INSIGHTS INTO IMPROVING THE PROCESS OF TEACHING NEW GENERATION STUDENTS AT UNIVERSITIES
The contemporary changes recently have brought new challenges for higher educational institutions at different levels, the teaching level including as well. University teachers feel that they cannot teach new generation in the way they did it ten or even five years ago. Fast changing information technologies providing quick access to any sources of information, the shift from teacher-centered to student-centered approach make university teachers think about the meaning of teaching excellence, as well as their role and choice of teaching methods. In order to provide deeper and richer layers of understanding of the meaning of teaching excellence at universities it is not enough for teachers to reflect and evaluate critically their pedagogy and practice but it is necessary to listen to the learners’ voice as well.
This new generation of students who have grown up in the ubiquitous IT world and have been actively engaged in unrestricted and unlimited virtual social interaction, is different from other generations and has diverse educational expectations and needs and specific learning styles. Some researchers point out (McCrindle, Wolfinger, 2014) that the main problem of contemporary education is the attempt to teach 21st century students with the 20th century content and the application of the 19th century teaching methods. Therefore, the aim of this qualitative research was to find out the students' and teachers’ views on the teaching / learning process at university, focusing mainly on two research questions: what is students' and teachers’ understanding of a theoretical lecture at university and what is the profile of a good university teacher. The research was carried out in 2014, at the Institute of Foreign Languages of Vilnius University. The research data makes it obvious that there are some similarities as well as differences in students’ and teachers’ views, the analysis of which could be useful for the improvement of educational process at universities teaching new generation students.