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Improving teaching capacity of teachers of social sciences and humanities in military schools

In order to enhance the quality of education and training in the military schools, one of the important solutions is improving the quality of the contingent of teachers of social sciences and humanities who directly equip learners with knowledge and help them have political will, beliefs, motives and determination. Within the scope of the article, the issue on improving teaching capacity of this staff will be discussed.

Teaching capacity is a kind of specialized capacity that sums up elements that are organically related to each other, including: knowledge, skills - techniques, personalities, methods, behaviors and qualities to form their capability and internal conditions, ensuring high quality of the teaching activities. This issue can be generally divided into three main groups: teaching ability (designing lessons, organizing and managing teaching-learning activities and group work), educating ability and self-improvement ability.

In addition to the common qualities, the teaching capacity of social sciences and humanities teachers at the military schools is subject to specific military activities. The process of education and training is the process of preparing personnel for military operations. It is not just a matter of equipping learners with only knowledge but also practical experiences of leadership, command, combat readiness, combat support and combat, etc. This requires teachers of social sciences and humanities to first of all have the qualities of a revolutionary soldier, especially political will, professional ethics, discipline, etc. Besides, this contingent is required to have the capacity of leadership, management and command as well as military experiences. Thus, in order to enhance teaching capacity of the teachers of social sciences and humanities in the military schools, in addition to improving specialized knowledge and pedagogical ability, it is necessary to pay attention to cultivating political awareness, professional ethics, senses and responsibility, and teaching styles for teachers.

Over the past years, the military schools have regularly attached importance to the leadership and direction for improving the quality of the contingent of teachers of military social sciences and humanities in order to meet the requirements of fundamental and comprehensive reform of education and training. However, compared with the objectives and demands, the teaching capacity of a number of teachers is still limited, for instance: not having sufficient knowledge, lacking flexibility and creativity in organizing the implementation of practical activities, etc. Therefore, the military schools are required to continue synchronously implementing the policies and solutions for improving the teaching capacity of this contingent. In our viewpoint, the following points should be made.

First, strengthening the leadership and direction for enhancing teaching capacity of the teachers of social sciences and humanities. Annually, the military schools’ Party committees and Boards, the faculties’ Party committees and heads must consider this task as the key focus which must be defined in the leading resolution at their own level with appropriate and suitable guidelines and measures. The work of propagation and education needs to be promoted to make every organization, force and teaching staff of social sciences and humanities firmly grasp the views, guidelines, methods of educating, training, and building teaching staff by the Party, State and Army, especially be profoundly aware of the position and importance of cultivating generations of qualified teachers who are capable of well fulfilling the tasks of education, training and scientific research in the new situation. Accordingly, the sense of responsibility in carrying out activities to improve teaching capacity should be heightened. At the same time, it is required to concentrate on building firm political ideological standpoint, sense of discipline, teaching ethics and sense of responsibility for commanding officers and teachers to ensure that they are truly exemplary teachers, commanders and comrades, deserving the title of “Uncle Ho’s Soldiers” for learners to follow.

Second, fostering professional skills for teachers. The current situation shows that despite many renovations towards active teaching methods, there have been a lot of teachers spending too much time on talking during lectures. In addition, teachers’ skills of using teaching aids have not met the requirements. The application of information technology in teaching has been still limited. All these things have lessened the positive effects of learners. In addition, the contingent of teachers is annually supplemented from various sources, so their professional level and teaching capacity are unequal, even some of them have not been trained or cultivated in terms of pedagogy. Therefore, the military schools must attach great importance to the professional training for this teaching staff. The training courses should focus on: exploiting materials and making lesson plans, giving lectures, conveying knowledge, getting feedback from learners, preparing and organizing seminars, and carrying out scientific research, etc. Grounded on the specific situation, the military schools need to organize training courses on pedagogical skills, teaching skills, application of modern teaching methods and so on to improve teaching staff’s capacity. Meanwhile, foreign language and information technology courses should be held. The teachers having not satisfied the standard should be dispatched to get training at pedagogical schools inside and outside the army. The schools also need to regularly organize class observations and good teacher contests at all levels, provide information related to economics, politics, sociology, national defense and security so that teachers can update and make their lectures both rich and deep.

Third, providing positive and healthy pedagogical culture environment, creating favorable conditions for the process of enhancing teaching capacity of the teachers of social sciences and humanities.

In reality, a good military pedagogical culture environment would encourage teachers to study, acquire knowledge, improve pedagogical skills and techniques, mature in all aspects, meeting the requirements of education, training and scientific research. In the meantime, it directly contributes to the standardization of social relations of the teachers, and to the building of the discipline sense and unity spirit. Therefore, the military schools should pay attention to creating healthy pedagogical culture environment, with a focus on building pedagogical cultural relationships, especially between teachers and learners, and between managerial cadres and learners. These relationships must be built on the basis of state law, military rules and regulations, and education and training regulations. However, they must also be very flexible, creating the atmosphere of democracy, solidarity, discipline and creativity. Thereby, favorable conditions will be created for every teacher to develop their creative capacity. Nowadays, due to the negative impacts of the market economy, there have been adverse manifestations in the military schools that overshadow the great human values and exemplary image of the teachers. Therefore, it is necessary to resolutely eliminate negative phenomena, build a system of pedagogical norms, promote emulation movements, the campaign “Promoting tradition, devoting talent, deserving to be Uncle Ho’s soldiers” and the movement “Say no to negative phenomena”, creating a healthy environment for officers and teachers to improve themselves.

Fourth, bringing into full play the activeness, proactiveness, self-consciousness in self-improvement to enhance teaching capacity of the teachers of social sciences and humanities.

The education and training process only gains effectiveness when being transformed into a self-training process. Hence, in order to enhance teaching capacity, one of the important requirements is that every teacher must develop their own self-training plan. The plan must be specific, practical and feasible, including objectives, contents, methods, materials and time limit, etc. This job is hard and vulnerable to external influences. Therefore, in addition to defining the right purpose and motivation, every teacher needs to have strong determination and will to overcome obstacles in order to get achievements in self-learning. Each teacher also must exercise their own diligence, patience and persistence as well as learn from books, learn from colleagues, and learn from practical experiences. On the other hand, Party organizations, heads of faculties and departments, and functional agencies should create favorable conditions as well as regularly check, help, and encourage the contingent of teachers in their self-training process.

Fifth, promoting combined strength to increase teaching capacity of the teachers of military social sciences and humanities.

Each agency has its own function; however, every of them must focus on performing the central political task of education, training, and teaching staff building. Therefore, promoting the role and responsibility of the agencies is very important to developing teaching staff in general and to improving teaching capacity in particular. First of all, it is necessary to raise awareness of the role, position, and situation of teaching capacity of military social sciences and humanities teachers for the agencies to advise leaders and commanders of the military schools on practical and effective guidelines and measures. At the same time, the agencies need to cooperate with each other in ensuring the policies, facilities, equipment, documents, information technology, etc. For the units for learner management which directly receive the knowledge from teachers and test the qualifications, capacity, methods and behavior of the teachers, it is important to develop and implement the plan for giving comments on the teaching staff. It is a crucial channel to consider and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the teachers, helping leaders at all levels determine proper leadership contents and measures, and helping teachers clearly recognize their strengths and weaknesses so that they can gradually improve themselves.

The aforementioned solutions are very basic for the educational institutions in the army to consider and apply appropriately. This will contribute to improving teaching capacity of the teachers of military social sciences and humanities, meeting the objectives and requirements of fundamental and comprehensive reform of education and training, and making military schools regular, standardized and modern.

Lt Col, M.A. Le Thanh Phong, Academy of Air Force - Air Defense Force

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