#2 Recognition and Analysis of My Own Competencies

Task description

Write a description of yourself using the themes and questions given below. Please give careful consideration when writing the essay, as it will later serve as the basis of your PDP. You can use visualization to simplify and illustrate your thoughts. In your essay, please give consideration as to how the reading materials support or challenge your vocational development? Please write citation of the references in the text and list the references you have consulted at the end of your essay. Recommended reading materials and links can be found on the on-line learning platform.

Address the following points in your essay:

  • Your field of education, professional competence and vocational teacher competence
  • Your current work sector and job description
  • Vocational and working life competence
  • Your development path as a teacher/trainer and expert
  • Your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges as a vocational teacher
  • Your teacher identity and direction of development in the near future

Personal development and educational challenges in the teacher’s pedagogical studies:

  • What are your motives, learning outcomes and expectations with regard to study and learning
  • What do you want to learn and what do you want to know more about?
  • In which competence areas in particular would you like to deepen your knowledge?
  • How do your own learning outcomes match up with the competence areas described in the curriculum?
  • In your teaching practice, in what kinds of guidance and counseling and teaching situations can you demonstrate your competences and develop them?

In order to be fully engaged in the vocational teacher education program, also consider the following:

  • How do you intend to assess your learning in the studies?
  • What kind of competence portfolio do you want to make?
  • What are your resources and time management constraints in the studies?
  • What wishes do you have in terms of guidance and counseling, the role of your guidance-counselor and networking?

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My background is in Communication and Media, I also have a Diploma in International Project Management and a Master’s degree in Arts Management. In addition, I am a certified Entre-Coach and an Accredited Lecturer in Intercultural Management and Organizational Culture by The Hofstede Centre.

For the past three years, I have been working as a full-time teacher in HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences (HAAGA-HELIA UAS) teaching a variety of subjects such as Marketing, Event Management, Project Management, Advertising, Blogging and Wedding Planning and Management. Since 2011, I have been the coordinator of a brand new specialisation programme in Culture Export Management. More information here.
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According to the Key lifelong learning skills survey (Paaso & Korento, 2010), the “competent teacher” possesses a variety of skills such as communication in the mother tongue, communication in foreign languages, mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology, digital competence, learning to learn, social and civic competences, sense of initiative and entrepreneurship and cultural awareness and expression were identified. What skills do I possess and how do I analyse myself as a teacher?

My personal SWOT analysis

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Here is my personal SWOT analysis as a teacher:

My strengths: intercultural communication, academic and practical know-how of marketing/business, presentation skills, leadership, initiative, ability to inspire and motivate, digital competence, fairness

My weaknesses: relative lack of conceptual and methodological approaches in pedagogical research, limited knowledge of national and international educational policy, limited skills to detect, identify and manage learning difficulties

Opportunities: Pedagogical competence, wider career prospects, self-actualisation

Threats: Rigid career progression, commercialization of vocational education, pressures to fulfill a plethora of strategic objectives, budget and personnel cuts

I plan to enhance the list throughout my pedagogical studies and based on my continuous teaching experience.

My teacher identity and future development

Despite a scientific vagueness surrounding the term of teacher identity, a common agreement can be reached regarding the core idea of ‘self-concept’ and its importance on teacher education.  I agree with Bullough (1997, as stated in Korthagen, 2004) that “Teacher education must begin, then, by exploring the teaching self”.

Through this blog I will attempt to explore my teaching self by diving both deep into my personal self and my professional self. Each blog post is a reflection on my professional identity containing narratives, critical incidents and revelation moments of my experience in teaching and my learning as a teacher-student.

I agree with a quote from Hamachek (1999 as stated in Korthagen, 2004) “Consciously, we teach what we know; unconsciously, we teach who we are”

Korthagen / Teaching and Teacher Education 20 (2004, 79-80) presents the so-called ‘onion model’ which shows that there are various levels in people that can be influenced, namely from the centre of the onion: 1. mission, 2. identity, 3. beliefs, 4. competences, 5. behaviour (Figure 1).

The onion model of levels of change1. Mission: A strong ideal I believe in is the creation of critical-thinking to young adults in a society that discourages the ability to question the status quo. I wish to enable my students to collect information, synthesize it and act based on their own thinking.

2. Identity: The identity level is the hardest level to define as it is influenced by critical life events, phases and significant others, early childhood experiences, teacher role identity, and classroom actions (Karthagen, 2004: 82). My identity was shaped based on my upbringing in an industrial city in Northern Greece, my upbringing as the firstborn in a family of two kids, growing up with a strong emphasis on appreciating education and excellence in academics. A certain degree of my high competitiveness perhaps derive from this part of my self.

3. Beliefs: My beliefs on education are formulated from my own school days back in Greece as well as my studies in Germany and in Finland. In addition, I am an avid learner and try to constantly keep myself updated with the latest trends in education. I believe that emphasis should be given on both the transfer of scientific knowledge or ‘formal knowledge’ (Fenstermacher, 1994 as stated in Karthagen, 2004: 81) and on the becoming conscious of one’s own ‘personal practical knowledge’ (Clandinin, 1986 as stated in Karthagen, 2004: 81)

4. Competencies: Amongst my competencies are subject matter knowledge in marketing and event management, effective communication with learners, ability to switch from Socratic to didactic teaching methods, ability to recognise and adapt to different learning styles (visual, auditive, read/write, kinesthetic), ability to summarize and review the main points of a lesson, strong digital competence.

5. Behaviour: My behaviour is professional and yet caring towards the students. I take their learning personally and I want to ensure that they all learn based on their capabilities. I inspire a healthy competition amongst learners. I want them to excel and accomplish their learning goals.

6. Environment: My courses for the Business Administration and Tourism students of Porvoo Campus and my courses for the Experience and Wellness Management Degree Programme students of Haaga Campus consisting from 25 up to 40 students.

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My teacher identity includes my professional identity as a communication and marketing expert. In vocational education, especially in HAAGA-HELIA UAS a strong professional background is a requirement for a teaching position. My supervisor often mentions that “We (at HAAGA-HELIA UAS) no longer hire teachers but experts.” The direction of development for the near future is to be able to strike a balance between my teacher identity and my occupational identity in order to maintain participation in the different communities that creates synergy between the two and prepares me best to teach my vocational subjects.

According to Jack Grove’s article titled ‘EU group wants teacher training for lecturers’, an EU commission on higher education led by the former president of Ireland Mary McAleese, “University lecturers should be required to take teacher training classes” which is one of 16 recommendations made by an EU high-level group set up last year to examine the modernisation of higher education. In addition, “the report also recommends that higher education institutions and national policy makers, in partnership with students, should establish counseling, guidance, mentoring and tracking systems to support students into higher education and and beyond.” (Grove, 2013) Therefore, these developments influence the professional identity of the teacher in the near future. Teachers are required to receive more teacher training and focus more on counselling, guidance, mentoring in order to support their students in academic and professional life. The HAAGA-HELIA School of Vocational Teacher Education seems to be on the right track and in accordance to these developments!

Motives, learning outcomes and expectations

As I have written in the previous post (#1 Vocational Teacher Competence according to the curriculum), my motives, desired learning outcomes and expectations from my pedagogical studies at the School of Vocational Teacher Education as well as the competence areas that I would like to deepen my knowledge in particular and learn more about are the following:

First, regarding the criteria for the assessment of the Guidance and Counseling and Teaching and Assessment Competence, students and supervisors provide feedback and assess the teacher’s intercultural and interpersonal communication skills on a regular basis with course feedback and development discussions (or even with kitchen or corridor chats!) In addition, student-oriented guidance and counseling, as well as teaching methods are vital. I personally feel comfortably with my intercultural and interpersonal communication skills, however I wish my studies at the School of Vocational Teacher Education will enhance my guidance and counseling and teaching and assessment methods and enable me to justify my choices pedagogically and ethically both for my own learning and in order to explain them to students and colleagues.

Second, regarding the criteria for the assessment of the Working Life and Networking Competence, I have being developing curricula and learning environments with colleagues, students and the business community in my own work. The focus on entrepreneurship and the collaboration with businesses are reflected in the mission of HAAGA-HELIA UAS which states, “HAAGA‐HELIA educates experts with customer service, strong sales and entrepreneurial skills. Our R&D&I activities focus on innovative products, services and business operations for the benefit of business and society.” My own personal goal would be to learn more about welfare, safety and sustainable development at work.

Third, regarding the criteria for the assessment of the Research-based Development Competence, in my three-year experience as a Vocational teacher, I have been identifying areas of Research and Development and working towards solutions that promote learning in new fields. Such an example is the specialisation programme in Culture Export Management I have created with key internal and external stakeholders and I am coordinating since 2011.

I intend to reflect upon all my learning in my ‘Teacher Insights’ blog and discuss what works and what dοes not work. I will acknowledge my shortcomings, fears as well as the successes and lessons-learnt and how they should be implemented in the upcoming course implementation plans.

My intention is to assess my learning during my studies at SVTE by reviewing the student feedback and discussing about my progress with my supervisor during the annual development discussions. I also believe that I am able to reflect critically in my own development and learning.

Learning, adaptation, application and development seems to be the process I intend to follow. I would like my competence portfolio to document and consist of meta-skills and professional competence gained throughout my studies at the School of Vocational Teacher Education  based on my personal aims and my experience gained in vocational pedagogy. My competence portfolio would contain competences gained in concrete projects and course implementations that I have created and developed. Moreover my participation in research and development projects aims at enhancing my sales and service skills, renewing business activities, entrepreneurial attitude, and methodological competence. Coaching and leadership skills can be gained by working as supervisor (i.e. team leader, project manager) in projects.

My ambition level is high even though my resources are limited due to the fact that I am a full-time teacher with a part-time job on the side. However, I am determined to fulfill all requirements in time as I possess good time management skills and I enjoy learning and being part of the programme. It is

In terms of guidance and counseling I wish that my guidance-counselor would assist me in determining the most appropriate means for me to complete my studies and assess my personal learning. In addition, in selection of the reading materials and

List of references

Grove, Jack. “EU group wants teacher training for lecturers,” <http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/eu-group-wants-teacher-training-for-lecturers/2005014.article>,  accessed June 2013

Hamachek, D. (1999). Effective teachers: What they do, how they do it, and the importance of self-knowledge. In R. P. Lipka, &T. M. Brinthaupt (Eds.), The role of self in teacher development (pp.189–224). Albany,NY: State University of New York Press.

Jarvis, Peter. Adult Education and Lifelong Learning: Theory and Practice. 4th Edition, Routledge, 2010

Korthagen Fred A. J. 2004. In search of the essence of a good teacher: towards a more holistic approach in teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education 20. Available only on Moodle

The Competent Teacher 2010−2020 − The competences of teaching staff in upper secondary vocational education and training, Aila Paaso & Kati Korento, 2010.

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