02 SES 10 B, VET and Higher Education
The content of Vocational education and training (VET) in Norway is under continual debate (Dahlback, Hansen, Haaland & Sylte 2011, Hiim 2013, 2015, Smedby 2015, Hansen, Hoel & Haaland 2015).
The dropout rate amongst those who begin in VET is high. The main challenge being that the education has limited relevance. Dominant in VET programs is a lack of occupational embedment in both the practical and the theoretical content. This implies that the educational content is too general, and not sufficiently specific enough to meet the requirements the industries have for qualified personnel. A lack of professional relevance is also evident in the educational programs for vocational student teachers. We also see evidence of corresponding issues in the international context (OECD 2012, Billett 2011, 2013, Schøn 1996). Students undertaking the Master in Vocational pedagogy at HiOA want to cooperate in making educational VET programs more relevant and meaningful.
This research is part of larger project “Relevant curriculum development in vocational education and training (VET)”. In this paper, I am addressing use of the research method of Future-Creating Workshop as an element in Action Research.
Research question and objectives:
How can implementation of a Future-Creating Workshop contribute to enhancing practitioner research in vocational teacher education?
The first objective is to develop our knowledge about how the students on The Master program might develop relevant content in VET through collaboration with working life. The second objective is to develop our knowledge about how we as university teachers can contribute to the students learning and developing relevant content in VET. The objectives are closely interrelated
Relevant content in VET
The Master program for vocational teachers is conducted on a part-time basis, the students being either, employed as vocational teachers in Upper secondary schools or instructors in the workplace. In the program, the students are encouraged to write their Master thesis by either conducting development work in their own workplace, or undertaking surveys to identify requirements for qualifications and education in occupations. This allows the students to be practitioner researchers and acquire considerable knowledge about developments within their own vocation and the teaching profession. It also enables them to develop an overall perspective about the profession, and gain ability in recognition and reflection, which will qualify them to participate in the leadership of educational research (Honneth 2012, Sennett 2008, Schøn 1996, Dreyfus & Dreyfus 1986, Kolb 1984). In this project, the university teachers will facilitate and develop processes for the students in their efforts to contribute to greater relevance in VET.
The Future-Creating Workshop
Developing understanding and knowledge requires research and the creative ability to discover new perspectives and connections in the fragmented images we have in everyday life. To contribute to students’ training in these processes, we have integrated a Future-Creating Workshop approach in Action Research into the study. The Austrian future scientists Robert Jungk and Norman Müllert invented this approach in the 1970'ties, (Tofteng & Husted 2014, Jungk & Mullert, 1987). Critical-Utopian Action Research (CUAR) uses a Future-Creating Workshop as a core method in the way that the utopian work makes it possible to critically reflect on existing everyday life (Bladt, & Nielsen 2013). This method is used in various arenas, i.e. working life development and research, environmental research, and within civil movements (Gunnarsson & al. 2015, Nielsen, 2010, Nielsen & al. 2010).
References 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 Bladt, M. & Nielsen, K. Aa. (2013). Free space in the processes of action research. Action Research, 2013, Vol.11(4), pp.369-385 Dahlback, J., Hansen, K., Haaland, G. & Sylte, A.L. (2011). Yrkesdidaktisk kunnskapsutvikling og implementering av nye læreplaner (KIP). R.U. 1/2011, høgskolen i Oslo & Akershus, institutt for yrkesfaglærerutdanning. Dreyfus, Hubert & Dreyfus, Stuart (1986). Mind over Machine. The Power of Human Intuition and Expertice in the Era of the Computer. New York: Free Press. Gunnarsson, E., Hansen, H.P.; Nilsen, B.S. & Sriskandarajah, N. (2015) Action research for democracy: New ideas and perspectives from Scandinavia. London: Routledge Hansen, K., Hoel, T. L. & Haaland, G. (Red.) (2015) Tett på yrkesopplæring: yrkesrelevant, tilpasset og samfunnstjenlig? Bergen: Fagbokforlaget Hiim, Hilde (2013). Praksisbasert yrkesutdanning. Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk. Hiim, Hilde (2015). Kvalitet i yrkesutdanningen. Norsk Pedagogisk Tidsskrift nr.2 2015, s. 136-148. Honneth A., (2012). The I in We: Studies in the Theory of Recognition. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press Jungk, R. & Müllert, N. (1984). Håndbog i fremtidsværksteder. København: Politisk Revy. Nielsen, K.Aa. (2004). Aktionsforskningens videnskabsteori. Forskning som forandring. I L. Fuglesang & P.B. Olsen (red.), Videnskabsteori i samfundsvidenskaberne. Frederiksberg: Roskilde Universitetsforlag. Nielsen, K. Aa. (ed.) (2010). A New agenda for sustainability. Farnham: Ashgate Nielsen, L.D., Nielsen, K.Aa., Munck-Madsen, E. & Hartmann-Petersen, K. (2010). Fleksibilitet, flygtighed og frirum – en kritisk diagnose af det senmoderne arbejdsliv. Roskilde: Roskilde Universitetsforlag. OECD (2012). Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Lives: A strategic approach to skills policies. [Online]. Paris: OECD Publishing. Retrieved on Sep. 14, 2012, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264177338-en Schwencke, E. (2006). Free Space in Action Research and in Project Oriented Traineeship. In Nielsen, K. Aa. & L. Svensson (eds.), Action and Interactive Research – a Nordic approach. Maastrischt: 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. Sennett R. (2008). The Craftsman. London: Penguin Books. Smedby, Jens Christian (2015). Academic drift in vocational education? In J.C. Smedby & M. Suthpen (eds), From Vocational to Professional education. London: Routledge. Tofteng, D. & Husted, M. (2014) Critical Utopian Action Research. In Coghlan, D. & Brydon-Miller, M. (Eds.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of Action Research. London: Sage
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