Monday, February 11, 2013

vocational pedagogy report - summary

This report came through late in 2012 through my Google Scholar alerts and opened up a good resource for all vocational educators to explore. The report is written with practitioners in mind, so well laid out and written in clear language.

The 2012 report builds on work by Professors Guy Claxton and Bill Lucas (who lead the Centre for LifeLong learning at the University of Winchester) including the following:
Bodies of Knowledge; how the learning sciences could transform practical and
vocational education (2010). London: Edge Foundation. see blog entry for summary.

Mind the Gap; Research and reality in practical and vocational education (2010).
London: Edge Foundation.  - which reviews the current state of Practical and Vocational Education
(PVE), drawing on research from across the world.

The Pedagogy of Work-based Learning: A brief overview commissioned by the
DCSF 14-19 Expert Pedagogy Group (2010). London: DCSF - describing some of the main traditions in the pedagogy of work-related learning. 

The need for a vocational education pedagogy is outlined in the introduction section. In the second section, the approach used is substantiated, including some ‘contextual notes’ about the lack of a vocational pedagogy due to the lack of clarity about the purposes of Voc. Ed. (see blog on Billett’s book for a deeper discussion); the dual professional identity of  vocational practitioners as teachers (see previous work on boundary crossing from tradeworker to trades tutor); inadequate models and poor analogies for Voc. Ed. ; and reluctance of Voc. Ed. Teachers to use ‘theory’.

Page 30 – the report at a glance, provides a graphical guide to the rest of the report.
Goals (Section 3) and Outcomes (Section 4) are then summarised – these draw on previous reports produced by the authors – as above.

Section 5 introduces the teaching methods that work. Learning by watching, imitation, practicing, through feedback, through conversation, by teaching and helping, by real-world problem solving, through inquiry, critical thinking, listening / transcribing and remembering, drafting and sketching, reflecting, ‘on the fly’, being coached, competing, through virtual environments, simulations and playing games. I will draw on these for current project - learning a trade - now funding is approved by Ako Aotearoa Southern Hub.

Section 6 lays out the Voc. Ed. contexts for the students (motivations and perceptions); teachers  and settings (physical space & culture of learning).

Section 7 on designing vocational pedagogy provides a framework to bring together the ways in which decisions can be made about Voc. Ed. pedagogy.  Ten dimensions are introduced with continuums between ‘poles’ so that the discipline / context / learner etc. can be considered.  Examples include 
- role of teacher as being from facilitative to didactic; 
- nature of activities to be learnt as being authentic to contrived; 
- the means of knowing to be from practice to theory; attitude to knowledge to range from questioning to certain; 
- organisation of time is extended or bound; 
- organisation of space as workshop to classroom;
- approach to task as group to individual; visibility of process as obvious to hidden; 
- proximity teacher between virtual to f2f; and 
- role of learner from self-managed to directed.

Worked examples included for plumbing (being materials focused), child care (people focused) and accountancy (symbols focused).

Overall, a good guide and beginning towards investigating vocational education pedagogy. The report provides a framework to organise vocational education curriculum. However, common understanding of the framework needs to be established amongst vocational educators. This will take time and is dependent on adoption and support by National bodies and teachers of vocational educators.  So some ‘marketing’ required of the concepts and frameworks proposed. This may be planned to occur in the UK but there will be little traction in NZ for the moment, due to unfamiliarity with the concepts. In NZ, there is also a need to allow for cultural diversity and relate frameworks to Maori pedagogy and other ways of doing. Plus tweaking to the NZ Voc. Ed. system to allow for smoother pathways from school to work / tertiary / vocational education. 


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Jerry Gene said...

Nice post! Can’t wait for the next one. Keep stuff like this coming.

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