22 SES 08 D, The Inclusive Academic Community
Two main questions conduct this study: on the one hand, are there differences in the students’ attitudes, self-perception of competence and strategies for comping with difficulties before and after their internships? On the other hand, how relevant are the underlying attitudes and competences for building professional performance? These questions involve a) identifying the existence of significant differences, and b) analysing the most relevant attitudes and competences for the current European work environment.
Nowadays the possibility of doing an internship is a professional opportunity for young people who starting to immerse themselves in the present labour market (Rodríguez and Ordoñez, 2012; Thompson, 2016). According to the National Agency for the Evaluation of Quality and Accreditation (ANECA, 2009), experiencing an internship is a useful and successful process for the acquisition of a future professional role. Consequently, the internship period allows evaluating the connection between higher education and the workplace (Rodríguez and Ordoñez, 2013; Murphy, Folgueiras and Mannix, 2016). Furthermore, during the previous decades the European work reality demands specific skills of the current graduates due to all the new types of jobs which are emerging (MECD, 2017a; European Commission, 2017).
Students will have to deal with labour requirements and unpredictable issues. For this reason, according to several authors (Do Céu and Rodríguez, 2010; Salvador and Osoro, 2013; Hernández, Silveira and Moreno, 2015), the fact of showing specific attitudes can help in this uncertain environment. One example is a proactive and enterprising attitude, considered one of the most effective positions to enhance success during an internship (Freire and Salcines, 2010; Salvador and Osoro, 2013). In addition, Hernández, Silveira and Moreno (2015) and The European Commission (2017) pointed out that to be receptive to the phenomenon of constant change could favour the learning process. Besides, the existence of active listening and flexibility facilitates involvement in projects (Thompson, 2016). Due to the fact that students must meet the needs of the context, they should be part of the process of decision making, learning how to perform in different team-work scenarios and how to adapt to daily challenges (González-Ramírez and Barragán, 2005). Additionally, the importance of a democratic environment where students are considered to have the right to have a say is pointed out (Rodríguez and Ordoñez, 2012)
Another interesting concept which is addressed in the literature is the perception of self-efficacy. Rothmann and Storm (2003, in Bakker, 2009) stablish the relationship between the self-efficacy and the development of self-esteem. Therefore, students who make an impact on the context and show interest in resolving tasks by themselves will be more efficient and competent. Linked to this, being organised and capable of creating social relationships influence decisively not only in productivity, but also in the individual’s well-being (Aránega, 2014). Thus, to adopt an efficient attitude it is necessary to implement the required abilities and competences. This will be possible thanks to the resources which the environment offers (social networks, the active participation, material and human resources, etc.). The European Commision (2017) talks about the importance of the adaptability for European youth, who constantly need to be competent. They are deeply emerged in circumstances which are developing in this globalised society, where we can find a wide variety of possibilities (for instance, SEN, immigration, short-term contracts, etc.). Besides, universities must provide students with these competences, including the essential digital competence, in order to prevent the exclusion of labour opportunities. At the same time, companies and professional tutors who are involved in the experience must also continue training students professionally from the equality in diversity (European Commission, 2012; European Commission, 2017; MECD, 2017b).
The methodology was based on a quantitative approach whose design was descriptive. In addition, a parametric analysis was also used for contrasting. A questionnaire designed ad hoc was used, whose design was longitudinal. Data of the sample were collected in two different moments: before the beginning of the internship period and after the experience. The study was performed at the Faculty of Educational Sciences (University of Seville). The sample was the students who were enrolled in practice credits of the Pedagogy degree programme doing in 2016-2017. 119 students participated in the first questionnaire and 101 students participated in the post-questionnaire. For the collection of data, two e-mail surveys were used in two different moments to compare the results before and after the internships. The method of answering was a Likert scale (1=nothing, 5= very much). The statistical software SPSS (24th version) allowed its validation through factorial analysis, as well as its internal consistency by Cronbach’s Alpha. Overall, in the previous test the internal reliability was 0.833, and in the post test it was 0,748. With the aim of identifying the main attitudes and competences, a descriptive analysis was used with frequencies, percentage distributions, mean and standard deviation. To discover if the data was distributed in a normal way, the test of normality (Kolmogorov-Smirnov) was used. To identify the presence of significant differences, we used the student’s t-test as a contrast analysis. With regard to the sample, 93.3% were woman who attended university classes in morning sessions. The 95.5% of the sample showed a good self-perception as students. The biggest evolution in attitudes was obvious in active listening after the internship; regarding self-perception of competence, the percentage in digital competence was increased significantly. Additionally, the existence of significant differences in the coping strategies was found with 99% confidence. Specifically, differences in searching for solutions with academic and professional tutors were found once the internship ended, where the statistical t was 9,906. In contrast, differences in a negative sense in the foresight and having alternative plans strategies were found, where the statistical t was 3,354.
There are significant differences in the attitudes, self-perception of competence and the students’ coping strategies in a positive and in a negative sense. On the one hand, as González-Ramírez and Barragán (2005) and MECD (2017b) have pointed out, successful ways to overcome issues were found: strategies such as making decisions together with tutors, using own material for searching for solutions or simply not staying in the comfort zone were positive procedures which were applied during the internships. On the other hand, the sample group recognised having used less coping strategies than they had originally planned to, strategies such as being dedicated to a task and going further if it was required. As expected, Salvador and Osoro (2013), Murphy, Folgueiras and Mannix, (2016), Thompson (2016) and the European Commission (2017) pointed out the same attitudes which were considered essential by students in the current work society. Students highlighted flexibility, undertaking projects and being receptive to constant change during the internship. Students also perceived themselves to be more competent in digital competence, a specific competence previously mentioned by Freire and Salcines (2010) and Comisión Europea (2012). In summary, this paper attempted to take into account the most relevant attitudes and competences for employment in the European framework. These results shed light on the importance of continuing improving attitudes and self-efficacy perception during the internships. Conducting this research, we suggest that the university must provide tools and specific knowledge to students, which relate to the attitudes and competences which the literature insist on as well as our findings show. In fact, we deeply consider these attitudes, competences and coping strategies to be necessary for students in a pleasant work environment, and last, but not at least, if they want to contribute to create an inclusive society.
Agencia Nacional de Evaluación de la Calidad y Acreditación (ANECA) (2009). Parte 3. Los procesos de inserción laboral de los titulados universitarios en España, 53-75. Available : http://www.aneca.es/Documentos-y-publicaciones/Estudios-de-interes-para-el-ambito-universitario/ Aránega, S. (2014). Competences for Employability: How can they be Developed and Assessed in Initial Training? Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 139, 366–372. Bakker, A. B. (2009). Building engagement in the workplace. In Burke, R. J. & Cooper, C. L. (Eds.). The peak performing organization, 50-72. Comisión Europea (2012). Comunicación de la Comisión al Parlamento Europeo, al Consejo, al Comité Económico y Social Europeo y al Comité de las Regiones. COM/2012/0669 final. Available : http://ec.europa.eu/prelex/detail_dossier_real.cfm?CL=es&DosId=202132 Do Céu, M. & Rodríguez, M. L. (2010). La gestión personal de la carrera y el papel de la orientación profesional. Teoría, práctica y aportaciones empíricas. Revista Española de Orientación y Psicopedagogía, 21(2), 335-345. European Commission (2017). 13. Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective societies. Horizon 2020: Work Programme 2016-2017. Available: http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/data/ref/h2020/wp/2016_2017/main/h2020-wp1617-societies_en.pdf Freire, S. y Salcines. J. (2010). Análisis de las competencias profesionales de los titulados universitarios españoles. Perfiles Educativos, 32(130), 103–120. González-Ramírez, T., & Barragán, R. (2005). Perfil formativo y competencias profesionales de los titulados en pedagogía en el nuevo espacio europeo de educación superior. Revista de Ciencias de La Educación, 204, 539–562. MECD (2017a). Panorama de la educación. Indicadores de la OCDE, Informe Español. Instituto Nacional de Evaluación Educativa, 1-84. Available: https://www.mecd.gob.es/dctm/inee/eag/2017/panorama-de-la-educacion-2017-def-12-09-2017red.pdf?documentId=0901e72b8263e12d MECD (2017b). Retos sociales. Reto 6: Europa en un ambiente cambiante, sociedades inclusivas, innovadoras y reflexivas. Portal español del Programa Marco de Investigación e Innovación de la Unión Europea. Available: https://eshorizonte2020.es/retos-sociales Murphy, T., Folgueiras, P. & Mannix P. (2016). Placement-based learning and learner engagement: findings from a new university in the UK. Irish Educational Studies, 35(1), 17-34. Rodríguez, M. & Ordóñez, R. (2012). Modelo de gestión para la calidad en las prácticas de Pedagogía. Profesorado, 16(3), 358-372. Salvador, L. & Osoro, J. M. (2013). Los enfoques de aprendizaje de los estudiantes y la metodología docente en el Marco del Espacio Europeo de Educación Superior (EEES). Actas XVI Congreso Nacional/II Internacional Modelos de Investigación Educativa (AIDIPE), 407-415. Thompson, D. W. (2016): How valuable is ‘short project’ placement experience to higher education students? Journal of Further and Higher Education, 47(3), 413-424.
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