02 SES 05 A, VET Teachers Continuing Education and Training
The UNESCO TVET Conference 2012 concluded, amongst other points, that “Countries must develop pathways to vocational education that provide young people with skills that are relevant to the labour market; and to make it more attractive for learners “. If this is to be achieved it is important that vocational teachers’ knowledge be renewed and developed so that what is taught is relevant and meets the requirements of the future.”
This paper addresses a collaborative action research between Practice Teachers, University and vocational student teachers undertaking a Postgraduate Certificate in Vocational Education at the University.
The research question being addressed in this paper is: “How can Practice Teachers, University teachers and students cooperate to ensure the quality of vocational pedagogy, for vocational student teachers, during their pedagogical practice?”
Our experience with student teachers in school practice shows limited focus on vocational pedagogy (didactics) in their teaching. More often the students have a general approach; with limited focus on the job the learners are interested in learning about. That the teaching in vocational studies has limited work relevance is a challenge in education in Norway. (Dahlback, Hansen Haaland & Sylte 2011). Vocational Teacher Education on the other hand has a primary focus on developing relevant teaching skills by strengthening the relationship between educational and professional content in the teaching programs.
In developing the students teachers’ vocational pedagogical competence the practice teacher has a central role. If the practice teacher does not see the need for an emphasis on vocational pedagogy, then vocational pedagogy is not available for the student teachers to access and learn from. A survey conducted by the Centre for Professional Studies at the University indicates that what new graduate professionals learn in the first period in the workplace plays a greater role than what they learn on campus for their mastery of the teaching profession (Smeby and Mausethagen, 2011). This indicates that schools offering pedagogical practice for student teachers have an important role other than just offering a placement as part of the students’ overall professional education.
Other studies conducted in Europe and further afield also indicate that the pedagogical competence of vocational teachers poses a central pre-condition for the education and training of future skilled workers (Schröder 2013). Other research on campus education and school practice also emphasises the need for closer cooperation between these too, (Zeichner 2010, Young 2004) and on the necessity to define the practice teacher’s role (White, Dickerson &Weston 2015). We see therefore a need for further research which can contribute internationally to practical and vocational learning.
Our paper will address what is distinctive about vocational pedagogy, what vocational student teachers are doing when they are learning well in practice, what methods work best and how Practice Teachers’ knowledge, expertise, and best practice can best be used effectively to teach the students and to lead research processes.
According to Hiim & Hippe (2001) practical and theoretical vocational knowledge is an insoluble whole (p. 91) and there is little advantage to seeing them separately. This is interesting with a view to our ideas on pedagogical practice, as an integrated part of the student’s professional development, and along with theories from Young (2004, 2007) and Billett (2011), and it can contribute to this study.
Reflective practice is an important tool in practice-based professional learning Schön (2001) Kolb (2012), and can contribute to show how student teachers can best develop their competence through reflection and experience. Theories by Lave & Wenger, (2003) can contribute to our understanding of how teachers work together and share practices, along with theories from Dreyfus and Dreyfus, (1986) on competence developmentment.
Billett, S. (2013) The standing of vocational education: sources of its societal esteem and implications for its enactment Journal of Vocational Education & Training Volume 66, Issue 1, 2014 Dahlback, J., Hansen, K., Haaland, G. & Sylte, A. L. (2011). Yrkesdidaktisk kunnskapsutvikling og implementering av nye læreplaner (KIP). Lillestrøm: Høgskolen i Akershus. Dreyfus, H. L. & Dreyfus, S. E. (1986) Mind over Machine. The Power of Human Intuition and Expertise in the Era of the Computer. Eraut, M. (2004). Transfer of Knowledge between Education and Workplace Settings. In Rainbird, H. A. Fuller & A. Munro (eds.) Workplace Learning in Context. London: Routledge. Hiim, H. (2013). Praksisbasert yrkesutdanning. Hvordan utvikle relevant yrkesutdanning for elever og arbeidsliv? Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk. Hiim, H. & Hippe, E. (2001): Å utdanne profesjonelle yrkesutøvere. Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag A/S. Kolb D. (1984). Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. London: Kogan Page. Lave, J. and Wenger, E. (1991) Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press Lindberg, V. (2003). Learning Practices in Vocational Education. Scandinavian Journal of Education Research, 47(2), 157-17 McNiff, J. (2002): Action Research Principles and Practice McNiff, J. & Whithead, J. (2009): Doing and Writing Action Research Nielsen, B.S. og Nielsen, K.A. (2010): Aksjonsforskning (s 97- 120) i Brinkmanna, S. & Tanggard, L. Kvalitative metoder en grundbog. Danmark: Hans Reitzels Forlag. Schwencke, E. (2006) Free space in action research and in project oriented traineeship. In K. A. Nielsen & L. Svensson (Eds.), Action and interactive research: beyond practice and theory: Shaker Publishing. Schon D. A. (1996). Educating the Reflective Practitioner: Towards a New Design for Teaching and Learning in the Professions. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Inc. Skjervheim, H. (2001) Deltakar og tilskodar. I 1940-2000 - Norsk tro og tanke ; Bd. 3. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. White, E., Dickerson, C., Weston, K., Developing an appreciation of what it means to be a school-based teacher educator. European Journal of Teacher Education 2015 Vol 38. No.4 (445-459) Young, M. (2004) Conceptualizing vocational knowledge. Some theoretical considerations. In H. Rainbird, A. Fuller & Monro(Eds), Workplace learning in context (pp. 186-200) London.Routledge Young, M. (2007) Qualifications Frameworks. Some conceptual issues. European Journal of Education, 42(4) 445-457 Zeichner, K.(2010) Rethinking connections Between Campus Courses and Field Experiences in College-and University-Based Teacher Education. Journal of Teacher Education 61, 81-2) 89-999
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