22 SES 03 A, Paper Session
Since the creation and consolidation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), significant changes have been introduced in a great part of the European universities. One of the most relevant is the adoption of a competency-based approach. Among other issues, this framework requires the description of generic competencies common to all professional profiles or established disciplines. The purpose of generic competencies is to identify a set of common skills, attitudes, and knowledge that should be addressed in any bachelor's degree in order to answer labor market demands. Nonetheless, these competencies should not only promote the employability of future graduates, but also their social development (Michavila Martínez, Martín-González, García-Peñalvo & Cruz-Benito, 2018). These generic competencies imply a new way of understanding university education. It is not just about developing capacities directly related to the field of study, but also knowledge and skills that will allow an efficient practice in any profession.
Despite the importance given to competencies at university education and the studies carried out in recent years, sometimes these competencies are not explicitly applied by teachers at university classrooms due to their ignorance about how to develop them. Besides, students neither perceive the development of those generic competencies during their degree nor they get to understand their importance within the education process (Chang, Fong, Luk & Ho, 2017). Apart from these elements, these competencies require a transversal work that involves the teaching staff, as these skills, attitudes and knowledge need to be developed in different subjects. This paradigm, however, is unusual in Higher Education.
Therefore, the intentional development of generic competencies on bachelor’s degrees requires, in the first place, training processes for the faculty members, as well as collaborative work among them. This last issue is probably the most difficult to address due to the university idiosyncrasy. However this issue represents great complexity, it also possesses great benefits: in addition to improving the faculty training on the competency-based approach, collaborative teaching could also contribute to the "deprivatization” of higher education practice.
In teacher education, this topic has been less studied in comparison to other training disciplines, such as physics, chemistry, social sciences or economics. Therefore, this research seeks to provide empirical knowledge about generic competencies in pre-service teacher education. Thus, the aims of this research are: (i) to analyze the generic competencies of the Faculty of Teacher Training and Education Degrees; (ii) to assess the level of importance, work and development perceived by students regarding generic competencies; (iii) to know the perception of university teachers about the development of generic competencies in their subjects; (iv) to assess students’ satisfaction with training proposals specifically implemented for the development of generic competencies.
The project "Competencies360. Development of generic competencies for comprehensive training" has been developed as an action-research project that seeks to improve the development of generic competencies of students at the Faculty of Teacher Training and Education of the Autonomous University of Madrid (Spain). More specifically, Competencies360 aims to establish a training process that ensures that these competencies are developed intentionally throughout these students’ teacher education. At the end, they can get some comprehensive training for them to face the challenges related to their field of study and, at the same time, attend the transversal requirements demanded by current society. The project is structured around four methodological actions: (i) Documental analysis of generic competencies that should be developed in the Degrees taught at the Faculty, based on syllabus and teaching guides; (ii) Design and application of questionnaires to assess a. students’ development of generic competencies; b. university teachers’ self-perception of teaching practices linked to the competency approach; (c) students’ satisfaction with the implemented competency-related experiences. (iii) Selection and creation of teaching materials for the development and assessment of generic competencies; (iv) Design and development of teaching and learning proposals that incorporate activities and materials for the work and assessment of these competencies. Nineteen university teachers who teach 33 subjects from the 4 Degrees of the Faculty of Teacher Training and Education participated in this project. The instruments employed to gather information were (i) a registration form for documentary analysis and (ii) three questionnaires specifically designed for this research in order to analyze: (a) development of generic competencies; (b) university teachers’ self-perception of teaching practices linked to the competency approach; and (c) students’ satisfaction with the competency-related experiences implemented. The collected data has been analyzed with the statistical software SPSS v.25.
As a result, the research can provide an overview for developing generic competencies in the Degrees of the Faculty of Teacher Training and Education. Additionally, the data analysis offers the outcomes below: a) University teachers’ opinions regarding the development of generic competencies on the different subjects taught (knowing, relevance, difficulties, best practices suggestions, etc.). b) Students' perception of generic competencies (knowing, relevance, level of achievement, level of development, etc.). c) Change in students' perceptions when experiencing some conscious training activities that address generic competencies. Consequently, the project expects to bring an improvement in the development of generic competencies. Among students we expect their perception on the development of generic competencies to improve. Regarding university teachers, we expect an improvement of their perception of the integration of generic competencies into their teaching practices, as well as providing instances of collegial reflection and collaboration among them. Finally, we also expect to gather some training proposals design to develop generic competencies and to share them with the rest of faculty members.
Chan, C.K.Y., Fong, E. T. Y., Luk, L.Y. Y. & Ho, L. R. (2017). A review of literature on challenges in the development and implementation of generic competencies in higher education curriculum. International Journal of Educational Development, 57, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2017.08.010 Michavila, F., Martínez, J., Martín-González, M., García-Peñalvo, F.J. & Cruz-Benito, J. (2018). Empleabilidad de los titulados universitarios en España. Proyecto OEEU, Education in the Knowledge Society, 19(1), 21-39. https://doi.org/10.14201/eks20181912139
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