02 SES 03 B, Skill Competition and Vocational Excellence
Flight traffic has been steadily increasing during the past ten years. The airline industry has rapidly changed from a market with state-owned airlines to a market for global low cost airlines. Thousands of flights around the world are growing the density in airports making the air traffic even more complex system to manage.
Levels of requirements in air traffic controllers’ (ATCO) working field are increasing and setting new expectations for learning. The European CCC (Common Core Content) currently defines the issues that must be learned in European ATCO training despite what kind of pedagogy, learning methods etc. are used. At all levels of air traffic management, there is a need for an integrated model for organizational learning (Teperi and Leppänen, 2010). Human factors, such as personnel development, training and competence, as well as employee commitment and well-being, require more research and development (e.g., Rymin et al., 2011).
Nokelainen and his colleagues have studied vocational excellence in the context of mathematics (Finnish and US Academic Olympiad teams, see, e.g., Nokelainen et al., 2007; Nokelainen and Tirri, 2010) and manual skills (Finnish World Skills Competition team, see, e.g., Nokelainen, 2010; Nokelainen, Korpelainen & Ruohotie, 2009). The model of vocational excellence utilizes Gagné’s (2004, 2010) Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent (DMGT) that distinguish the two usually intertwined concepts of giftedness and talent.
As the role of natural abilities in talent development is stressed in DMGT, we have operationalized them using Gardner’s (1983, 1993) Multiple Intelligence (MI) theory: 1) Linguistic; 2) Logical‐mathematical; 3) Musical; 4) Spatial; 5) Bodily‐kinesthetic; 6) Interpersonal; 7) Intrapersonal intelligence (for details, see, Tirri & Nokelainen, 2011).
The earlier studies with the Finnish World Skills competitors (manual skills workers, e.g., plumbers and hair dressers) showed that self‐reflection (stress tolerance), volition (perseverance, time management skills), cognitive skills (development potential) and motivation (extrinsic and intrinsic) were considered to be the most important characteristics of vocational excellence.Characteristics related to volition, self‐reflection and cognitive skills had an important role in all the three developmental stages of vocational talent (initial interest, perseverance and mastery of the skill). (Nokelainen & Ruohotie, 2009; Nokelainen, in press.)
The goal of this study is to find and describe characteristics and predictors that explain ATCO’s working practices, procedures and problem-solving skills in the working context. The study aims to describe how ATCOs’ success in aptitude test and during the study period predicts vocational expertise or excellence in the working life. To address the research goals, the following research questions have been formulated: 1) What characteristics specify ATCOs in the working context? 2) What characteristics specify ATCOs performing in the level of expertise and excellence? 3) How ATCOs’ aptitude test and study success predicts the success in working life?
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