Thursday, April 21, 2016

AVETRA conference Day 1 morning

AVEtRA 2016
Day one morning

At the annual AVETRA conference over the next couple of days. 

Day begins with a welcome to country from Uncle Ray Davidson who provided an overview of the area and conference opening from AVETRA president Michelle Simon providing background and setting the scene for newbies to the conference.

First two keynotes start off the conference, setting the scene for the themes - putting VET research to work. Firstly, Professor Joe Lo Bianca from University of Melbourne presents on - collective writing of language and literacy policy, initiatives in peace building in SE Asia. Aim of the presentation is the link between inter generational social capital and outcomes and role of social cohesion, social capital, inclusion and social mobility in establishing a way forward. Summary of 2012 report on social cohesion. Presented two cases, Myanmar and Thailand. Presented collaborative research on sustainable peace building , recognition, representation. Reconciliation and redistribution. With recognition and representation as drivers of conflict and reconciliation and redistribution as legacies. Provided examples of educational intervention in each peace building phase. Very interesting approach used in Myanmar from 2013 on 'writing' the policies to help country move forward in rebuilding access and system of education. Based on shared 'constitution' to write policy based on models from other countries, structured process, shared ideology and priorities. Reports at unicef

Second keynote from Peter Noonan from Mitchell Institute Victoria University on investment in VET, past present and future. Part of a series on tertiary education financing - http:// purpose of paper to establish fact and information base on VET funding system, issues with VET shared funding model, current state of play and future options. Australian centric with some learning for NZ context. 

After morning tea, concurrent sessions begin. I attend session in apprenticeship stream with Dr, Don Zoellner from Charles Darwin on fixing problematic apprentice systems, never a clean slate. Used Foucault as base for interpretation. Shortcomings of apprenticeships via recent study by Wolf 2015 and NCVER. Include mismatch between funding and labour market needs, dominated by major vested interests, public payments to providers, decrease in apprenticeship, increase in age of apprentices, misconceived Voc ed policies. Explored why although UK and Australia similar as per the two reports, both countries have evolved different systems. Propose historical and political realities as cause. Recommends 'new public management' system where path dependency determines who sits where depending on policy / programme decisions / power. Introduce training market and provider choice, wider number of apprenticeships, continual tinkering on who pays. 

Then, with Dr. Steven Hodge and Dr. Tim Mavin from Griffith and Dr. Suzanne Kearns from University of Waterloo in Canada on differentiating the relevance of CBT to occupations in the aviation industry. Competency based Education in Aviation recent book published. A range of occupations with some deemed to be more suitable for CBT. Why some and not all, and why these occupations? Some occupations e.g. Pilot training mandated by international agreements and standards through International Civil Aviation Organisation. CBT CBE tends to be 'accepted' as the method but no research on effectiveness. Research study interviewed all occupations globally. Proposed study of complexity of tasks and to evaluate if CBE suitable. Tipping point when competency not possible to be detailed. Implications to VET of Competency standards not suiting all occupations, qualifications and levels. 

Next up, Professor Sarojni Choy, from Griffith with Dr. Christina Hong and Dr. Anna Daniels TAFE Queensland on a critical participatory action research framework to improve VET practice. Used a model used with teachers to introduce CPAR to VeT teachers. Needed to adjust to allow for complexities and challenges related to VET teaching. Case example of work integrated using CPAR for a renewal, appraisal and change project. Goal to change social practise by changing what stakeholders thought, practitioners did and results expected. Build an understanding about how things are done, and influence on the thinking, saying, doing and relating. Anna provided example of deploying tablets  - iPads and iTunesU into blended learning English learning context. Reports from projects on TAFE Queensland site. 

Then, Dr. George Myconis, Stephanie Yung and Luke Swain from Brotherhood of St. Lawrence on factors enabling entry into and engagement with VET for young, early school leavers. Reported on preliminary findings from Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania. Centered on finding out young people's experiences from intention to enrol, through to level engagement and completion. Used an alternative approach that Views engagement as part of a dynamic process and explores micro and macro factors. Framework used via family support sector - McCurdy and Daro, 2001. How Individual, provide, programme and neighbour factors impinge on intent to enrol, enrolment and retention. Individual factors more importNt at enrolment but programme and family more significant in retention. Decision making process detailed based on Bandura,s social cognitive theory and Ajzen 1991 theory of planned behaviour. Factors include self efficacy and cost benefits. From these, key themes for each factor drawn up and survey questions developed for intermediaries and young people. 

A busy morning with many items to work through. A few to follow up with regards to present and future work. 

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