Thursday, August 16, 2018

NCVER no frills and NZ VET research forum 2018

Day 2 morning

In Sydney for the combined conferences of the National Centre for Vocational Education and Training Research (NCVER) with the New Zealand VET research forum, convened by the Industry Training Federation

Welcome reception last night started off the conference, good to catch up with many familiar researchers in Vocational education.

Conference opens with welcome from Dr. Mette Creaser, interim Managing Director of NCVER and Michael Ross, Principal advisor for the NZ Industry Training Federation. Michael provided participants with overview of the NZ industry training context. Provided summaries of the three key reviews and supporting shifts in accompanying systems to meet the needs of the future. Check report from info metrics on megatrends in work and education.

Short address from Genevieve Knight, acting national manager research at NCVER on the Skills for the future report. A short presentation to summarise key points. Main employment in Australia and New Zealand now in services sectors, health, professional, scientific and technical, education and training and construction. Quick shift in Technology requires rapid and agile vocational training systems with continuous and lifelong learning delivery and support. VET systems required to play a key role in ensuring people attain, maintain and continue learning to keep up with the requirements for the need of future work.

First keynote from Lene Tanggaard, Professor at department of communication and psychology at Aalborg University in Denmark, on creativity in VET. Brought together crafts, vocational education and training and creativity. Extended on the premise of the epistemology of the hand and the need to recognise its contribution. Creativity argued as a key, difficult to replicate without human input, skill. Not only for artists, designers or academics but found high levels in VET apprentices. Need to treasure VET for how it contributes to a practical and pragmatic way of igniting and expressing creativity. Imagination is a foundation for creativity- see 2018 Tanggaard and Brinkmann. PISA test will now include creativity as a component. There is a correlation with personal growth, academic and job success (Long and Plucker, 2014). Creativity is essential for all (Csikszentmihalyi) but entails actual work (Vera John-Steiner, 1997) - a notebook of the mind. Creativity builds on the ability to see clearer and to rediscover what we know but seem to have forgotten. Creativity is about mastery, craft and recycling, not just brainstorming and post-it notes. It is more about business as usual than not. Creativity needs the ability to synthesis (combination of opportunities), analytical sense (what and why is this good?) and practical intelligence (ideas do not sell themselves! There is a need to tinker to make it work). The eyes of the skin and the thinking hand by Juhani Pallasmaa, a Finnish architect. The poet, the sculptor or architect worked with the entire body, not primarily through intellect, theory or acquired professional qualifications. In fact a lot of what we have learned must be unlearned to be useful. Summarised latest study on how inventiveness and innovation takes place. A model of creative learning in VET has three interconnected circles with resistance, immersion and experiments and ‘fooling around’. Therefore need to build expertise within a field and VET plays an important role in providing the skills base for creativity. 

Five streams in concurrent sessions running on themes of practitioner, employability and foundation skills, skills, International and rural and remote.

 Begin with Emma McLaughlin’s (Wellington Institute of Technology) presentation on ‘working around the words’ tutor strategies and the tutor voice in vocational education. This is an output from the Ako Aotearoa funded national project ‘the language of the trades’ which used linguistic Research methodology to explore the complexities of learning the skills, social mores and practice in the trades. Summarised purpose, findings and recommendations from the project. Purpose was to describe the language, texts and visual features in carpentry, Automotive , fabrication and electrical. Trade vocabulary was as challenging as academic. Embedding language is through tutor talk, diagrams were used extensively and learning was through doing. Interviews with tutors and learners in carpentry used in the presentation. Tutors use the language, use different synonyms, deliberately use the terms, elicited correct terms and learning was embedded in the work of building a house. Shared underpinning literature on situated learning and the complexities of trades language. In practice, tutors used strategies to assist including, modelling, eliciting, reinforcing, clarifying etc. recommended using a strengthens based approach - doing well, share and try. Introduced resources on Ako website, working around words and building a working vocabulary. Shared the model and the resources - teaching strategies, videos, glossaries, posters etc. 

Then with Louise King from Charles Darwin University, on factors influencing international teachers enactment of Australian VET curricula. Presented on a subset of her PhD study. What are the contextual factors that influence teachers enactment of the Australian curriculum. Used phenomenological approach and  3 in-depth interviews with 13 teachers. Experienced teachers in Australia but not as long overseas. Reported on themes around information (generally insufficient), resources (often insufficient to maintain curricula fidelity), materials (teaching materials not always available), institutional arrangements (generally inadequate) and student readiness (goals and interest, language proficiency, prior knowledge and abilities and learning styles and preferences). Dissonance experienced and no preparation provided to support them through the challenges posed. 

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