Abstract. The study is aimed to show the efficacy of the open pair educational technology in developing professional qualities and soft skills, including cross-cultural communication ones, in university students. At present, this technology allows to concentrate on motivating students to develop various types of communication skills and take into consideration emotive and motivational components of the educational process. Students’ class work based on open pair technology stipulates that all students perform the roles of a “Student” and a “Teacher”, the roles and partners being switched on a constant basis. Thus, communication skills, which actually include such activities as people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence and negotiation, become essential for successful outcome of the learning process. Along with communication skills, the educational environment encourages students to develop other soft skills, among them being complex problem solving, cognitive flexibility, decision making, etc. Sixty master’s students majoring in psychology and studying in Saint-Petersburg State University participated in the experiment. The students were randomized in three experimental and one control group. The researchers implemented the following methods: a pedagogical experiment and psychodiagnostic
approach, the latter including psychodiagnostic questionnaires: Sociometry; Diagnostic evaluation of socio-psychological climate in a work group; Evaluation of psychological climate in a study group; C.E. Seashore psychometric test; questionnaire WAM (wellbeing, activity, mood); Self-esteem questionnaire, crosscultural awareness questionnaire. The methodologies applied in the experiment made it possible to evaluate the nature of communication among the participants and assess the latter during the educational process which incorporated open pair technology. The results show that students involved in open pair work educational settings tend to exhibit higher academic achievements and stronger acquisition of soft skills. The lesson design enhances the development of communicative skills. The teaching/learning technology develops managerial skills such as planning, organization, motivation and control. Consequently, collaborative learning can be viewed as a strong potential for developing soft skills and professional competencies. Nowadays, when a traditional teacher-up-front style of instruction dominates in higher school on the one hand, and on the other, distance/on-line learning is actively introduced in higher school, new educational technologies focusing on face-to-face communication should attract educationalists’ interest.
Keywords: learning management, personality development, soft skills, cross-cultural communication
Natalia A. Medina Brakamonte1, Elena Kitaeva2
¹, ²Saint-Petersburg State University Saint-Petersburg, Russia
¹e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ORCID id: 0000-0002-0563-4542
²e-mail: email@example.com ORCID id: 0000-0002-4000-7771
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