22 SES 08 A, Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
In our presentation we intend to chart the social and institutional background of students studying to be teachers in the border region of the European Higher Educational Area. This is a higher educational region with international attraction in Eastern part of Hungary and the Western part of Romania and Ukraine. Higher social inequalities than the EU average causes significant regional disparities in participation rates across social groups in the investigated region: students from the lower strata choose the nearer institutions, and the attraction of farther institutions effect mainly students from higher and upper-middle strata. This is because in most families the parents of students’ had no experience with HE and students have difficulties combatting the problems of attendance and persistence. We pointed out that the structure of the organization and the behavior of the faculty still work as the old elite education (Pusztai 2011). We also wish to survey the image of the teaching profession that under- and postgraduate students in teaching subjects have. It is necessary to research these issues as the number of students who apply to teacher training institutions has diminished considerably over the past few years. In our study we point out that there is a well-defined group of students who are committed to the teaching profession despite the rather low level of social appreciation of the job. However, they tend to be integrated into the world of their respective institution of higher education to a lesser degree than other students and they often have a fragmented social capital, and these factors may adversely affect their educational career (Bocsi – Fényes 2012, Fónai 2012, Pusztai 2012, Pusztai – Fónai 2012, Engler 2013).
Research of the institutional contribution to the progress of students has made it clear that it is not primarily the structural and infrastructural conditions of an institution of higher education that effectively support the success of a student. Instead, it is the interactional force field offered by the institution that backs up the progress of the students. The structural- infrastructural elements proved to be mere variables in relaying the professional competences to students (Pascarella & Terenzini 2005). When the success of students is explained, the related special literature focuses on the differences in the cultural and economic resources of the students concerned, and relatively little attention is paid to the network of interpersonal connections and cooperation, in the framework of which the objectives of the students and their images of the profession are analyzed. Tinto (1993) believes that the student’s integration in the society of institution is a major predictor of the success of the individual. As a result of our former research findings, we give priority to the effects of the informal ties (Pusztai 2009, 2011). While in Tinto’s interaction model it is the network of interpersonal links that forge students into a community, in Coleman’s functional community concept shared values accomplish the same and maintain integration.
The theories above claim nothing less than that social integration at the institution may support the commitment of students to their goals and their perseverance in their selection of a career. The combination of professionalization and integration as we see it may afford a new potential approach. In this paper we only draw up the outline of the new approach. One of the most important statements that we make is that the image of the profession of students learning to be teachers is shaped by the process of deprofessionalization clearly detectable in the communities of students (Toren 1975, Oppenheimer 1973).
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