IMPROVEMENT IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCIES: A PROPOSAL OF TEACHING INNOVATION
The implementation of Bologna process has caused many changes in education in the European Higher Education System (EHES). One of these reforms refers to the training programs which have to provide undergraduate students with the opportunities to acquire abilities and competencies that are necessary for answer the needs of the society (European Commission, 2003).
This situation brings many challenges in the professional development of Primary Education teachers given that current systems of professional development are sometimes seen as disconnected from university teaching. Practical application in the real context is mainly relevant in the case of the teachers in Special Education, as they will have to help children with special needs to overcome their learning disabilities.
In order to promote the achievement of these skills we propose an innovative teaching in higher education for the development of skills based on practical training of students in the real educative context. The proposed teaching project aims to improve the practical training given to students in Teacher of Primary Education degree with respect to evaluation and intervention in learning disabilities.
In this project practices are incorporated in the real professional field (schools of Primary Education) from the initial degree courses. The present project brings future professionals in Primary Education Degrees to the evaluation, the monitoring and intervention to common cases of learning disabilities that can be found in the schools. This involves a double advantage: it promotes the acquisition of skills necessary to detect learning difficulties (by using assessment tools, writing reports and planning the process of assessment and intervention), and secondly it fosters the educational progress of children with learning difficulties.
Sixteen second year undergraduate students participated in this teaching project, they were selected taking into account both a motivate interview and theirs academic performance. Each of the undergraduate students provides intensive education support during one semester to one Primary School child with learning disabilities.
To conclude we consider that this new methodology will increase the quality of the teaching-learning process since it emphasizes the development of professional teacher competencies in the real education context, namely the schools of Primary Education. Thus future teachers will feel more satisfied with their training and have greater professional self-efficacy. Moreover this innovative teaching experience may bring many positive benefits, not only for the students themselves but within the wider society.