Professional development (PD) is one of the key factors determining the improvement of the quality and relevance of education. The availability of professionally trained teachers is important for the quality of higher education, but too many university teachers do not have sufficient pedagogical training, and systematic investment in continuous professional development of teachers remains the exception.
Professional development is widely recognized as a necessary condition for the competitiveness of individuals and organizations. This means that the lack of professional training of university teaching staff creates a significant risk for the quality of higher education.
This is due to a number of modern trends, such as the mass character of higher education, the spread of learner-centered approaches and the growing importance of digital technologies, as well as a shift in focus from “hard” (professional) to “soft” (flexible) skills. Soft skills help succeed in the workplace, and their importance cannot be ignored in the age of information and knowledge.
The assessment of the professional success of teaching staff depends on the ability to develop and apply “soft skills” – communication, leadership, reflection and self-analysis, proactivity etc. The data of international reports (OSCE, UNESCO) indicate that teaching staff of the Republic of Kazakhstan participate in PD activities only occasionally or non-systemically. Consequently, the expected positive results of PD are not achieved as a rule.
This contradiction between theoretical assumptions and actual reality supports the argument of this study. The experience of developed countries demonstrates that the informal leadership and internal (intrinsic) motivation lead to the most tangible results. Therefore, bottom-up (ascending) informal systems are the most effective, as opposed to the formal systems of the descending hierarchy adopted in the professional education system.
Project purpose: To identify barriers in the professional development of university teaching staff at their various career stages and develop an online platform (website) with a bottom-up model for eliminating “gaps” and “bottlenecks” in mastering “soft skills”.
1) International experience will be studied and a systematic review of the literature on the issues of professional development (pedagogical, innovative and research aspect) and the role of “soft skills” in the context of advanced training of university teaching staff will be carried out;
2) Barriers and “bottlenecks” that arise at various stages of a university teacher’s career will be identified and characterized;
3) the tools for assessing the individual trajectory of professional development will be proposed;
4) Strategies for the formation of “soft skills” in the process of professional development, and also methods for assessing their effectiveness taking into account international experience will be determined;
5) The online platform of bottom-up model for eliminating “gaps” and “bottlenecks” in the formation of “soft skills” will be developed;
6) Practical recommendations to eliminate obstacles to professional development and the formation of “soft skills”, and also a model for assessing the quality of professional development will be developed.