Third International Conference on the Teaching of Psychology
Elena Solovyeva,
University of Architecture and Civil Engineering,
St. Petersburg,


Representation of educational environment and its interpretation by students and instructors are important factors, which affect the teaching of psychology as well as any other discipline. In this work we discuss the results of the monitoring of students’ and instructors’ representation of the effective educational environment (EdE) in the university.

Educational environment is a complex of opportunities for the human development. The structure of the EdE includes three interdependent components: physical environment, human factor and educational programs. As a theoretical background of our research we used the conception of V. Yasvin. It states that the type of the EdE is determined by those conditions and possibilities of EdE, which favor the development of the human activity or passivity and human personal freedom or dependence. Four types of the EdE are usually marked out.

  • Dogmatic EdE with prevailing values of social interests.
  • Placid EdE with dominance of personal valuables over social ones.
  • Career oriented EdE or the environment of gloss and career students strive to reach as high as possible place in social hierarchy.
  • Creative EdE that favors the high development of the human by individual approach to education and breeding.

The goal of current research is to investigate the representations that students and instructors of university have about EdE for the purpose of EdE optimization. We used three instruments in our research: the Yasvin’s questionnaire to elicit a type of the EdE representation, a scale of self-appraisal of competence, comfort and satisfaction, and a scale of EdE’s preference. Our respondents were undergraduate students (250), doctoral students (30) and instructors (20) of different departments of the university.

The results are as follow.

All respondents see the creative environment of a great importance. . They consider that just this type of environment can provide the success for both the educational reform and their personal success. Nevertheless there are significant differences in respondents’ notions of the EdE. Thus the first year students prefer the creative or placid types of environment. The main feature of these types is the students’ freedom. Undergraduates of the further years of education consider the career-oriented EdE as more effective. The preferences of the instructors are almost equally split between creative and dogmatic environments.

As to evaluation of EdE of the university all respondents perceive it as a dependent and active one, i.e. refer it to carrier type. At the same time there are significant within group differences in the estimations of the levels of the considered parameters. Students give lower levels for the parameters "activity" and "freedom" than doctoral students and instructors. The majority of the students considers that the educational process is organized in such a way that they should conform to instructors whereas the instructors’ opinion is reverse. Doctoral students are in intermediate position in evaluating of both parameters: in estimation of "freedom" they are closer to students and in estimation of "activity" to lecturers.

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