Tomas Bata University in Zlín (CZECH REPUBLIC)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2021 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 8958-8963
ISBN: 978-84-09-34549-6
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2021.2059
Conference name: 14th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 8-9 November, 2021
Location: Online Conference
The study focuses on the topic concerning the professionalization of a preschool teacher. The researched issue is based on whether and to what extent the preschool teacher should be strengthened in the research competence and/or the didactic competence. This discussion is also reflected in the standards of training future teachers. Although pedagogical and didactic competence is a part of all models of teacher competencies in general, the usual research thesis remains in the bachelor's study. Applied thesis as a specific type of final thesis in the bachelor's study has been carried out since 2012 at the faculty, where the authors of the text work and preschool teachers have been preparing for a long time. The study is part of a project that aims to determine whether and how this type of thesis can support the professionalization of teachers and, at the same time, contribute to the desired changes in the preschool curriculum. The student proves in applied thesis his ability to design and verify the project, program, or set of activities in the practice of a preschool institution. An important monitored aspect of the quality of the thesis is the connection between the basic theory, didactic strategy, and evaluation of originally designed activities for preschool children.

The aim is to identify the contribution of creating an applied thesis to develop didactic thinking of a future teacher. The study consists of the content analysis of 155 applied final theses defended from 2012 to 2021. All theses have the same structure, including theoretical input, presentation of proposed activities, and description of their implementation and subsequent evaluation in institutions for preschool children. The analysis for this study focuses on the part of the thesis that reflects the understanding of didactic categories and the student's ability to reflect the current needs of children. The analysis focuses on monitoring the changes in students' didactic thinking concerning current pedagogical concepts of preschool education. Data analysis was further supported by interviews with seven supervisors of applied bachelor's theses, some of which act as guarantors of study programs at the university.

The analysis of selected applied theses with subsequent interviews with supervisors shows that students' strategies have changed from traditional methods and forms towards a broader range of options over ten years. Students are more looking for new strategies, such as STEM or IBSE. Therefore, the benefit is the possibility to verify the principal theories in practice, and it also presents another opportunity for comprehensive preparation for the teaching process. However, the analysis and interviews also indicated a less expected benefit, namely persistent problems in understanding didactic categories in the process of thesis creation. The applied thesis thus helps the future teacher think holistically about his / her didactic strategy, correct it with the supervisor's support, and develop the didactic competence better. This type of thesis should be enshrined in the standards of preschool teacher training to demonstrate a sufficient level of ability to plan and implement the teaching process in kindergarten.
Preschool teacher, applied practice bachelor thesis, didactic competence.