Best Educational Practices
The International College for Arts and Communication (MKIK) hosted the ‘Best Educational Practices’ conference. Deans of all fields of training shared their unique experience and talked about the pedagogical technologies they use during their classes. The Global Women Media news agency prepared a series of articles where it combined the most useful and interesting presentations.
PhD in Law, Rector of the Institute for the Humanities and Information Technologies (IGUMO) and the International College for Arts and Communication (MKIK)
PhD in Pedagogy, Dean of the Pedagogy College of MKIK
PhD in Pedagogy, Dean of the Photography College of MKIK
PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, practicing psychologist, lecturer, Dean of the Psychology College of MKIK, honorary member of the International Professional Association of Psychologists, Associate Professor at the Higher Attestation Commission (HAC)
The Methodological Centre for Modern Pedagogy and Best Teaching Practices was established at the International College for Arts and Communication (MKIK). The project’s main goal is to support young teachers entering the profession. The Centre will work in a number of areas, which will include a holding various activities: a festival, special competitions for teachers, and a summer school for winners from all regions of Russia.
Today, the deans and lecturers of MKIK are unifying and systematizing the experience they want to share with the new generation of teachers. During the conference, they shared their best practices and talked about the benefits of different pedagogical technologies.
In this article, we combined useful information from the experts with many years of working experience in training students in a variety of areas, including pedagogy.
Engaging Students in Discussion
Marina Volynkina, PhD in Law, Rector of MKIK, presented a report on the topic of ‘Communicative Activity of Students and Teachers’. As emphasized by the expert, in her personal pedagogical practice, she relies on the principles formulated by the great Russian educators.
According to Konstantin Ushinsky, pedagogy is more like an art rather than a science. As noted by Lev Vygotsky, one can teach a person something only if one understand how his or her psyche works. Vasily Sukhomlinsky believed that a child should learn pursuing joy, not good grades.
25 years ago, when Marina Volynkina started teaching, authoritarian pedagogy was the only existing model at that time. Students could get most of the information only in the classroom. That is why lecturers often dictated the material and the students took notes. Today, in the digital age, this approach is unacceptable.
The modern generation of students can find any information by the click of a button. Today, the task of pedagogues is not just to transmit knowledge but to convey it to students as effectively as possible.
Engaging a student in the discussion is one of the best ways to convey new information effectively and make it understandable to him or her. Thus, Marina Volynkina divides her classes into small sections each lasting 10 minutes. Each of them ends with a question to the audience. To find the answer, students need to not only listen attentively to the lecture but also reflect on it deeply.
Within such an approach, the pedagogue strives to ask at least five people in each section and at least fifteen students during the whole class. That makes it possible for the audience to learn about different views and perspective, which is particularly important. Moreover, thanks to the small size of the student groups, that methods helps most of the participants not only be engaged in the discussion but also have their say.
Dialogue and the intersection of different points of view often give birth to new ideas and a deeper understanding of the problem.
Another pedagogical tip from Marina Volynkina lies in summarizing the results after each class. The pedagogue invites students to draw conclusions about the useful things they have learned during the class and to share their insights and thoughts on the topic. For such answers, they often receive higher scores because, to give them, student need to stay focused throughout the class.
Marina Volynkina always asks students about how the knowledge gained during the class will be useful in their future professions. That makes the new information more relevant for the students. Interestingly, students often find original and non-obvious answers.
Engaging students in communication teaches them to formulate their thoughts clearly and concisely, to argue their points of view, and to extract the most valuable facts from the flow of information they receive.
Creativity is another way of engaging students in the educational process and making it exciting. Marina Volynkina uses her original pedagogical method: writing fairy tales with students. After completing the lesson, she asks students to write a story using the 10-12 most difficult terms. The task has an important condition: the fairy tale must be understandable even to young children. Thus, the students reanalyze all the information once again and make it more accessible to themselves and to others.
Marina Volynkina uses that exercise in a variety of disciplines ranging from copyright and business law to social studies and philosophy. The method is interesting thanks to the fact that it can be adapted to absolutely any subject.
Integration of Pedagogical Technologies
Irina Belogortseva, PhD in Pedagogy and Dean of the Pedagogy College of MKIK, showed practical examples of how to integrate various technologies and teaching methods in classes with students.
The world is full of various pedagogical technologies. Irina Belogortseva believes, their number is equal to the number of creative teachers.
Each teacher brings something unique to his or her work and integrates pedagogical technologies in different ways. In her report, Irina Belogortseva described the tools and methods close to her as a teacher who has over 20 years of pedagogical experience.
The expert believes that the grade-rating system currently used in many higher education institutions and colleges is one of the simplest and most effective pedagogical tools. According to it, students get scores, not marks, for their activity. A course in a particular subject is considered to be completed only after a student earns enough scores. It resembles a game with clearly defined rules.
The grade-rating technology is quite dry and trivial but it is very effective and objective. It helps students organise themselves and gets rid of questions about what they receive marks for.
The technology of associative thinking, which can also be adapted to any subject, is a more creative tool. Irina Belogortseva regularly tries to find associations to words jointly with students. That is a simple task, which activates the right hemisphere of the brain and gives a deeper vision of the chosen profession.
No matter how effective a teacher’s methods are, his or her classes will hardly give a proper result without proper control.
Control techniques can include classic assessment activities, flash-polls, and test works. Irina Belogortseva also advised teachers to visualise the information that helps students control their academic performance themselves.
Bringing Up Personality
Olga Rumyantseva, Dean of the Psychology College of MKIK, has been teaching for 26 years. She sees her mission in not only education but also bringing up personalities of her students.
Psychology students of MKIK are at the age of early adolescence. At that period, the formation of their personalities is not yet complete. This means that they need not only professional knowledge but also a certain support in the fulfilment of their potential.
As a psychologist and pedagogue, Olga Rumyantseva identified three basic stages in the maturation of students. At the first stage, young people need to decide what kind of persons they want to be. Olga Rumyantseva believes in the necessity to convey the importance to remain human to every. During the second phase of maturation, students seek an answer to the question of how to communicate with the world and other people effectively. At the third stage, students analyze what abilities they have and where they can be most useful.
Olga Rumyantseva works with students of different fields of training. Those include future psychologists and teachers as well. She believes that those two professions require a deeper understanding of their own personality from professionals. In addition, they must possess such qualities as empathy, highly-developed emotional intelligence, the ability to reflect, and an awareness of responsibility for other people. That is the best way to develop a personality-centred approach in the young generation.
Teachers are mentors for the students. At the same time, according to Olga Rumyantseva, it is important for teachers to give the younger generation a certain freedom. Students need to have an opportunity not to blindly follow the teacher’s instructions but to try their hand at different activities and get to know themselves.
Over the years of working with students, Olga Rumyantseva has formulated a certain system that corresponds to the stages of students’ maturation. Thus, the Dean of the Psychology College of MKIK conducts disciplines on individual projecting and teambuilding trainings for her first-year students.
During the second year of training, most of the professional disciplines are aimed at developing an understanding of how people’s personal development takes place and what influences that process. The second-year students take part in the Empathy project and interview their grandparents. Thus, they learn about other people’s lives and draw conclusions about what events have shaped their personalities.
The third year of studies at the Psychology College of MKIK focuses on students learning specific professional skills and becoming familiar with different psychological areas and approaches. It should be noted that students learn all methods of working with clients by applying them on themselves. They practice art therapy, psychological fencing, sculpting, drawing, and dancing.
Olga Rumyantseva believes that creativity in general is an irreplaceable tool of formation of the personality of the young professional. The result of such kind of activity can tell people about themselves more than any words.
Literature Classes as an Opportunity to Talk about Eternal Things
Svetlana Agafonova, PhD in Pedagogy and Dean of the Photography College of MKIK, shared her experience and methods of working with students during literature classes. The expert has been teaching a number of philological subjects at MKIK for many years. Teaching literature has a special place in Svetlana Agafonova’s list of professional interests. The expert’s PhD thesis was dedicated to the influence of Russian folk and literary fairytales on the moral qualities of young people.
She believes that literature is not just a form of art but also a field of knowledge that touches on all aspects of human interaction. It is an archive where one can find answers to any questions.
As noted by Svetlana Agafonova, today, when the education system has ceased to have an upbringing function and is essentially limited to the provision of educational services, the role of the study of literature has become particularly important. Literature one of those few disciplines where one can reflect and talk about eternal values. Importantly, that conversation must be led by an experienced mentor, a teacher who can guide the younger generation in the right direction.
According to Svetlana Agafonova, today’s young people often find it difficult to read serious literature. Many of them only enjoy emotional waves of superficial meaning. However, sometimes a book stores much more than just a fascinating plot. In order to uncover such deeper meanings, the reader, like an archaeologist, must learn to delve into unobservable contexts from layer to layer.
Many texts are filled with additional meanings. It is only possible to read them through certain phrases and words. To make it clearer to today’s generation, we can compare them to hyperlinks that allow the reader to access more information.
As students admit, it is quite challenging for them to read serious works such as Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe or The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.
Indeed, it’s not easy to read serious literature. However, doing so can change a person’s thinking and vision of the world, not just entertain him or her. After being immersed a high-quality profound text, the reader rises above him- or herself. He or she begins to see the world in a broader and fuller way. Svetlana Agafonova strives to reach that level of understanding of oneself and the world jointly with her students by the end of each literature class.
Viktoria Gusakova, Global Women Media news agency
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov