Competence-based approach as innovative approach in the course of students' foreign-language training

The expediency of competence-based approach realization in the course of foreign languages training at university is proved in the article. Authors consider that one of the ways of students' educational activity intensification, level increase of their motivation to the learning of foreign language, development of activity and creativity is competence-based approach when training in a foreign language. The theoretical analysis of psychological and pedagogical researches of competence-based approach is in detail submitted. It is established on the basis of the differences analysis in interpretation of competence structure that the existence of knowledge, support on them and connection of competence with their use are supposed in a basis. Authors give definitions of researchers of competence-based approach and the main ideas of competence-based approach are formulated and also the most effective methods and methods of training in a foreign language from positions of competence-based approach are defined. The importance of the competence-based approach introduction in process of students' foreign-language training is noted. Competence-based approach, as well as other innovative approaches in training, demands stepped introduction, therefore today the support on the international experience, taking into account necessary adaptation to traditions and needs of our country is necessary for realization of competence-based approach. Competence-based approach imposes certain requirements to students and their reference level of foreign language.

In modern society where knowledge and the level of intellectual development of the person become the main strategic resource and the most important development factor of economy, the social status of education is considerably raised, new requirements to its level and quality are imposed that is emphasized in the state documents. Rapid social and economic progress dictates high requirements to the level of teaching a foreign language in higher educational institutions as each new generation of students has to be lifted to higher level of proficiency in foreign languages. Change of a sociocultural context of a foreign language, new inquiries of students concerning level of proficiency in it cause need of high-quality change of students' vocational training. This circumstance caused need of using so-called «competence-based» approach to formation of the purposes and assessment of educational achievements. Competence-based approach in the course of students' foreign-language training is one of ways of a student's educational activity intensification, increase in level of their motivation to a learning of foreign language and developing activity and creativity, ability of team work.

The concept «competence» comes from the Latin word «compete» which means to approach, correspond, try to obtain. In a general sense it means compliance to the qualifying standards established to criteria and standards in the corresponding spheres of activity and at the solution of a certain type of tasks, possession of necessary active knowledge, ability to surely achieve results and to own a situation.

Competence-based approach in education is understood as a training method which is aimed at the development of abilities to solve a certain class professional problems according to requirements to personal professional qualities in the student: ability to look for, analyze, select and to process the received data, to transfer necessary information; possession of interaction skills with surrounding people, ability to work in group; knowledge of mechanisms of planning, the analysis, a critical reflection, self-assessment of own activity in unusual situations or in the conditions of uncertainty; possession of heuristic methods and methods of the problems solution.

Competence-based approach imposes certain requirements to students and level of proficiency in them of a foreign language.

The competence includes set of the interconnected qualities of the personality – knowledge, abilities, skills, modalities of action set in relation to a certain circle of objects and processes and necessary for high- quality productive activity in relation to them. The competence is, first of all, the general ability and readiness of the personality for activity based on knowledge and experience which are gained thanks to trainingand are focused on independent participation of the personality in educational and informative process and are directed to its successful integration into society.

The competence cannot be defined through a certain sum of knowledge and abilities as the significant role in its manifestation belongs to circumstances. The competence at the same time closely connects mobilization of knowledge, abilities and the behavioral relations which is adjusted on conditions of concrete activity. The specifics of the pedagogical purposes on development of the general competences consist that they are formed not in the form of the teacher's actions, and in terms of the student's activity results, in terms of its advance and development effect in the course of certain social experience assimilation. What the teacher did, as a result he forms and develops at the student ability to independent management of own activity, to management by itself as its subject. It is absolutely clear that such self-government can take place only if at the student the corresponding regulatory basis of his activity is created, namely a conceptual basis – formation of knowledge and understanding of surrounding reality, an emotional and valuable basis – formation of the relations of the personality to the world around and other people, an operational basis – formation of ability to work with objects of surrounding reality.

Competence-based approach, as well as other innovative approaches in training, demands stage-by- stage introduction. At the first stage of introduction in process of foreign-language training, it is possible to form, for example, such elementary all-educational competences of students as:

  •  extraction of the main contents read or heard;
  •  accurate information of thoughts, creation of original statements on the asked question or a subject;
  •  a research of various versions of the solution of tasks, the choice of the best, in view of various criteria;
  •  cooperation with others when performing the general task;
  •  planning of actions and time;
  •  assessment of results of the activity, etc.

It is obvious that the listed abilities of students have to be formed not as single, and in the complete system of the skills called by competences.

In the work Sh.U. Tasbulatova noted that the backbone role in target and substantial components of a modern educational system of many countries is played not by knowledge, but ability. Also it was noted by it that in the Western European and American pedagogics much attention is paid to the abilities which are going beyond concrete subject domains and these abilities were considered as «important abilities», «basic skills», «basic abilities» [1].

D.N. Kulibayeva considers that «competence» of the person is acmeological category and potential of intellectual and professional personal development characteristic of which are «competences» which have to be created in the course of education as system quality new growths [2].

Competence-based approach is one of the basic concepts of Bologna Process integration of which represents one of essential educational problems. The competence-based representation format of professional education results demands not only changes of training methods in foreign languages, but also global reconsideration of valuable installations and a methodological basis of all process and results of linguistic education. According to competence-based approach, knowledge acquired within a training course has to form a basis and a frame of ability to solve professional problems, to own not only knowledge of a linguistic and cultural studies, but also to work actively as the successful participant of cross-cultural and professional communication.

Competence-based approach in definition is more whole and the maintenance of the general education is not absolutely new and furthermore alien for the higher school.

Orientation to assimilation of abilities, modalities of action, and, moreover, the generalized modalities of action was the leader in works of the Russian teachers as V.V. Davydov, I.Ya. Lerner, V.V. Krayevsky, M.N. Skatkin and their followers. In this course both separate educational technologies, and training materials were developed. However this orientation was not defining, it was practically not used at creation of standard training programs, standards and estimated procedures. Therefore today for realization of competence-based approach the support on the international experience, taking into account necessary adaptation to traditions and needs of our country is necessary.

Competence-based approach for the first time began to be developed in England. As T.M. Kovalyov marks out [3], it was approach which was ingenerated and comprehended not educations, and was the answer to the concrete order of the professional sphere. In other words, this approach focuses on such system of ensuring quality of students' training which would meet requirements of the modern world labour market.Thus, competence-based approach in education is an attempt to bring into accord, on the one hand, need of the personality to integrate itself into activity of society and, with another, requirement of society to use the potential of each personality for ensuring the economic, cultural and political self-development.

Competence-based approach is one of the approaches which is understood as accumulation by the pupil and broadcast by the teacher of ready knowledge, i.e. information, data.

According to some scientists (B.S. Gershunsky [4], M.Zh. Dzhadrina [5], etc.) competence-based approach in education is connected with formation of the new mission of education caused by changes of allworld outlook ideas of the person and his essence.

According to A.V. Khutorskoy's definition of the competence is «possession of the person of the corresponding competence including his personal attitude towards it and object of activity», «already taken place personal quality and the minimum experience in relation to activity in the set sphere» [6].

According to A.L. Andreyev competence is «the general ability based on knowledge, experience, values which are gained thanks to training» [7].

Introduction of competence-based approach, according to A.V. Khutorskoy [6], in a standard and practical component of education allows to solve a problem when students can well seize a set of theoretical knowledge, but experience considerable difficulties in the activity demanding use of this knowledge for the solution of specific objectives or problem situations.

When developing ways to improve foreign-language preparation it is necessary to focus on competence-based approach at which a main training goal is formation of foreign-language communicative competence. Realization of this approach demands transition from the traditional system of teaching with the leading role of the teacher imparting «ready» knowledge and forming a reproductive type of thinking to the system of training in which the student acts as an active and well-motivated subject. The teacher carries out the organization of the student's educational activity and management of it, stimulating development of the creativity so necessary for future innovative activity. In an education system very great value occupies a human factor and teachers are the most important link of educational process.

Innovative potential of competence-based approach application in the system of higher education allows orienting more accurately process of education on its end results, in other words, results of training have to be described in language of competences, representing set of knowledge of abilities and personal dispositions of the subject of educational process. Focusing on performance norms, standards and criteria is characteristic of competence-based approach, i.e. this approach allows to model results of education as standards of its quality, being guided at the same time by concrete inquiries of the respective professional activity spheres.

The ideas of the general and personal development formulated in the context of psychology and pedagogical concepts of the developing and personal focused education are considered as a prototype of competence-based approach. The categorial base of competence-based approach is directly connected with the idea of educational process focus at which competences set the highest, generalized level of students' skills, and the content of education is defined by the four-component model including knowledge, abilities, experience of creative activity and experience of the valuable relation. From positions of competence-based approach the level of the expert education is defined by ability to solve problems of varying complexity on the basis of the available knowledge. Competence-based approach does not deny value of knowledge, but focuses attention to abilities to use the gained knowledge. The educational purposes are described in the terms reflecting new opportunities of students, growth of their personal potential at such approach. The development of certain personal qualities, first of all, moral, formation of a system of values is considered as «final» results of education. The difference competence-based from traditional approach is connected with distinctions of formation ways ideas of students' valuable orientations and personal qualities. It is recognized at traditional approach to definition of the purposes that personal results can be achieved due to acquisition of necessary knowledge. The gaining experience of the problems independent solution is considered as the main way at competence-based approach. The problems solution is considered in the first case as a way of fixing of knowledge, in the second – as sense of educational activity. Competence-based approach in the general education objectively meets also social expectations in education, and to the interests of educational process participants. We can understand in general as competence the integrated qualities characteristic of the personality, training result of the university graduate for performance of activity in certain areas. The competencebased model of the expert developed now by domestic and foreign scientists has two main components: special (professional) and linguistic. The language communicative competence is included into structure ofbasic or key competences of the expert and consists of linguistic, sociolinguistic, discursive, strategic and sociocultural components.

The structure of foreign language communicative competence includes not only a linguistic component, that is possession of speech communication means, but also the social and culturological component considering knowledge of partners in communication and the realities belonging to another culture. Here it is necessary to refer the communicative skills affecting ability to carry out effective written communication. The language communicative competence of training in a foreign language is an ability to carry out communication by means of language, correctly using the system of language and speech norms and choosing the communicative behavior adequate to an authentic situation of communication. The language communicative competence is not personal characteristic of the person; its formation is shown in the course of purposeful training in a foreign language. The concept of foreign language communicative competence does not come down to purely communicative problems formation of daily communication. It means the solution of the whole complex of both the practical, educational and developing tasks. It is possible to create key parameters of language competence only solving them in a complex. We consider according to the opinions of researchers basic elements which make an essence of foreign language communicative competence. The linguistic competence assumes possession of the so-called linguistic code namely knowledge of the certain lexical units and grammatical rules allowing trainees to manipulate them at the level of words and offers, i.e. to generate intelligent works of a written and speech discourse. The sociolinguistic competence means participants' ability of communication to use and transform language forms according to a situation. Observance of the social rules of language based use on a clear roles understanding of communication participants, which they exchange also the nature of their interaction is extremely important for any work of a written-speech discourse. The discursive and strategic competence assumes ability of the addressee coherently and logically to state the position – to produce not the separate offer, but the complete and capacious work of a written and speech discourse which would allow to involve the sender in communication process. The sociocultural competence is based on ability of partners in communication to conducting dialogue of cultures that assumes knowledge of own culture and the culture of the learned language country. Knowledge of sociocultural norms through the system of language allows trainees to be guided in foreign culture and to overcome a condition of «cultural shock». Mastering this competence creates a basis for professionalism development (productive ways of actions) and skill (flexibility, mobility, adaptability to new situations), assumes integration of the personality into a system world and national cultures. Formation of sociocultural competence for creation of effective works of a written-speech discourse is an important component of language communicative competence of the personality capable to interact actively in different sociocultural formats and to operate with various communicative categories allocated with national specifics.

The communicative competence is necessary for any sphere of human activity, being an important basis of social and economic development of society and also intellectual and emotional improvement of the personality. The last component is connected with creation and maintenance of communication with the interlocutor, ability not only to show the relation on changes in conducting communicative activity of the opponent, but also to anticipate similar reactions. Emotional background helps dialog partners to feel psychologically favorable or hostile atmosphere.

The competence of self-improvement of the student's identity promotes development of methods, intellectual and moral and physical self-development. The big part in this category is assigned to the teacher, his manner of communication with people, its valuable priorities. The pedagogical activity in this regard has to have innovative character that is one of essential factors of successful educational activity of any educational institution.

Information competence promotes accumulation of experience in work with different information which the student in the course of training faces. It is difficult to overestimate value of this competence since it is the manifestation convincing proof of successful human activity in various spheres of communication. This category assumes the following functions:

  •  ability to find the necessary data, using various information sources in different languages;
  •  ability to distinguish the main information from minor;
  •  ability to define reliability of the received data, using several sources;
  •  ability to use the acquired information correctly and effectively.

The relevance of language communicative competence components is caused by the same functions which are performed by key professional competences of each person's activity: ability formation at the person to studying and self-teaching; providing to graduates as future experts of bigger flexibility in relationshipwith employers; fixing of the increasing success (stability) in the competitive habitat. The problem of language competences finds more and more extensive discussion and application. Competences in general help the individual with the solution of the tasks facing it, including extremely specific, give the chance to build the life bringing satisfactions and to participate actively further political and cultural development of society and also allow the personality to be constantly demanded in labor market. How successfully competencebased approach in training is implemented, it is possible to judge by as far as students with the level of proficiency in a foreign language are capable in the future to sustain the competition in free labor market and to take the worthy place not only in the society, but also in the international community. In view of the above information, the most effective are represented to carry out training in a foreign language on the basis of competence-based approach at realization of the acmeological principles, such as principles of determinism, development, humanity, subject of activity, activity, potential and relevant, modeling, optimality, feedback. Realization of the listed principles is possible when using certain means, methods, receptions and organizational forms of teaching and educational activity, the organization of the corresponding psychological microclimate in collective, pedagogical relationship that it promotes process of intensive self-improvement of the students' identity.

Competence-based approach is considered as some kind of strengthening instrument of social dialogue of the higher school with a professional life, deepening means of their cooperation and interaction. In such system of the specialists' training accurate focus on requirements of labor market is expressed. University graduates have to own competences which will allow them to be successful in the corresponding professional fields of activity.

Thus, competence-based approach is focused on the differentiated system development of concepts for the description and assessment of what in the training course is subject to formation and development, i.e. within competence-based approach training is focused on competences, by methods of their diagnostics and assessment. Development of competences happens as when studying separate subject matters, cycles, modules, and those didactic units which are integrated into all-professional and special disciplines. The generalized integrated nature of this concept in relation to «knowledge», «abilities», «skills» is emphasized. Competences are divided into two groups: those which concern the general (universal, key) and those which it is possible to call subject and specialized (professional). In the conditions of the accelerating changes and increase of the uncertainty characteristic of modern labor markets, the general competences are especially important.

The essence of competence-based approach consists that the purposes of training are formulated in the form of a triangle – «ability to work», «ability to be» and «ability to live».

The main ideas of competence-based approach are formulated in as follows:

  •  the competence unites in itself an intellectual and skilled component of education;
  •  the concept of competence includes not only cognitive and operational and technological components, but also motivational, ethical, social and behavioral; it includes results of training (knowledge and abilities), a system valuable orientations, habits, etc.;
  •  the competence means ability to mobilize the gained knowledge, abilities, experience and ways of behavior in the conditions of a concrete situation, concrete activity;
  •  competence-based approach includes identification of basic skills;
  •  the competence is formed in the course of training not only at school, but also under environmental impact, that is within formal, informal and extra formal education.

The essence of the new abilities formed in the course of training is reflected today in the form of key competences to which formation of the modern education system has to be directed.

It is accepted to distinguish key (the most general, universal, «super subject») and special, subject competences. Key competences perform three functions. First, they help students to study, secondly, allow employees to become more flexible, to correspond to inquiry of employers, thirdly, help to be more successful in further life. If to consider formation of key competences as the most important educational result, then they have to «penetrate» the maintenance of all subject matters (both general education, and special) and to pass through all education levels. In other words, they have to become one of the most important factors of continuity realization of separate educational steps.

The competence can be considered as key if it has the following characteristic signs:

  •  has integrated character and includes a number of uniform abilities and knowledge, the modalities of action connected with wide areas of culture and activity (production, information, public, etc.);
  •  it is multifunctional, mastering by it allows to solve successfully various problems in situations of everyday life;
  •  the super subject and cross disciplinary, that is applicable in various fields of activity;
  •  relies on rather high level of intellectual development;
  •  multifold and multidimensional as it comprises various intellectual processes and intellectual abilities, personal qualities;
  •  can be considered as one of integrated characteristics of educational preparation quality.

Considering various key competences as ability, readiness for a certain activity can be marked out their invariant components or aspects. It is possible to carry to their number:

  •  readiness for goal-setting;
  •  readiness for assessment;
  •  readiness for action;
  •  readiness for a reflection.

It is known that key, most universal competences are result not only the general, but also all types of professional education and in this sense can be considered as result of educational experience of the person in general. At such understanding of their essence they begin to have integrative, backbone character for all system of continuous education. In this case the role of key competences as invariant component of the purposes, contents and results of training of all links of education, including school and high school, becomes obvious.

As practice shows assimilation and assessment of competences are inseparable from concrete situations in which they are shown. Therefore, competences cannot be isolated from specific conditions of their realization. Present forms and methods of training and at school, in higher education institution not always allow to create similar conditions and situations. Forms of educational activity within ideology of «competence-based approach» can be in a conflict with the settled traditional forms of the educational process organization, especially at school. This contradiction will initiate search of new forms and methods of training, in many respects uniform for school and higher education institution and by that to promote rapprochement of these links of education.

Thus, competence-based approach reflects objective requirements in all stages of continuous education for attention strengthening to the personal and significant and demanded in practice training results as generally, and in the course of foreign-language students' training in the system of continuous education. Therefore this approach can play a considerable role in integration of the purposes, contents, educational process of higher education institution, to become an essential development factor of their continuity.



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  2. Kulibayeva, D.N. (2006). Metodolohicheskie osnovy upravleniia obrazovatelnoi sistemoi shkol mezhdunarodnoho tipa [Methodological bases of management of the educational system of schools of the international type]. Almaty: KazUMOiMYa [in Russian].
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  4. Gershunsky, B.S. (1998). Filosofiia obrazovaniia dlia XXI veka [Education philosophy for the 21st century]. Moscow: Sovershenstvo [in Russian].
  5. Dzhadrina, M.Zh. (2004). Nekotorye voprosy razvitiia shkolnoho obrazovaniia kak otkrytoi sistemy [Some issues of development of school education as open system]. Otkrytaia shkola – Open school, 2.
  6. Khutorskoy, A.V. (2003). Kliuchevye kompetentsii kak komponent lichnostno-orientirovannoi paradihmy obrazovaniia [Key competences as a component of the personal focused education paradigm]. Narodnoe obrazovanie – Public education, 2, 60, 61 [in Russian].
  7. Andreyev, A.L. (2005). Kompetentnostnaia paradihma v obrazovanii: opyt filosofsko-metodolohicheskoho analiza [Competence-based paradigm in education: experience of the philosophical and methodological analysis]. Pedahohika - Pedagogy, 4, 82 [in Russian].
Year: 2019
City: Karaganda
Category: Pedagogy