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Bunăiaşu, C.M. & Călin, R.A. (2010). Mass-media’s influence on developing the
professional competences and attitudes regarding the didactic career; study of impact,
susţinut la Conferinţa Internaţională „Mass-media and Education”, Buşteni, 05-
06.03.2010 şi publicat în Buletinul Universităţii Petrol - Gaze din Ploieşti, Vol. LXII,
Nr. 1A/2010, pp. 162-172 (ISSN: 1841-6586)

Mass-media’s influence on developing the professional


competences and attitudes regarding the didactic
career; study of impact
Claudiu Marian Bunăiaşu*, Răzvan Călin**
*
University of Craiova, The Department for Teachers Training, A.I. Cuza street, number 13, Craiova city
E-mail Address: claudiu_bunaiasu@yahoo.com
**
University of Craiova, The Department for Teachers Training, A.I. Cuza street, number 13, Craiova
city
E-mail Address: cra_psi@yahoo.com

Abstract
Assuming the existence of a tense report between mass-media’s mostly mercantile logic and the necessity
of its educational function’s assertion, and also assuming the special attention that has been lately given
to the mass-media and educational process relationship (in theoretical studies and empirical researches),
I have considered to be appropriate an investigative study in the University education’s field, too, which
is less approached from this perspective. In this context, the analysis of the mass-media means’ impact on
the future trainers from the educational process it is considered to be a launching pad for some projects,
in order to improve the relationship between mass-media and the formal and informal educational
institutions. The study The mass-media means’ influence on the professional competences and attitudes’
development as far as the didactic career is concerned is based on an ascertained micro-research’s
treatment of results, research which is completed by proposing some methodological directions and
options, in order to facilitate the emphasis of the professional culture’s extension functions and to offer
some models of professional competence and deontology in the didactic career’s field.
Key words: formal education - mass-media relation, competences in media, mass-media’s functions,
cognitive and ethical models.

1. Preliminaries
Harmonizing the relations between education and mass-media, in the sense of highlighting the
mass-media’s educational valences and conjugating the actions of the formal education and
mass-media, represents a current issue, which is being analyzed by many institutional factors
(the educational system, media, cultural institutions, non-government organizations).
In the current stage of this process, the overall finding is that some curricular solutions have
been registered, by introducing optional disciplines, specific didactic activities as part of the
Advice and orientation curricular area, extra-curricular activities in a partnership context, which
are focused on developing competences in order to select information, to use the informational
system, to evaluate the messages. These forms of materializing the educational strategies, which
are centred on capitalizing the school – mass-media relation, will not represent optimal
solutions, if the media institutions do not develop a promotion policy of the socio-cultural
values, of the conduct and professional competence models, beside the subjects which are
suitable for the economic logic (which is not controlled by a value judgement and promotes, in
many cases, the non-values).
In this problem context, the space of educational research is responsible for studying the mass-
media impact on the educated ones and trainers, for testing and validating some educational
projects and programs, in order to facilitate the development of the pupils’ media competences,
and also some programs of the didactic staff’s professional development, in order to empower it
in a curricular way. The curricular project Media – a quality education, which has been initiated
and coordinated by The Ministry of Education and Research and funded by UNICEF Romania,
and the paper work Informal education and mass-media, which was realized as part of the
research program of the Institute of Education’s Sciences in 2004, represent the pedagogic
research’s products, having the status of theoretical, methodological and praxiological
landmarks as part of the problem area. These have been capitalized as research premises in our
study, too.
Starting from these premises, we have considered that a study of impact concerning the mass-
media’s influence on developing the professional competences and attitudes for the didactic
career is appropriate, feasible, current and foresees the possibility of outlining some
methodological directions regarding the achievement of the mass-media’s functions in the initial
training’s process. In this respect, we made ourselves responsible for an investigative approach,
during the first semester of the university year 2009-2010. This approach resembles the
character of an ascertaining micro-research, as far as the purposefulness is concerned, which
makes use of the heterogeneous methodology’s design, by combining the quantitative and
qualitative methods.
The purpose of the micro-research is to emphasize a platform of psychological resources
(perceptions, representations, opinions, psycho-pedagogical beliefs), in order to support some
later experimental studies, which are more important.

2. The pedagogical research’s process


2.1. The research’s purposes
The purposes which are specific to the investigative approach, detail the research’s purpose,
by guiding the methodology’s elaboration and practice:
1. Testing the perceptions and representations of students, university didactic staff and
journalists, regarding the mass-media means’ influence on the process which develops the
professional competences and which shapes an ethical code, both of them being specific to
the didactic career.
2. Studying the methodological conception of the subjects’ ranges, which refers to the formal
education – mass-media relation’s optimization, in order to structure and crystallize the
professional competences and attitudes for the didactic career.
3. Selecting some methodological strategies and directions, which are indicated by subjects,
as possible themes for later experimental researches
2.2. The research’s hypothesis
2.2.1. The general hypothesis
If the curricular process of initial training for the didactic career also aims a series of
purposes regarding the students’ media competences, the mass-media’s functions will
then be emphasized, functions which expand the professional culture and which offer
some models of professional competence and ethic.
2.2.2. Particular hypothesis
1. A structured image is possible to be shaped, regarding the mass-media means’ impact on
developing the professional competences and attitudes for the didactic career, if the study of
the subjects’ perceptions, representations and opinions will be compared with the ranges of
media competences
2. If the subjects are aware of the harmonious and disjunctive relations between the formal
education and mass-media, methodological strategies and directions will then be identified,
in order to optimize the relations between these factors.
2.3. The research’s methodology
2.3.1. The sample of subjects
The micro-research’s sample includes 180 subjects and it is structured on the following
categories:
- 120 students, who attend the psycho-pedagogical training module as part of The Department
for the Didactic Staff’s Training from the University of Craiova, and who were distributed
in two ranges: 60 students as part of the 1 st level and 60 students belonging to the 2 nd one.
The students were selected from the Faculties of Theology, Letters, Socio-human Sciences,
Mechanics, Mathematics, Physic Education and Sport;
- 40 university teachers, as part of the University of Craiova, of which: 10 Pedagogy and
Psychology teachers, 10 teachers who teach disciplines from the field of communication
and public relations and 20 teachers of other specializations;
- 20 representatives of the regional and local mass-media.
2.3.2. Methods and instruments of investigation
The questionnaire method represents the main investigation tool that we made used of during
the research’s data accumulation. We have applied the same questionnaire to students, as well as
to didactic staff (see the annex), because we wanted to capitalize a compared analysis of the
perceptions and opinions of the two categories of subjects, and a more detalied analysis, as part
of the same category (between the students belonging to different faculties, between students
attending the 1st and the 2nd level, between didactic staff of different specialities).
The focus groups were applied in order to accumulate detailed information, which was
structured on categories of items that can be found in the questionnaires, and thus completing
the data achieved while applying the questionnaires. In this regard, three groups were formed
and four focus-groups meetings were organized, as it follows: one meeting for each and every
category of subjects (students, didactic staff, journalists), so that the next thing to do was to
form a heterogeneous group.
The individual interview was applied to some experts in education, communication and media,
in order to accumulate some value-added data, and thus completing the one provided by
questionnaires and focus-groups. In this manner, the purpose of the triangulation guided the
methodological approach in this research stage.

3. The final results of the investigative approach


 The amount of time conferred to mass-media consumption varies in accordance with the
media means, without registering significant differences between the two categories of subjects:
70% of students and 68, 33% of teachers specify that they allocate 3-4 hours on average per day.
 Concerning the items which aim subjects’ preferences and options regarding the mass-
media’s use based on categories of activities (which were disclosed by cumulating the answers
that are specific to the intensity points „very much” and „much” from the items 1-6), we have
noticed some significant differences between the categories of subjects, which can be explained
with the help of pedagogical, psychological and curricular factors.
Students make use of the media sources especially in order to satisfy some hobbies (63,33%)
and to fill their leisure time (68,33), whereas most of the didactic staff’s answers mention the
increase of their professional culture (73,33%), as the main purpose of a documentation through
the media sources. The difference between the documentation’s main purpose and these
categories of sources can be related to the high level of the professionalization’s awareness and
the professional ethos, regarding the didactic staff and the concerns that are specific to its
psychological age.
It is remarkable that the subjects have indicated in a small extent the variables - the
capitalization of the models of civic conduct (12,5% of students and 11,66% of teachers) and the
capitalization of the cognitive and ethical models (14,16% of students and 12,22% of teachers).
The arguments for the low intensity level of the options concerning the mass-media’s
axiological function have been formulated as part of the focus-groups and refer to mass-media’s
mostly mercantile logic. As far as the subjects’ point of view is regarded, this logic represents
the main factor which decelerates the accomplishment of the mass-media’s educational
function; the journalists’ representatives who took part in the sample do not accede to this point
of view.
Although the internet represents the top option for both categories of subjects, as the leading
source of information in order to increase the culture in the field of curricular and psycho-
pedagogical specialization, students use it more often (67,50% for the curricular specialization
and 72,5% for the psycho-pedagogical field) than does the didactic staff (55 % for the curricular
specialization and 61,66% for the psycho-pedagogical training). The fact which explains the use
of this source by students more often is related to the didactic staff’s possibility to provide other
similar resources, which are scientifically more valuable (books, specialty magazines, foreign
publications).
 The opinions’ quantification concerning the relation between the categories of media
competences and professional competences can be reproduced through the following graphics
(numerical values, on a scale from 1 to 5, represent the arithmetical averages, which are
calculated as part of each sub-sample):
Fig.1. The frequency polygon of the didactic staff’s opinions, concerning the relation between media
competences and professional competences for the didactic career

Fig. 2. The frequency polygon of the students’ opinions, regarding the relation between media
competences and professional competences for the didactic career
The results’ processing emphasizes the idea that teachers relate the media, cognitive, actional
and methodological competences, especially in the field of didactic profession. Students
especially capitalize the relation media competences-cognitive competences, the methodological
ones lying at a lower assessment level. We can explain this difference through the didactic
staff’s richer professional experience.
As far as the professional ethic and ethos are regarded, they are not significantly related to the
media competences; this fact emphasizes the subjects’ perception regarding the poor
accomplishment of the axiological function by mass-media.
 The answers from items 17-20, correlated to those achieved as part of the focus-groups,
correspond to the research’s third purpose and disclose the following methodological
options of the subjects; these methodological options can constitute themes of some future
pedagogical researches:
- exchanges of professional experience between members of the academic community
and mass-media representatives;
- applicative activities with different themes, in order to capitalize the cognitive
experience, which had been achieved through the media sources;
- acquiring media competences, by profoundly studying the theme Educational
Communication, as part of the Pedagogy discipline.

4. Conclusions
The research’s results emphasize a structured image concerning the impact of mass-media
means on developing the professional competences and attitudes for the didactic career, and
propose methodological strategies and directions in order to optimize the relations between the
formal education and mass-media, as a consequence of becoming aware of the harmonious and
disjunctive relations between these factors.
As far as the research’s general hypothesis is concerned, we appreciate that it has been partially
confirmed by the impact study. In order to absolutely confirm, we propose ourselves to
undertake an experimental research, whereby to test educational strategies and programs of
development of the media competences, which should influence the development of some
professional competences and attitudes for the didactic career.

References
1. B u n e s c u , G . , N e g r e a n u , E . - Educaţia informală şi mass-media, Institutul de Ştiinţe
ale Educaţiei, Laboratorul Teoria Educaţiei, Bucureşti, 2005.
2. B u z ă r n e s c u , Ş . - Sociologia opiniei publice, Editura Didactică şi Pedagogică, Bucureşti,
2003.
3. C h e l c e a , S . - Metodologia cercetării sociologice. Metode cantitative şi calitative, Editura
Economică, Bucureşti.
4. C u c u , G . - Mass-media şi influenţele asupra educaţiei, Editura Tempus, Bucureşti, 2002.
5. L a B o r d e r i e , R . - L’ Éducation à l’image aux médias, Nathan/ Pédagogie, 1997.
6. M i n i s t e r u l E d u c a ţ i e i ş i C e r c e t ă r i i - Media – o educaţie de calitate. Repere
metodologice, Bucureşti, 2005.
7. Ş o i t u , L . - Pedagogia comunicării, Editura Institutul European, Iaşi, 2001.

Annex
Questionnaire for didactic staff and students
Items which aim the preferences in accordance with the communication medias :
1. What is your daily time allowed to use the media sources?
2. To what degree do you make use of the mass-media means in order to accomplish the
following purposes?
Purposes Very Much Medium Little Very At all
much little
Increasing the general knowledge
Increasing the professional knowledge
Identifying and capitalizing some civic
conduct models
Identifying and capitalizing some cognitive
and professional ethic models
Satisfying some hobbies
For leisure time and relaxation
3. To what extent do you make use of each mass-media mean in order to increase the culture
from curricular specialization’s field?
Purposes Very Much Medium Little Very At all
much little
Written press
Television
Radio
Internet
4. For those media means that you favourably opted for (by indicating the “very much” and
“much” intensity points), specify what type of magazines, broadcasts, telecasts or sites you use.
5. To what degree do you make use of each mass-media mean as far as the increase of psycho-
pedagogical culture is concerned? The item does not address itself to teachers who teach
psycho-pedagogical disciplines.
Purposes Very Much Medium Little Very At all
much little
Written press
Television
Radio
Internet
6. For those media means that you favourably opted for, specify what kind of magazines,
broadcasts, telecasts or sites you use.
Items which aim perceptions and opinions regarding the formal education – mass-media
relation:
7. How do you appreciate the relation between the values that are promoted by
school/university and mass-media? It is a relation of:
 Total accordance
 Partial accordance
 Disharmony
8. Specify the factors or conditions which maintain the relation that you indicated.
9. On a scale from 1 to 5 (1- the highest grade), confer a value, in order to quantify the extent
of how mass-media accomplishes its educational function.
10. By using the same value scale, quantify the extent of how the educational system
involves itself in improving/optimizing the formal education - mass-media relation.
Items which aim assessments concerning the relation between mass-media and the
initial training process for the didactic career:
11. Do you use the media means as far as the didactic activities are regarded?
 Very often
 Often
 Sometimes
 Never
12. If you indicated the first two answers, specify for what kind of didactic activities you
mostly use the media sources.
13. How do you appreciate the importance of pupils being trained in order to select, use and
interpret the mass-media’s messages?
 Very important
 Important
 Sort of important
 Less important
 Not important
14. How do you appreciate the importance of future teachers acquiring media competences?
 Very important
 Important
 Sort of important
 Less important
 Not important
15. Specify some types of activities for the students attending the psycho-pedagogical module in
order to achieve each of the following media competences:
- identifying and discriminating diverse informational sources:
- using informational sources:
- creating and structuring informational systems:
- ensuring the quality of information:
- the social responsibility of information:
16. To what extent do you appreciate the fact that each of the media competences influences the
development of the professional competences and attitudes for the didactic career ?
Media competences Cogni- Actional and Manage- Psycho- Profe- Profe-
tive methodolo- rial social ssional ssional
compe- gical compe- compe- ethic ethos
tences competences tences tences

Identifying and
discriminating diverse
informational sources
Using informational
sources
Creating and
structuring
informational systems
Ensuring the quality of
information:
The social
responsibility of
information
17. How do you appreciate the relation between the pedagogical values and models promoted
by media, and the professional attitudes, values and models described by the psycho-
pedagogical literature?
 Relation of harmony
 Relation with few interferences
 Relation of disjunction
18. Argument and exemplify for the answer indicated to the previous item.
19. How do you appreciate each of the following modalities that were applied as part of the
psycho-pedagogical training program, regarding the improvement/optimization of the university
education – mass-media relation?
Modalities Very Much Medium Little Very At all
much little
Scientific manifestations, in partnership
with mass-media representatives
Exchange of professional experience
between the members of the academic
community and journalists
Thematic activities, which capitalize the
cognitive experience that has been
acquired through media sources
Achieving media competences, by
profoundly studying the theme
Educational Communication, as part of
the Pedagogy discipline
Studying an optional discipline on this
theme, as part of the psycho-pedagogical
module
20. Mention other modalities and activities similar to those from the previous item.

Influenţa mijloacelor mass-media asupra dezvoltării


competenţelor şi atitudinilor profesionale pentru cariera didactică;
studiu de impact

Rezumat
Pornind de la presupoziţia existenţei unui raport tensionat între logica preponderent comercială a mass-
mediei şi necesitatea afirmării funcţiei educative a acesteia şi de la constatarea unei atenţii deosebite în
ultimul timp a relaţiei dintre mass-media şi procesul educaţional (în studii teoretice şi cercetări empirice)
am considerat oportun un studiu investigativ şi în câmpul educaţiei universitare, mai puţin explorat din
această perspectivă. În acest context, analiza impactului mijloacelor mass-media asupra viitorilor
formatori din procesul educaţional considerăm că reprezintă o platformă de lansare a unor proiecte, care
să amelioreze relaţia dintre mass-media şi instituţiile educative de tip formal şi nonformal.Studiul
Influenţa mijloacelor mass-media asupra dezvoltării competenţelor şi atitudinilor profesionale pentru
cariera didactică este axat pe prezentarea, prelucrarea şi interpretarea rezultatelor unei microcercetări
de tip constatativ, finalizată cu avansarea unor direcţii şi opţiuni metodologice, care să faciliteze
accentuarea funcţiilor de extindere a culturii profesionale şi de oferire a unor modele de competenţă şi
deontologie profesională în domeniul carierei didactice.