As Life Itself: Authentic Teaching and Evaluation of Professional Consulting Competencies in a Psychology Course

As Life Itself: Authentic Teaching and Evaluation of Professional Consulting Competencies in a Psychology Course

Esperanza Mejías (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain) and Carles Monereo (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0531-0.ch016
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The authors present an innovative practice of authentic evaluation of competences carried out in the “teaching and learning strategies” course of the psychology degree. The evaluation proposal central to this course is based on a real, relevant and socializing practice context in which students have to act as counsellors to respond to a high-school teacher's request: to improve a teaching sequence or unit. In order for this authentic project to work and generate a gradual construction of learning, course teachers used a series of evaluation strategies directed at the assessment of both the result and the learning process and aimed at facilitating students' learning self-regulation and teachers' provision of educational help. Results show that students value the processes of formative assessment because they allow them to act in an authentic context. In turn, teachers are highly satisfied with the involvement and quality of the projects.
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Authentic Teaching And Evaluation Processes In Higher Education

Before proceeding to describe the educational experience, it is necessary to know the theoretical assumptions that have guided our practice. First, we must define what we mean by learning-service project, since it is the backbone of the course. According to Puig (2007), “learning-service is an educational approach that combines learning and community service processes into a well-articulated project in which participants are trained by working on real needs of their surrounding environment with the aim of improving it”. Thanks to this exchange ―the collaboration between current and future professionals― students learn first-hand what it means to participate in the professional community. This means that learners will have to go beyond acquiring knowledge to practice their interaction, problem-solving, organizational and management, and communication abilities. In other words, they will have to learn how to act strategically if they want to be competent in facing professional problems.

The benefits of this methodology, learning while a service is performed ―in this case counselling teachers―, have been widely demonstrated in recent studies, mostly focused on the university level and in different disciplines (Martin & Puig, 2014; Mayor & Rodríguez, 2015, Ramón, Juárez, Martínez & Martin, 2015). Research results indicate an increase of knowledge, higher appreciation of community’s beliefs and values, increased interest due to a better understanding of both theoretical and practical aspects, and high involvement in the project’s development process and its subsequent implementation.

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