The best university instructors. Iryna Sopivnyk: today students are not worse or better than the previous ones, they are JUST OTHERS, this is the new "digital" Z generation, which needs other approaches to teaching

29 січня 2020 року
The cycle of interviews with instructors, named the best by the 2019 graduate students continues with the conversation with the assistant professor of the department of social work and rehabilitation Iryna Sopivnyk.

  • – So, has this recognition come as a surprise to you?

     – Yes, it is a pleasant surprise, since we, at the faculty for humanities and pedagogics, have a very powerful and professional team. On the other hand, the faith of the students needs to be justified, which is why such an appreciation is, in the first place, an incentive for me to continue working on myself.

  • – Name the students who you think are the best

     – My experience of communication with students of different higher education institutions shows that ours are the best. Speaking of this year's graduate students, each of them is the best in a particular field. For example, Dima Lishchuk, who came to our magistracy with the M.P. Drahomanov MPU, the best in teaching – did not miss any classes for three semesters, this is an extremely erudite young man. Maksym Aksyonov is involved in the organization of leisure: he is a popular animator in Kyiv. Although first he chose the faculty of veterinary medicine at our university, and graduated from school and worked with children. It was he who professionally organized the leisure of our staff on University Day. Antonina Osanadze has developed unique projects for student self-government at the university, including open air cinema and sorting the trash in the dormitory, and spent all summer 2019 at our department helping to work with entrants. Maryna Knyazeva has proven herself in the field of andragogy. She joined the postgraduate course in "Social work" after KNEU and was involved in organizing "third age" adult education at the "Happy Longevity" institute, which functions at the department and brings together our honoured university staff. Nastya Rybakova is creative personality and developed the cover design of international scientific journals "International Philological Journal", "Humanities: Pedagogy, Psychology, Philosophy", as well as about 10 information booklets on the prevention and rules of student behaviour in diseases (influenza, tuberculosis/HIV-AIDS, hepatitis, etc.) and also recorded a video for her own song. Maryna Trehub is the most responsible student: she was the first to complete all the educational tasks and brilliantly defended her master's work, despite the fact that she gave birth to a daughter before entering the magistracy. And this list can be continued.

  • – Which of your students' instructors would you consider best and why?

     – All the instructors that happened and are happening on my life way are the best. I still study today with my students, colleagues and anyone who, through wise advice and example, inspires my work. With respect, gratitude, and warmth, I treat each of my teachers, especially those who have combined demanding and humane.

  • – How do you motivate students to study? Is it just a requirement and discipline?

     – I motivate in three ways. The first is the form (implementation of different technologies, forms and methods of teaching, such as "inverted lecture", "problematic lecture", "lecture-discussion", "photo-lecture", "quest-lesson", "lesson-game", "class-conference», etc.). The second is content (selection of interesting, relevant, practical training material). The third attitude towards students (demanding, but tolerant, based on the positive).

  • – How to teach material to interest a student of the 21st century?

     – First, love yourself, your job and your students. At one time, Vasyl Sukhomlynskyi wrote, "A teacher without love for a child is like a singer without a voice, a musician without hearing, a painter without a sense of color."
       Second, to be the happiest, the most positive, interesting and successful.
      Third, it is necessary to update the content of the discipline in accordance with new knowledge in the field, and especially to pay attention to new technologies that will enable the student today or in the near future to put them into practice and receive a tangible financial reward for this.
      Fourth, it is important to receive feedback from students. That is why we both evaluate the applicants, and ask them to evaluate us – the instructors. We periodically survey our students and ask questions "How do you evaluate the work of instructors?", "What kind of qualities should a modern teacher possess?", "What would you change in the educational process?", etc. Analysis of the survey results helps to take into account the needs, wishes, interests of today’s students.
    Fifth, keep in mind that today's students are no better or worse than previous students, they are JUST OTHERS, this is a new "digital" Z generation that needs other approaches to teaching. For example, this semester, for my students, our experimental "photo-lectures" were interesting, as they said, when photos were taken for each topic issue. At the beginning of the class, the students looked closely at them and each recorded what the picture symbolized or meant (what process, event, phenomenon, etc.). After viewing all the photos, students expressed their thoughts about each of them and discussed in detail all questions in the class. As practice shows, successfully selected photos encourage the strain of mental forces, the development of intuition, actualization of previous knowledge, develop cognitive interest, which is why this form of material is of interest to student youth. However, it is not necessary to misuse a photo-lecture or its elements, variety and correspondence with educational material are necessary, because not every lesson can be conducted in this form.

  • – Some of the students in their questionnaires indicate intructors’ incompetence. What is your opinion?

     – There are simply cases where the instructor is a highly qualified specialist in his subject, but he cannot bring his knowledge to the students. This happens for two reasons: either the instructor does not have sufficient knowledge of pedagogy and teaching methods, or because of his or her personal character traits he cannot teach others.
     The first reason is easy to eliminate – it is studying at the faculty for humanities and pedagogics of NULES of Ukraine, seminars to improve pedagogical skills, seminars of tutors of academic groups, "School of Young Trainers", which are systematically held in our educational institution (and, by the way, these are unique practices). The second is harder to eliminate. If teaching is not a "related" job, then it is better not to "torment" yourself and others, but to do what brings pleasure and success.

  • – By the way, students also talk about having some duplication of topics in different disciplines. How to avoid this?

     – It is necessary to approach this issue differently. In cases where there is a complete duplication of the topic and its issues, they should definitely be changed. It is very easy to find such duplications today, since all educational and professional programs and work programs of disciplines (or syllabuses) are placed on the departmental pages. However, when topics are duplicated in disciplines, but they cover different issues or different approaches, then there is no need to change them. On the contrary, the educational process can only benefit from such a situation. As a rule, the most important topics for the training of the specialist are repeated, which allows to repeat, deepen the knowledge on the subject, to consider it from another point of view or subject area. For example, in social work there is a theme "Volunteering". It is studied in the course "History of Social Work", where it is introduced to the emergence of volunteering at different stages of the formation and development of social work. Psychology examines the existing psychological theories of volunteer motivation. In the course of studying the discipline "Legal Foundations of Social Work" the legal foundations of volunteer organizations, the rights and responsibilities of volunteers, etc., are covered. This example shows that a similar topic name in different disciplines does not always imply duplication of course material. In addition, in pedagogy there is a concentric approach in the formation of the content of education, when we first reveal the basic concepts in general terms, and then expand the range of knowledge in the course of the implementation of learning tasks.

  • – Should the instructor have practical experience, or is theoretical knowledge sufficient?

     – Theory in any science is nothing but a well-generalized practice. Ideally, the instructor should have a thorough theoretical background and experience, to know more than the curriculum requires. However, the most important is the call for teaching and the willingness to teach, the willingness to study on a continuous basis. When the instructor is motivated, he can master the theory on his own (in today's information environment this is not a problem), get internships in Ukraine or abroad, work part-time in production. The main thing I to have a wish.

  • – In your opinion, do all instructors need a B2 level knowledge of a high-quality educational process?

     – Knowledge of foreign languages is a great advantage, which gives the opportunity to communicate freely with colleagues from other countries, share their experience and adopt the best foreign pedagogical practices. It is also an opportunity to participate in joint scientific projects, to receive grants with the attraction of funds, to publish works in leading scientific journals, including those included in international scientometric databases, to study in foreign educational institutions. However, as practice shows, we have many talented, wonderful educators who do not speak any foreign languages. Therefore, it is definitely not necessary for everyone to know a foreign language, but it is desirable. In my opinion, it is more important that all scientific-pedagogical staff know, love, speak, and teach in Ukrainian.

  • – What is your greatest achievement in life and what do you admire?

     – The biggest achievement of my life is my favorite job, my students and my family. Outside of work, I like to play table tennis, travel, take pictures and read.

Iryna Bilous took the interview


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