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PROJECT WORK, CONDITION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF EFFECTIVE COOPERATION BETWEEN THE FUTURE PROFESSIONALS




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Within the widely popular American pragmatic pedagogy already John Dewey and his follower W. Kilpatrick created the new “teaching technique” known as the method of projects [2, p. 408]. The project used in the training of the students facilitated their development of social sensitivity, assuming different roles, practicing skills, interaction and collaboration. The participants get accustomed to assume themselves as part of this reality, and not as isolated specialists, relying only on their own efforts [1, p. 176]. Working on a project in the learning process of students is a challenge. It provided experiences and information to be processed. The project develops in the students, future professionals, the sense of belonging to a community, of self-realization, supplements the dynamics of their personal growth [1, pp. 177-178].

The specifics of the project work justify it to be actively involved in the training of students from different disciplines whose future professional competencies would be related to solving significant social problems. Namely project work in a training and practical situation allows the various future professionals to acquire skills of cooperation, partnership and support being a part of multidisciplinary team based work subjecting their individual interests for the sake of the realization of a common goal.

These specific features of the project work justified to be proposed the idea to students majoring in Medical Rehabilitation and Ergotherapy and Social Activities in their training courses in Occupational therapy in Geriatrics and Social Pedagogy to develop a joint project related to issues of social inclusion of adults and elderly people.

A joint project Take my Hand was worked out as its main objective was promoting social importance of adults and elderly people through their active involvement in entertaining occupational therapy in everyday life.

Three groups of activities with deadlines and responsible students were structured in the action plan.

The first group of activities related to studying the attitudes for the implementation of the objective was focused on investigating and analyzing the interests and needs of the adults and elderly to be involved in favorite and significant activities of daily life. Fifty-three persons were surveyed on voluntary principle, users of the social service in two institutions for adults and elderly in the district of Pleven, Bulgaria. After the survey data were processed and a plan for joint activities with the students was developed.

The second group of activities — main activities with participants in the target group comprised the following experiences: “My Hobby” — working with textile, natural and other materials for making knitwear, souvenirs and models; “We Celebrate Together” — making souvenirs and greeting cards; “I Love Cooking” — organizing culinary exhibition; “My Flower Garden” — planting and caring for flowers.

With the third group of activities “Presentation and Reporting of the Project Results” — within the carried out investigation the  students involved in the project participated with a scientific paper and presentation in Jubilee Conference for Students and Instructors on the topic Prevention and Rehabilitation for Life Quality Improvement organized by the Medical College — Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. The presentation was related to Social Aspects of Entertainment Occupational Therapy for Elderly People — Need and Opportunity. The project results were made public among students from different disciplines in Medical University — Pleven, Bulgaria.

A survey was carried out with the students participating in the project with the purpose of “Establishing the effectiveness of cooperation between students majoring in different disciplines in a multidisciplinary team using the opportunities for project work in the course of their training.” A total of 38 students were interviewed, participating in the project – 4th year in Medical Rehabilitation and Ergotherapy (19 students) and 2nd year in Social Activities (19 students) in the Medical University — Pleven, Bulgaria. Participation in the survey was voluntary, after completion of the project. The survey was standardized including three main groups of criteria: joint activity in the task implementation, level of activity and level of partnership. Three indicators were defined for each group of criteria. The results for each indicator are summarized as a percentage ratio of the number of provided answers to the number of participants from each major, as well as for the total number of the project participants. The assessments were determined by five point scale: 2 – “not observed”, 3 – “satisfactory”, 4 – “good”, 5 – “very good”, 6 – “excellent”.

The results by criterion „joint activity in the task implementation are presented in Table 1 for each of its indicators.

Table 1.

Joint activity in the task implementation

  clear objectives striving to achieve the objectives taking joint decisions
Specialty Medical Rehabilitation and Ergotherapy 2 — 0%

3 — 0%

4 – 10,53%

5 – 36,84%

6 – 52,63%

2 – 0%

3 – 11,11%

4 – 10,53%

5 – 42,10%

6 – 42,10%

2 – 0%

3 – 11,11%

4 – 11,11%

5 – 52,63%

6 – 36,84%

 Specialty Social Activities 2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 11,11%

5 – 47,37%

6 – 47,37%

2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 10,53%

5 – 47,37%

6 – 42,10%

2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 10,53%

5 – 52,68%

6 – 36,84%

Overall assessment of students from both specialties 2 — 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 7,84%

5 — 42,10%

6 – 50,00%

2 – 0%

3 – 2,63%

4 – 10,53%

5 – 44,74%

6 – 42,10%

2 – 0%

3 – 2,63%

4 – 7,84%

5 – 52,63%

6 – 36,84%

 

The students from both programmes did not point for any indicator the score “not observed”. The students in Medical Rehabilitation and Ergotherapy, were a little bit more critical, who although low (11.11%) rated as “satisfactory” the indicators “striving to achieve the objectives” and “taking joint decisions”. The other results from the assessments of the students from both programmes were approximately equal. The total values revealed that the indicator “clear objectives” had the highest “excellent” rating (50.00%), followed by the indicator “striving to achieve the objectives” (42.10%) and “the indicator “taking joint decisions” (36.84%). The “very good” rating had approximately the same values as only for the indicator “taking joint decisions” it was the highest (52.63%).

The results justified the assumption that the project objectives were clear, specifically focused to the interests of the future specialists and related to resolving current socially relevant problems. The higher results indicated the aim of the team working on the project to achieve the specified objectives. However, students are critical to any colleagues who do not show enough commitment. Most of the team members actively participated in the decision taking. They approved the way of decision-making, which in this case stimulated discussion and sharing of ideas between them.

The results of the survey for the criterion “level of activity” per indicators are shown in Table 2.

The assessments of the surveyed students revealed the same tendency for this criterion. For example, none of the indicators were rated as “not observed” and “satisfactory”. Again and the other assessments of the students in both programmes were almost equal. The highest “excellent” rates were given for the indicator “support” (55.26%), followed by the indicator “commitment to work” (50.00%) and “acceptance of different viewpoints” (44.74 %). The values for all three indicators as “good” were low. The rates as “very good” were almost equal, as the higher rating was for the indicator “acceptance of different viewpoints” (44.74%).

 

Table 2.

Level of activity

  support acceptance of different viewpoints commitment to work
Specialty Medical Rehabilitation and Ergotherapy 2 — 0%

3 — 0%

4 – 10,53%

5 – 31,58%

6 – 57,89%

2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 10,53%

5 – 47,37%

6 – 42,10%

2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 10,53%

5 – 36,84%

6 – 52,63%

 

Specialty Social Activities

2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 11,11%

5 – 42,10%

6 – 52,63%

2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 10,53%

5 – 42,10%

6 – 47,37%

2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 10,53%

5 – 42,10%

6 – 47,37%

Overall assessment of students from both specialties 2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 7,89%

5 – 36,84%

6 – 55,26%

2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 10,53%

5 – 44,74%

6 – 44,74%

2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 10,53%

5 – 39,47%

6 – 50,00%

The students — respondents rated highly the support they had provided and received by their peers during the implementation of the activities. The project participants were able to listen to the other team members. Different viewpoints were disputed in an open discussion and the joint decision was taken. The students exhibited high activity and commitment to the implementation of the project activities. It was also important to be noted that the team members were critical and strict to the implementation of the commitments of each of its members.

The results of the survey for the criterion “level of partnership” per indicators are presented in Table 3.

The tendency from the previous criterion was kept for this one too as there were not pointed ratings “not observed” and “satisfactory”. The students from both programmes were a little bit more self-critical for the indicator “self-assessment for the work on the project”. For this indicator in the overall assessment for “very good” and “excellent” they gave the same values (44.74%). For the other two indicators of the criterion (“assessment of collaboration with colleagues from the speciality” and “assessment of collaboration with partners”) the values were the same both in the ratings per majors and in the overall rates. For example, in the overall rate the values were as followed: “good” — 7.89%, “very good” — 39.47%, and the highest “excellent” — 52.63%.

Table 3.

Level of partnership

  self-assessment for the work on the project assessment of collaboration with colleagues from the speciality assessment of collaboration with partners
Specialty Medical Rehabilitation and Ergotherapy 2 — 0%

3 — 0%

4 – 10,53%

5 – 47,37%

6 – 42,10%

2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 10,53%

5 – 36,84%

6 – 52,63%

2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 10,53%

5 – 36,84%

6 – 52,63%

 

Specialty Social Activities

2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 10,53%

5 – 42,10%

6 – 47,37%

2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 11,11%

5 – 42,10%

6 – 52,63%

2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 11,11%

5 – 42,10%

6 – 52,63%

Overall assessment of students from both specialties 2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 10,53%

5 – 44,74%

6 – 44,74%

2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 – 7,89%

5 – 39,47%

6 – 52,63%

2 – 0%

3 – 0%

4 — 7,89%

5 — 39,47%

6 – 52,63%

Despite the high rates of the assessments for this criterion the students had critical attitude to their self-assessment for their work on the project. They greatly appreciated their collaboration with colleagues both from their speciality and with the colleagues from other speciality. This joint work was defined as a condition for building cooperation and support, as a condition for acquiring and developing professional skills and competencies to work in a multidisciplinary team.

In conclusion, it could be stated that the project work in the training of students is a prerequisite for the formation and development of professional skills in the future specialists. The project participants assumed the implementation of the planned activities as a challenge, as an opportunity to put into practice the theoretical knowledge. Students realize their ideas in a supportive and safe environment, they learn how to make decisions and take responsibility. So they develop their professional competencies for collaboration and cooperation with other professionals in a multidisciplinary team.

Literature:

  1. Valchev, R. Interactive methods and group work in civic education. Center «Open Education», Sofia, 2004. – 176, 177-178 pp. [In Bulgarian].
  2. Desev, L. Dictionary of Psychology. Ed. «Bulgarika» Sofia, 2003. – 408 p. [In Bulgarian].
    PROJECT WORK, CONDITION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF EFFECTIVE COOPERATION BETWEEN THE FUTURE PROFESSIONALS
    Written by: Petkova Iskra Tsankova, Vacheva Danelina Emilova
    Published by: БАСАРАНОВИЧ ЕКАТЕРИНА
    Date Published: 05/09/2017
    Edition: ЕВРАЗИЙСКИЙ СОЮЗ УЧЕНЫХ_ 28.02.2015_02(11)
    Available in: Ebook