|Ročník: 2021||Volume: 2021|
|Číslo: 1||Issue: 1|
|Vyšlo: 31. ledna 2022||Published: Jan 31th, 2022|
Perception of future teachers professional competences level at Faculty of Science, Palacký University Olomouc.
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Perception of future teachers professional competences level at Faculty of Science, Palacký University Olomouc
Abstract: The paper aims to identify and propose possible solutions in the case of perception of the level of professional competencies of first-year students of the follow-up study of teaching at the Faculty of Science, Palacký University Olomouc, from the perspective of their head teachers. Branch, diagnostic, information, managerial and communication competencies were selected. The theoretical part presents the characteristics of competencies from the perspective of selected authors, followed by an overview and characteristics of teacher competencies and a description of teacher competencies as means for successful development of professional skills. Furthermore, the organization of the first continuous pedagogical training at the Faculty of Science, Palacký University Olomouc is described. As part of the exploratory survey, a semi-structured questionnaire was created, which was attended by a total of 60 secondary and primary school teachers in the Olomouc Region. Its aim was determined by the way in which teachers evaluate the competencies of teacher students for their first continuous pedagogical training. The discussion shows the summary of the results of the questionnaire survey by the leading teachers of training. In the end the analysis of the importance of the implementation of pedagogical training at the Faculty of Science, Palacký University Olomouc is supplemented by subjects aimed at improving the current situation.
Keywords: Competence, teaching competence, teacher professional competence, pedagogical training, head teachers, professional teaching skills.
Teaching practice is an integral part of the initial training of future teachers of science and mathematics. It enables students to directly apply branch and professional pedagogical competences in the educational process (in various types of secondary and grammar schools). Training head teachers of the thus help future teachers to create the competences necessary for the successful management of their profession - the teaching career. The article deals with an evaluation of some professional competences of future teachers from the position of their head teachers during the first continuous pedagogical training at the Faculty of Science, Palacký University Olomouc. The theoretical part presents the characteristics of competences from the perspective of selected authors and pays attention to the competences of teachers as a basic aspect for pedagogical training.
The submitted questionnaire survey for training head teachers contained items with self-assessment scales of the Likert type. It was focused on professional, diagnostic, information, managerial and communication competences. The first aim this survey was to evaluate students from the perspective of their head teachers on the first continuous pedagogical training. The second aim was to point out possible shortcomings and find optimal ways to improve the whole course and organization of pedagogical training. A partial correspondence with another survey (carried out at the Faculty of Education in Liberec) is also mentioned. At the end of the paper, some suggestions for improving the system of pedagogical training at the Faculty of Science are presented.
2. Theoretical backgrounds
The term competence (the term ability can also be used) most often means the prerequisites or ability to perform an activity or profession. Competence therefore means the ability to manage a certain job position, to be able to perform it, to be qualified in the relevant field, to have the necessary knowledge and skills. This concept emphasizes the inner quality of a person, which is the result of his/her development, more or less independent of the outside world, which allows him to give a certain (desired, standard) performance.
It is actually a set of required qualities, experiences, knowledges, abilities, skills, motivation, attitudes and personality characteristics for a given activity or position. It is therefore a broader meaning than the concept of qualification, which is more focused on the formal certification of learning outcomes. Competence, on the other hand, also includes other personality traits.
In the pedagogical concept, the term competence means the skill, the ability to successfully carry out some activities, to solve certain tasks, especially in work and other life situations. (Průcha, 2009)
Emiliasari (2018) mentions in her article that pedagogic competence is teachers’ ability in managing students’ learning from planning, implementing and evaluating the process and the learning outcome which consists of teachers’ understanding of: (a) educational foundation, (b) students’ characteristics, (c) curriculum development, (d) lesson plan, (e) implementation of educational learning, (f) implementation of dialogic learning, (g) ICT utilization, (h) learning outcome evaluation, (i) students’ potential development (Mulyasa, 2007), and (j) reflective action. (Permendiknas, 2007)
The term competence has remained for a long time (and in fact still remains) relatively vague. Some authors emphasize the motivation and rewarding elements of self-concept, while others underline cognitive abilities or interpersonal and social competences. (Molnár, 2007)
For example, Roelofs and Sanders (2007) say that several authors (e. g. Bos, 1998; Mulder, 2001; Van Merrienboer, Van der Klink and Jansen, 2002) have recently reviewed the literature and come up with comprehensive definitions. According to Mulder, competence is a comprehensive concept for abilities or capabilities of people or organizations, while a specific competency forms a part of competence.
Further, Roelofs and Sanders (2007) also mention Mulder (2001) derived a definition that captures the competence of most important authors by saying that: ‘competence is the ability of a person or organization to achieve particular levels of performance’ (p. 76). Citing different authors, he adds that the competencies of individuals consist of the following:
According to J. Veteška (2008), the concept of competence can also be defined as a person's unique ability to act successfully and further develop their potential based on an integrated set of own resources. In the specific context of various tasks and life situations, it is associated with the ability and willingness (motivation) to make decisions and be responsible for their decisions.
Walterová and Ježková (2000) understand the term competence as a set of complex skills, which is based on a model of a person able not only to use their knowledge and skills but also to receive stimuli and seek solutions to new situations, and adapt to changes in the social, cultural, and work environment.
Since the 1960s, there has been an effort to identify the essence of teacher professionalism through the key competencies that feed it. Gradually, many models, systems, classifications were created, describing the activities, desirable skills, personal traits, and attitudes, which the teacher should have (Spilková, 2007).
In the 1990s, there was a renaissance of the interest in the concept of professional competencies of teachers. Abroad, professional competencies are associated with the quality of teachers and become a starting point for creating a professional standard and the subject of evaluation of teachers' professional performance. They are understood as a set of professional qualities, expressed in interrelated knowledge, skills, experience, attitudes, and personal prerequisites, which condition the quality performance of the teaching profession. Methods of forming professional competencies in various phases of professional life are examined (Vašutová, 2004).
The concept of teacher competence according to J. Průcha (2009) expresses a set of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values important for the performance of the teaching profession. This competence relates to the professional, content and personality component of the teaching standard. Composed of partial or special competences (Průcha, 1997), it can be deduced from some works in which this concept is interpreted as a complex set of certain dispositions and skills of a teacher. In the professional literature, we encounter various approaches to their definition and characteristics.
J. Průcha (1997) talks about the teacher's competences as their readiness to cope with the demands placed on them. He states that in the field of professional competencies of a teacher, much remains unclear and unknown; namely which skills a graduate of preparatory studies is equipped with, as well as which professional knowledge and skills the teacher actually uses in practice in comparison with the theoretical requirements for his profile.
V. Spilková (1996) lists the following components of a teacher's professional competence (in her terminology "professional competence"):
Ch. Kyriacou (1996) describes seven key skills, which as a whole represent the content of the teacher's pedagogical competence. These are the competencies of an experienced teacher, including the following components:
Each of these skills is described in more detail by a set of sub-activities that a teacher must perform to be professionally successful.
V. Švec (1999) presents the following model of competences: competence for teaching and education, personality competences and developing competences. Z. Kalhous, O. Obst et al. (2002) present the model of the Dutch authors C. P. Koetsier, T. Wubvels and F. A. J. Korthagen, who distinguish three basic groups of consecutive competences: trigger competences, growth potential, and research skills. According to them, the starting competence also includes the pedagogical skills of the teacher, which are related to the preparation, implementation, and evaluation of teaching.
Characteristics of teacher professional competences as means for successful creation of professional skills
The professional competences of teachers and their development form the basis of the initial training of future teachers. Both in our country and abroad, it belongs to the main pillars of the educational process. Which competences are to be included here, as well as the extent to which future teachers are able to acquire these competencies, is the subject of much debate. According to J. Průcha (1997), professional competences require mastering teaching problems through new goals, curriculum, and methods. These competences also manage problems related to students and their individual leadership and relationships with partners outside the school.
V. Šuťáková (2017) states that every teacher should be able to handle tasks related to the implementation of pedagogical activities and should be equipped with a set of professional competences.
The main task of the teacher is to motivate students to get to know and learn, thereby filling the teaching process with meaningful and beneficial content for the student. The teacher is the creator and manager of the content of teaching as well as the individual activities of students. One of the important key skills of the teacher is a personality competence, which could very simply be described as a "talent" for the teaching profession. It is a set of mainly character and personality traits, which are among the necessary prerequisites for the teaching profession. We can include here certain abilities such as communicative abilities, social and emotional intelligence but also classic personality traits: emotional stability, resistance to stress, optimism, enthusiasm, altruism, a certain degree of dominance, and extroversion. This also includes ethical standards and free characteristics (Vorlíčková, 2007).
Another competence of the teacher is a branch competence, which mainly includes knowledge and pedagogical skills of the approbation field. These are relatively narrowly defined. All teachers should know the field or area they teach with confidence and oversight. Most disciplines are constantly changing and evolving, which appeals to teachers but also brings the need for further education and improvement in their field. During university studies, this competence develops most easily, and its acquisition is most transparent. Therefore, it is also often considered the core of the teaching profession.
Communicative and social competence can be considered very important, which is also characterized by creating a positive climate in the classroom, and proper communication with parents. The teacher thus masters the social relations of pupils well, is able to orientate himself in various social situations in school and out of school and can solve them effectively.
Managerial and normative competence is based on the ability to control the basic administrative tasks associated with the agenda of students and their educational results. This competence also masters the methods of leading students and creates conditions for effective classroom cooperation, while being oriented in educational policy and can reflect in his pedagogical work (J. Vašutová, 2004).
J. Vašutová (2004) thus lists a total of seven areas of teacher competence (subject, didactic and psychodidactic, pedagogical, diagnostic and interventional, social and interventional, managerial and normative, professionally and personally cultivating and other prerequisites), which should ensure the professional standard of the teacher; that is, what the teacher should know, and control, what he should have at his disposal, in order to be entitled to perform his profession in a qualified manner.
Based on the above-mentioned professional competences of a teacher, the author leans towards the characteristics of J. Vašutová (2004), who lists seven areas of teacher's competences. For the teacher's performance, the field competence is extremely important, ensuring high erudition in each field. Communication competence should support the development of communication skills focused on speaking techniques and questions. Managerial competence should ensure orientation in educational policy and the ability to reflect it in the teacher´s pedagogical practice. It should also enable the teacher to control the ways of leading students and, especially, to ensure effective work of the whole class. In the case of diagnostic and information competence, it is possible to identify pupils with specific learning and behavioral disorders, to respond promptly to pupils' answers and to analyze them correctly. As a result, the appropriate interpretation methodology can be chosen, and subject can be structured appropriately. Teaching should be constructed in general according to clearly and comprehensibly formulated goals, even regarding the individualization of students. Instead, they competences should not be seen as an objective for gaining teaching qualifications in undergraduate training. They should form the basis of future work for future teachers. Each professional competence is manifested in the lessons to a different extent, regarding the current pedagogical situation.
Organization of the first continuous pedagogical training at the Faculty of Science, Palacký University Olomouc
Continuous pedagogical training is carried out in the first year of the follow-up master's study, in the summer semester lasting three weeks. A student who intends to perform a continuous pedagogical training submits an application. All documentation (date of internship, list of students registered for internship, location of students at individual schools, information for students on the course of pedagogical training, forms) can be accessed on the website of the Cabinet of Pedagogical Training (http://cpp.upol.cz/). The staff of the Cabinet provides students with the necessary recommendations at the information meeting. The student does not arrange the internship independently but based on their application the Cabinet staff perform the necessary administrative activities (communication with school management, list of students doing continuous pedagogical training at school, information on the course of continuous pedagogical practice, requirements for the course of continuous pedagogical training). The teaching activity of the student at the relevant school is evaluated by the head teacher at the school on the appropriate form.
During the pedagogical training of future teachers, the student becomes acquainted with the basic theoretical pedagogical and didactic knowledge and skills, which they then apply in their activities in a real school environment, thus creating his initial individual professional skills and attitudes under the guidance of experienced schoolteachers. Within the pedagogical training, emphasis is placed on the development of the teacher's personality and some competences that the teacher uses. Branch, professional pedagogical, communicative and self-reflection competences are important here.
3. Empirical investigations
The questionnaire survey was conducted in April 2020 (immediately after the end of the first continuous pedagogical training) and was attended by 60 teachers of science and mathematics from primary and secondary schools in Olomouc and the surrounding area. The addressed teachers had at least three years of experience and were fully qualified in their field. As part of the survey, a semi-structured online questionnaire was created, which contained a total of 10 items, of which 8 were closed and 2 were open. The data were analyzed using descriptive and verification statistics methods. This form of data collection was chosen because it gave space to address more teachers from different types and levels of schools and at the same time provided teachers with the opportunity to express themselves better and more comfortably.
The questionnaire survey aimed to capture the evaluation of future teachers (students of the Faculty of Science) who have had a modified study program since the academic year 2019/2020 and who have not completed assistant or listening pedagogical training within their study program. Thus, teacher students did not had contact with the school environment yet. Only on their first continuous pedagogical training they had an opportunity to get acquainted with the school environment and carry out their first hearings and teaching directly in the field.
There were 64 students of teaching science and mathematics involved. The questions were designed in such a way that it was possible to capture the answers of the leading teachers of the training, as to what extent some of the competences of future teachers are fulfilled. In particular, field, diagnostic and information competencies, managerial and communication competences were evaluated.
A scale of 1 to 4 was used to record the evaluation, i.e., the answer to the questionnaire, with the number 1 representing the highest level of significance. Head teachers also had the opportunity not to comment at all and not assign any evaluation.
4. Results of empirical research
Was the student sufficiently prepared for the training from a professional point of view?
The first question from the questionnaire survey examined the branch competence of teacher students: namely their sufficient professional readiness. Positive evaluation was given by all interviewed teachers, 72 % of teachers agreed with the answer yes, 28 % of interviewed teachers chose the answer rather yes.
Was the student able to independently plan the lesson and structure it well?
The second question concerned the structure and proper planning of the teaching unit, focusing mainly on the phases of the lesson (motivational, exposure, fixation and diagnostic). There was also a positive evaluation of the interviewed teachers, with 52% of the answering rather yes and 48% answering definitely yes.
Did the student include motivational elements to activate the pupils in his/her teaching?
The third question was to find out whether future teachers are able to include a motivational element in their teaching, and whether they can activate the student's learning activities. It is therefore a degree of development of psychodiagnostics competence. Only 8 % of teachers stated that this phase of the lesson did not take place. In contrast, 56 % of teachers answered rather yes, 36 % chose to answer definitely yes.
Did the student apply different methods of pupils' work in his/her teaching?
Organizational and managerial competence was determined by the fourth question, namely whether the students had the opportunity to work both individually and in groups during the lesson, or whether their work was strictly managed and controlled. 46 % of head teacher answered rather yes and rather no as, which is the same percentage as that of head teacher answering certainly yes. It can also be noted that positive evaluation of future teachers by their more experienced colleagues prevails.
Was the student able to handle the class? Was he/she able to solve possible disciplinary problems?
In the fifth question, the ability of students to effectively manage the lesson and create a positive climate was assessed. In this important aspect of pedagogical work, head teachers also agreed that the readiness of students was excellent. The vast majority of them answered that the future teacher is able to manage the class and solve common educational problems.
Was the student able to communicate with the pupils on a friendly level and at the same time based on mutual respect?
The sixth question focused on effective elements of communication, namely correct questioning, uniformity of verbal and nonverbal communication, use of feedback, active listening, etc. In 79 % of cases head teacher expressed complete satisfaction with these aspects which in 21 % of cases, they expressed partial satisfaction.
Was the student able to choose appropriate forms of pupil assessment?
The seventh question concerned the control and various forms of pupil assessment, in particular whether the assessment carried out by future teachers was fair and objective. As in the previous questions, the students of the Faculty of Science were evaluated very positively. None of the head teachers stated that the student would not be able to choose suitable methods for the evaluation of his students.
In the eighth question (the open one) the head teachers were able to make their further comments on the just completed pedagogical training. More than 70 % of respondents expressed great satisfaction with the trainee. Teachers positively assessed cooperation with interns; in their answers they also emphasized the students' interest in using various teaching aids: working with interactive boards, e-learning, maximum readiness for teaching. The above-standard level of communication between trainees and pupils was also highlighted.
The penultimate question was intended to find out the opinion of the head teachers of the training on the inclusion of listening training already in the bachelor's study. There was a clear answer, with 88 % of the teachers surveyed answering yes, and none of the teachers surveyed choosing the answer no. The remaining 12 % indicated that they did not have a clear opinion. It is also worth mentioning the fact that gaining practical personal experience is an important aspect in the implementation of trainings. Thus, future teachers can get acquainted first with the reality of the school, which will then allow them to better start a continuous training. For example, students of science teaching at Charles University in Prague complete a week of intensive listening training in the third year of their studies, where they can monitor the course of teaching, evaluate the teacher's work, monitor the teacher's work and how the teacher communicates with students.
The last question was also open, and it concerned further recommendations from experienced teachers to improve the system of undergraduate training of science and mathematics students. It is worth noting that 80 % of teachers said that in undergraduate training, pedagogical trainings should be longer in case of. Experienced teachers (78 %) recommend an increase in the number of listening and taught analysis hours. As many as 60 % of head teachers recommended that students complete an assistantship before starting their first continuous teaching training, and 45 % of the teachers surveyed support tandem teaching. 53 % of responses called for better preparedness to work with gifted pupils and pupils with special educational needs.
5. Discussion on the empirical investigation
The survey, which was conducted among head teachers, and experienced educators, provided a considerable number of inspiring new ideas. Let us give a summary of them, which is based on a questionnaire survey:
Students of science and mathematics teaching at the Faculty of Science of Palacký University are well prepared in the field of professional competence. Students also demonstrated erudition in communicative competence. In the area of didactic skills, especially the teaching strategy, including the planning of the teaching unit, the evaluation was rather positive. Students (future teachers) can solve disciplinary or other problems according to given conditions.
From the results of our questionnaire survey, it is also possible to state that the inclusion of listening and assistant training in the bachelor's study of science teaching and mathematics should be implemented. According to the recommendations of experienced and future teachers, it would be appropriate to extend the duration of the training. Students (future teachers) would also welcome more listening lessons in pedagogical training.
As part of pedagogical training, it would also be appropriate to include teaching in tandem. This kind of teaching would provide professional support from experienced teachers. It would also allow more space for monitoring the educational process, while ensuring the dynamism and diversity of teaching.
Finally, future teachers should be better prepared to work with pupils with special educational needs and talented pupils.
An exploratory survey concerning the view of head teachers on students was also conducted at the Faculty of Education in Liberec. For comparison, we present some of the results that coincide with the ones of our students (from Olomouc). At the Faculty of Education in Liberec, a relationship to pupils and an interest in the profession were best evaluated by head teachers. According to the evaluation of head teachers, students had most difficulties in methodological issues (Bělohradská, 2004). Thus, it can be stated that the results clearly show the importance of pedagogical trainings, which fully combine theoretical knowledge and skills with practical ones.
We can observe interesting results in the study of pedagogical competences at the Majalengka University in Indonesia. This research yielded similar results as ours. It focused on ten selected pedagogical competences that the Indonesian government promotes as a standard for teacher professionality. Beginning teachers and experienced teachers were involved in a research survey. Both groups participated in the Lesson Study model. The results of this research survey showed that experienced teachers had better pedagogical skills regarding the structure, planning and organization of the teaching unit. Beginning teachers as well as our students (future teachers) have better assessment in the analyzed field of ICT technology and communication with students. (R. N. Emiliasari, 2018)
Cooperation with practicing schools takes place during the organization of pedagogical training at the Faculty of Science of Palacký University. Schools also accept the curriculum of teacher education students and participate in their improvement. A similar situation occurs at most American universities. Currently, most American universities providing initial teacher education have developed a program based on cooperation with school (Burstein, Kretschmer, Smith, Gudoski, 1999). The university and the school cooperate in creating study program and are co-responsible for the quality of teacher training.
The results obtained based on the survey clearly confirm the importance of the implementation of pedagogical training in the initial preparation of future teachers of science and mathematics. These results help future teachers to ensure direct application of acquired knowledge and skills not only in practical life, but also allow them to map their potential, especially in the teaching profession. Suggestions for improving the system of organization of pedagogical training were also presented.
In particular, the need for better preparedness of students in the field of information for the education of pupils with special educational needs was emphasized. Inclusion of such an optional subject already in the bachelor's study would ensure better readiness of science and mathematics students to work with not only gifted pupils, but also with pupils with special educational needs. As another innovative element, it would be appropriate to include tandem teaching in the first week of continuous pedagogical training. Teaching in tandem with an experienced teacher will thus ensure greater efficiency of the lesson, especially professional support, ensure a better working climate and better cooperation not only between students, but also the future teacher and head teacher of training. It will also significantly support the student's critical thinking.
Our survey confirmed the need to combine theory with practice as a tool for obtaining key elements for innovation and quality of the entire educational process. Head teachers of the training evaluate very positively the high quality of professional competences in the initial preparation of future teachers of the Faculty of Science, Palacký University Olomouc, and point out the enormous ability of future teachers to continue their education within current trends. The questionnaire survey showed that during their studies, teacher students created the foundations of competences that are key to the performance of the teaching profession.
Attention should also be paid to the managerial and communication competencies are also worth the attention. During their internship, students demonstrated the ability to orientate themselves in the agenda associated with the teaching of students. Their communication skills were also considerable.
Furthermore, it is necessary to emphasize the key role of head teachers of training, who can directly and effectively intervene in the teaching process of future teachers and thus influence the development of their pedagogical creativity. Pedagogical trainings not only support the development of socially communicative and interpersonal skills, but also teach students to get used to the mental life of children and teach them to respect their needs and interests.
The aim of the questionnaire survey was to find out the degree of fulfillment of professional competences of students of teaching during their first continuous pedagogical training at the Faculty of Science, Palacký University Olomouc. The author is aware that an exploratory examination of a similar nature has already taken place in recent years. The Department of Pedagogy of the Faculty of Education of Masaryk University in Brno organized a conference entitled Teaching Practices - Current Knowledge and Perspectives (V. Švec, K. Lojdová, B. Pravdová, 2016), which aimed to discuss issues and approaches to trainings in undergraduate teacher preparation at individual schools’ faculties. However, our exploratory survey provided further suggestions from head teachers to improve the organization associated with pedagogical training at the Faculty of Science, Palacký University in Olomouc. The results of the questionnaire survey were confirmed by the results obtained within the exploratory survey at the Department of Pedagogy, Faculty of Education, Masaryk University in Brno.
At the same time, the importance and possible expansion of the implementation of pedagogical trainings was undoubtedly confirmed.
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