Scientific journal
European Journal of Natural History
ISSN 2073-4972

ON TEACHER PROFESSIONALISM: ONE MORE ASPECT OF A TEACHER TOTAL FUNCTION

Lazareva I.N. 1
1 Far Eastern Federal University
Our goal in this article is to contribute to a clearer vision of the emergent role of a teacher in the new movement in education, which has introduced the concept of child-centeredness. This humanitarian pedagogy education model is geared towards bridging the gaps between physical, cognitive and emotional beings of a person and cultivating the competencies and dispositions that will prepare students to be creative, connected, and collaborative holistic human beings. The teacher committed to the role of a co-creator needs to become responsible for setting the optimal stage and context for learning and creating new type of a reality within a supportive framework.
whole personality
process drama
stage director
stage-managing pedagogical guidance
performance-oriented activity
1. Fullan M., Langworthy M. A Rich Seam. How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning. Pearson. – 2014.
2. Harmer J. The practice of English language teaching. – London: Longman, 2001.
3. Ilyev V.A. Technology of theatrical pedagogies in formation and realization of a plan of a school lesson. – M.: AO Aspekt Press, 1993.
4. Littlewood W. Communicative language teaching: An introduction. – Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981.
5. O’Neill C., Lambert A. Drama Structures. A Practical Handbook for Teachers. – London: Hutchinson, 1989.
6. Richards J.C., Rodgers T. Approaches and methods in language teaching: A description and analysis. – Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.
7. Tudor I. Teacher roles in the learner-centred classroom // ELT Journal. – 1993. – № 47(1). – Р. 22–31.

In a present-day eduscape, it can be observed that the paths of learning start to change in the direction of enhancing transferable skills that forward the country among the most creative and innovative in the world. The emphasis on personality, identity formation dominates all realms of the Global Age pedagogy. Teachers today are encouraged to get to know each student as an individual in order to comprehend his or her unique needs, personal qualities, interests, and abilities. Traditional didactic approaches are greeted with skepticism. When the learning is not connected to students’ “own relevance, their interests, their own needs, then engagement pretty much doesn’t occur” [1, 15]. Present-day students recognize the importance of proactively learning in contexts where they are contributing their own ideas, experiences and expertise; they wanted to learn in ways that connected to their futures.

A result of the confluence of several innovative perspectives on teaching is multifunctional performance of the modern teacher who finds herself with many parts to play. The teacher’s traditional role is a questioner. This method although often based on deep learning tasks imposes more discussion than action and, unfortunately, does not develop the creativity – this especially relevant globally competitive skill.

Several methodologists [4; 6; 7; 2] have suggested many potential roles for a teacher in the 21st century education model. Richards and Rodgers point out that these are related to the types of function teachers are expected to fulfill, the degree of control the teacher has over how learning takes place, the degree to which the teacher is responsible for determining the content of what is taught, the interactional patterns that develop between teachers and learners [6, p. 24]. Littlewood conceptualizes the role of the teacher broadly as the “facilitator of learning” [4, p. 92]. According to Littlewood, a teacher’s role as a facilitator entails the sub-role a “classroom manager”, a “consultant” or “adviser”, and sometimes, a “co-communicator” with the learners [4]. Harmer talks about using more precise terms for the roles that teachers play in the classroom: controller, organizer, assessor, prompter, participant, resource, tutor, and observer [2].

The main purpose of this article so far has been to emphasize the importance of the teacher adopting the roles not found in the traditional classroom, and look more closely at a further aspect of the teacher’s total function – a stage director.

Drama in Education

Multivariance of today’s world, transfusion of community groups, nations, economic models are wondering away from clear-cut schemes typical of the XX century. The recent tendency has been towards eclecticism, selecting materials and techniques from various sources. The humanistic approaches talk about giving equal attention to both the intellectual and the emotional development of the learner. With the object of learners’ gaining the experience of wholeness in education, it is necessary to deal with two problems. Firstly, to shape non-threatening creative education environment; secondly, to create co-presence situation and community. To this end, performance methodologies can be transferred to organize classroom hours and, perhaps, a school thread of life.

Dramatic activities as sessions of self-liberation release imagination and energy and take the participants well beyond the limitations of conventional teaching/learning. This educational objective makes us consider a special role of a teacher in the 21st century education setting. Though the role of a teacher who is creating new learning partnerships between and among students and teachers has been advocated for at least a century (Dewey, Piaget, Montessori, Vygotsky), the conditions for these ideas to take hold and flourish did not exist. Today, the relationship between students and teachers and their respective roles are changing [1, p. 11], and there are signs that these developments have profound implications for curriculum, learning design and assessment.

Education and drama are similar in that they are closely linked in the learning process. In good deep-learning tasks, students go beyond creating new knowledge to doing something with it. Drama in education (or process drama) gives the student an opportunity to use his own personality in creating the material and expressing himself; they promote spontaneity, assertiveness and self-affirmation.

However, drama can become an important device of educational experience only through the teacher’s own commitment to, and involvement in devising dramatic situations for the participants to discover the surrounding world and their own world. “It is the teacher working with the students within the drama, who will build on the students’ ideas and make a bridge for them between their own experience of the world and the meaning of drama, so that both insight and understanding arise from the activity” [5, p. 24].

Organizing a Deep Learning Classroom

Drama pedagogy implicates a lesson organization in the proper art sense rather than under the rules of a typical play. The following are the points for consideration; they represent salient characteristics that will help in the planning and structuring of drama lessons:

– whole-person engagement;

– deeply moving educational material;

– narrative move of the lesson (from unknown to knowledge acquisition; from introduction through high light – to outcome);

– active forms of delivery and acquisition of the material;

– role playing;

– seamless subject unlocking (global concerns through the lens of a distinct event);

– commitment to collective interaction and creation

To kindle creativity and light up the potential of the human mind the teacher organizes the space of his lesson so that push the students for active intellectual and emotional response to the subject given. As Victor Ilyev, a proponent of stage-managing pedagogical guidance conception [3], asserts, the notions of overarching goal and end-to-end guidance are the stepping stones for managing a lesson designed as a performance-oriented activity (Figure).

Overarching goal (What for?)

Initial event

Base event

Highlight

Focal point

Controversial fact

Cooperative search for truth

Attainment of understanding

Discovery of universal human values, world order

Staging end-to-end guidance

Transferring the main idea into the language of action signifies unlocking it via addressing the chain of problem solutions which form a dramatic composition of the lesson, giving prominence to the event that determines the motives, nature of actions, mutual relations of participants, agenda (What am I doing? Why am I doing it? How am I doing it?) and overarching goal). Under well-organized specific direct guidance, the participants will explore their individual scope, try out alternative modes of behavior, cultivate cognitive and emotional intelligence within themselves.

Appropriate strategies for assessment in drama pedagogy include diary, checklists with specified criteria (related to the objectives of the lesson), participant (and non-participant) observation accounts, portfolios, student profiles.

Working out Theatrical Performance Activities

To encourage students’ engagement in independent thinking and gaining fresh insights about themselves and their world, a teacher works out theatrical performance activities ranging from highly-controlled rehearsed dialog performance to complex simulated scenarios. Students are provided with a significant experience that re-structures students’ learning of curricular content in more challenging and engaging ways and enables them to improve key future skills, such as character education, communication, critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, creativity and imagination [1, p. 38]. The multi-sensory experience they afford can particularly appeal to and stimulate students in creating and using new knowledge in the world beyond the classroom. Spectacular displays offer collective experience of self-study skills development based on the practice of repositioning when, in a sequential acquisition, the students take parts of the author, viewer, and reviewer.

Within a complex art form of theatre-based project, students partner with teachers in designing the structure or process of the production. These relationships can only start with a human who they can identify with. So, the basic capacity for a teacher- stage-director is building trust, and then the process of transcending the boundaries becomes real to the learners. A directing teacher provides optimal conditions for psychophysical emancipation of the participants, chooses alternatives; coordinates running all aspects of the task, from developing the questions they would address, to figuring out the design process, continuously challenging students to reach for the next step.

Fundamentally, in a process drama, the teacher suffers a reversal of his or her usual role, which is that of the one who knows but takes over a role of a co-creator, or “stalker” in a way, who knows somehow more than others about the route, but he does not know all about it because one cannot [3]. Additionally, a stage director is a professional capable of objective analysis and self-correction. Representing at every turn of dramatic community building a synthesis of different behaviors and lines of thought, the position of the teacher-stage director is gradually progressing from a facilitator at the initial stage towards a close associate at a higher level of improvised drama activities.

Conclusion

Pedagogic content knowledge and skills are not the only area in which a teacher should be trained. Aforesaid we determined that the building blocks of stage-managing and acting efficiency are communicative and emotional personality orientation; empathy, reflexive response, analytical thinking; psychological and pedagogical indoctrination; organization of spatiotemporal structure of the lesson. Precisely these are the qualities that place a teacher in close quarters with stage director. These personal properties require special training. Used to the role of the controller and organizer, teachers might not be ready for such an innovative role in attitudinal terms. A much broader training in pedagogy is now called for to teach prospective teachers how to create new learning partnerships between and among students and teachers, and design learning tasks that re-structure the learning process towards knowledge creation and purposeful use.