abovementioned process.
In this educational context, we see numerous problems. Major
problems are as follows: weak communication skills, failure to get a detailed
answer from the student, with his own opinion on the issue. The educator goes
to students with his ready knowledge and tries to engage them into his
activity, to include them in his pattern. This system demonstrates discrepancy
between the teacher’s and student’s attitudes. The teacher is oriented at the social
mandate; he must cover the total amount of the syllabus.
It has been recently stated that the bulk of children and teenagers
tend to read very little, they make numerous mistakes, and while work at the
material, have troubles in explanation of the meaning of words and idioms. Some
researchers observe that schoolchildren sometimes misunderstand the idea of the
studied text; inability to retell the text also presents most serious
difficulty. It is common knowledge that these problems underlie low level of
progress of many students. The pressure results in lack of initiative on the
part of a learners, in their passivity, avoidance any kind of work, general
apathy, and finally, in total fading-out of scholastic skills.
We are discussing the conventional education model. It is
surprisingly survivable. Many teachers, if not most part of them prefer this
model. Why is it still so popular with educators? It is largely due to some of
its strong points, namely:
• Organizational definiteness of the educational process;
• Systematic character of education;
• Ideological and emotional impact of the teacher;
• Variety and richness of information, free use of visual aids and
Our conventional system of education resorts to the usual terms like
“provide knowledge”, “ensure education”, “to teach tackling a problem”, etc.
The fact is that we understand education as a system of rendering some content,
a communicator for translating the teacher’s knowledge to his students. Within
this process, the teacher effects developing impact on his students.
This model of education implies transfer of a huge amount of
knowledge as its foremost objective. The teacher translates information
comprehended and differentiated by him, and defines the skills he intends to
work out with his students. The responsibility of the learner is to reproduce
this ready knowledge in most perfect and accurate way.
What are the requirements to a modern teacher within the framework
of his professional competence? The teacher must be well aware of the true
portrait of a present-day learner. The position characterizing the student of
the middle school represents an “updated version” of the set of features of the
elementary school leaver, but in a successive advanced and developed variant.
An example: a child who has finished primary school possesses
knowledge of how to learn, is capable of self-organization, whereas a student
after completing middle school course, is a learner recognizing the importance
of education and self-education for life and activity, capable of implementing
his knowledge in practice.
Besides, while at junior school, a child should learn to act on his
own accord and be responsible for his behavior before the family and community;
at middle school, he should demonstrate social involvement and respect for the
law, measure his life against moral values, recognize his responsibilities
before the family, community and his homeland.
It goes without saying that some directions and components are added
to the portrait of the middle school leaver according to its basic objectives
and the learner’s age category. For example: recognizing the value of labor,
science and creativity; ability to feel confident in the world of trades,
understanding the role of professional activity in life.
Currently, one of the basic components of the teacher competence is
his understanding of specifics of continuity and development, realized in
requirements to the results of mastering core subjects of the curriculum. This
component is considered to be of the utmost importance, a core one.
Why is it so? The answer is as follows: new educational standards
have a clearly cut idea of transfer from the principle of acquiring the minimum
of educational contents by students to the principle of individual best
achievements. Being developed as a response to social need, educational
objectives transform into requirements to final results. And finally, upon
their specification and operationalization, they are transformed into the
According to some researchers, implementation of the core message of
modern school education is related to profound changes in the teacher’s and
learner’s role in the educational process.
The first principle is changing the direction of educational
objectives to self-actualization of the student’s personality;
The second principle is altering the educational contents by means
of introducing into curriculum practice-oriented tasks, implying examination of
information from diverse sources, as well as by means of introducing additional
The third principle is transformation of the teacher-learner
interrelations, focusing on organization by the teacher the learners’ individual
work; developing the teacher’s readiness to educational process changes;
The fourth principle is transition to new teaching technologies,
aimed at applying of information technologies combined with critical thinking
technology, project and research technologies presupposing mastering some new
professional roles by the teacher, namely, the roles of an organizer,
coordinator, advisor or consultant. These roles imply team work of teachers.
The fifth principle is assessment of the learners’ achievements considering
both qualitative (academic progress) and quantitative aspects of the
educational results (portfolio, skills profile, achievement log).
Methodological foundation of the contemporary educational process is
a comprehensive assignment approach. It is this approach which stipulates the
position of the teacher in terms of requirements to learning content and
teaching effect. A specific characteristic of this process is availability of
basic milestones, learning contents, requirements as to the outcome of
education in its contents, and no definite assignments and forms of activities
for every subject. Teachers themselves should elaborate these tasks based on
the guidelines stated in new educational standards. It presupposes that a
teacher must do an in-depth analysis of the contents of the comprehensive
assignment approach and apply it while developing educational programs.
Let us analyze the core of this approach. From a perspective of
modern educational psychology and didactics, the terminal learning objective is
not only accumulation of knowledge, but forming activity techniques realized
through skills. It can only be realized in the process of teaching. In this
case, it is worth referring to the assignment approach.
Comprehensive assignment approach is based on psychological concepts
of activity structure and deals with the process of active knowledge
assimilation and forming skills through motivated and purposeful solving of
training tasks. This method means such an organization of activity oriented at the
students’ needs by the teacher, that it could trigger their positive emotions
of satisfaction and joy. If these feelings have a long-lasting character, students
begin to long for this activity bringing pleasant positive emotions. Thus, a
new continuous reason for participation in a specified kind of activity
appears, complementing general motivation of schoolchildren. With that,
handling a specific problem by a student represents a search for a necessary
action to transform the problem’s conditions, so that the decision becomes
possible. The determining and organizing factor in the comprehensive assignment
approach is activity and its forms.
Pursuing the objective of new educational effects, the teacher
should bear in mind that it is possible only due to application of innovative
contents and types of learning activities. Accordingly, the teacher competency
is realized through his ability to select a proper method of instruction, as
well as through elaboration of the teacher’s and students’ activity program in
compliance with the set goals.
Modern requirements to the quality of education, reflected in
regulations, orient the teacher at creating learning situations implying the
learners’ inner resources, inclinations, interests, capabilities, etc. This is the
learner-centered approach in education. Yet, an in-depth insight into cognitive
processes of the learners’ is necessary here.
According to psychology and pedagogy, one of the well-known and
significant development mechanisms of a child is the process of
interiorization, which means transformation of external actions into internal,
cognitive actions, such as thinking, memorizing, and perception. Contemporary
psychology distinguishes the following stages of interiorization:
1) An adult affects a child inducing him to do something;
2) A child adopts the method of communication and verbally affects
3) A child verbally addresses himself.
The ontological aspect of modern education is presented by goal
setting and implementation of strategic educational goals. They are as follows:
to teach learning, to teach thinking, to teach goal setting and moving in the
selected direction, to teach comprehending the effect of learning. In this
context, attaining knowledge transforms from the end in itself into the means
towards this end.
In this regard, the teacher should be well aware of the process of
mastering knowledge by students. While learning, a schoolchild performs certain
actions within the context of material studied. Within the process of
interiorization, these actions turn into his own interior functions. In other
words, learning activity is an exterior condition for development of cognitive
processes with students.
Consequently, any acquisition of knowledge is inseparably united
with assimilation of new modes of action. In the process of educational process
organization, the teacher’s task is to single out relevant actions and to teach
them. Then, on the one hand, studying basics of scientific knowledge goes
simultaneously with formation of the corresponding intellectual skills, and on
the other hand, formation of intellectual skills is impossible without
acquisition of specific knowledge.
Learning content has numerous consumers like parents, learners,
teachers, higher educational institutions, public, employers, executive and
legislative powers, etc. Every consumer wants to see most meaningful for him
effect of education and demands that it should be phrased in an available form
Certainly, it is a difficult task to combine needs of so diverse
consumers in one document. Indeed, parents of a schoolchild are concerned about
the success and prospects provided by education to their child. They do not
care if it will be in result of the Ohm’s law study or of some other material.
But when we speak about the teacher, things are different and
details of teaching contents, as well as levels of its understanding matter. It
is the social concern that the rising generation was provided with adequate
education level in order to ensure personal traits relevant to their values.
But what specific historical material or literary work will be used for that
purpose is the concern of professional methodologists.
In other words, the level of education effect representation should
be diverse, judging from the needs and preparation level of various consumers
of school education.
Requirements to teaching results are represented in our standards by
description of thematic, meta-thematic and personal results and are specified
in model basic curricular as planned results in school subjects, results of
acquiring basic interdisciplinary programs (the program for development
universal learning operations, the program for work with a text, etc.).
Nowadays, educational effect is understood as an “increment” to the
personal resources of learners which can be used for tackling vital personal
What is the teacher’s concern in the process of planning his
educational activity?, The first point is as follows: personal achievements are
the factor of learners’ motivational resources development; the second point is
as follows: meta-thematic achievements are the results characterizing mostly
instrumental resources; the third point is as follows: results in school subjects
reflect mostly cognitive components of educational activity.
It seems that within the framework of the popular in the global
educational practice competency building approach, the complex of these results
can be treated as key competences.
Accordingly, teaching excellence as a component of professional
competency can be assessed in terms of the teacher’s ability to consider and
accurately appraise personal, meta-thematic and thematic results. It should be
1) Personal results are presented by the developed motives,
interests, needs, value system, including attitudes to himself, other people,
participants of the educational process, and to the results of education;
2) Meta-thematic results are presented by interdisciplinary
knowledge, acquired from several thematic areas and, most important, by universal
ways of activity (personal, cognitive, regulatory, and communicative)
applicable both in education and in real life environment;
3) Thematic results are expressed in accumulation of concrete
elements of the social and professional experience, studied within the
framework of particular school subjects;
It is evident, that quality changes in educational content are
possible only when the teacher sees clearly the subject-matter and core
components of the modern outcome of education. They should be used as a
methodological foundation, a conceptual landmark of upgrading and improvement
of educational activity of a teacher.
Creation of an innovative educational process orients teachers at
expanding and activating independent cognitive activity of students and at
developing ability to make a reasonable and responsible choice outside the
limits of classroom activity. Accordingly, evaluation of teacher competence is
based on the teacher’s ability to develop the educational process, including:
• Module organization of the educative process, which promotes the
situations of the choice by the learner of his own set of subjects from the
general background courses, majors courses and electives;
• Organization of the project activities for schoolchildren, as well
as creative classes and sports events in order to involve them into inventions,
acquisition of new information; enabling children to be open and able of
expressing their own opinion, to take decisions, to provide a helping hand to
others, to define their areas of interest and realize own capabilities, to
strive to self-development and self-improvement;
• Elaboration of individual curricular for learners, with
consideration of their cognitive interests; providing systematic support for
• Providing conditions for full participation in educational
environment for physically-challenged children; ensuring their socialization;
That is to say, these days, teacher professional competence is
examined within the framework of new requirements, current social challenges,
innovative school guidelines and regulations, recent achievements of pedagogy,
psychology and practice. In an evaluation scheme, highly valued is the
teacher’s ability to compose an educational process as an independent travel of
a schoolchild in the educational space, where he chooses the route himself and
the destination of the route is closely connected with his self-actualization
in its uppermost form.
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Teacher’a Book. Under the general editorship of Tryapitsyna A.P. Saint
Petersburg: Herzen University Press, 2005.
2. State Mandatory Educational Standard for
Secondary School (elementary, lower secondary and higher secondary). –
Government Decree of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 08.23.2012, № 1080.
3. Gubanova, E.V. New Educational Standard:
Implementation, Monitoring and Appraisal of Results (Practical Aspect):
scientific issue / E.V. Gubanova, M., 2012.
4. Lizinsky, V.M. Modernization of School
or a New School: teacher resource book / Lizinsky, V. M., М.: “Pedagogichesky
Poisk” Center, 2011.
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №5 - 2013