Monday, October 20, 2014

NZ Vocational Education and Training Research Forum - Day 1

At the annual NZ Vocational Education and Training Research forum today and tomorrow. The forum is a held a little later this year then previous years. Good to catch up with various industry training organisation representatives.

The conference begins with a mihi and welcome from ITF CE Mark Oldenshaw. The first conference keynote is with Rosalie Staggard from Innovation and Business Skills in Australia. She presents on the topic 'identifying key capabilities for VET practitioners'. Framework for VET practitioners capability development developed 2013. Capability framework to support the efficient and strategic management of the workforce ensuring all human resource functions and activities are aligned and focused on what is important to organisational success. Provided rationale for developing a capability framework and the process of producing a national Australian VET practitioners framework. Framework has 3 levels, 4 domains and 6 skill areas. Framework is supported by a 'tools' resource. Levels related to educator skills and experience - level 1 are beginners (level 4 cert), level 2 (diploma level) more experienced and level 3 in leadership type roles. Current qualifications mapped to framework to find out if qualifications meet needs and if any gaps. For each domain and skill area, the levels are detailed. Note levels are not equated with experience but capability. Domains are teaching, assessment, industry and community collaboration and systems and compliance. Capabilities are identified for each domain. Eg. for teaching domain, learning theories, design etc.

After morning tea, the short 20 minute concurrent sessions begin. first up with Dr. Linda Bonne, from NZCER on 'the textbook is just the textbook: How builders, GP doctors and engineers are integrating theory and practice. Reports on the 'knowing practice' research team with Karen Vaughan, Jan Eyre & Sally Robertson. Broader approach taken in the project to widen the traditional association of practice -based learning with apprenticeships. Used model by Evans, Guile,, Harris & Allan (2010) putting knowledge to work: A new approach. Nurse Education Today 30(3), 245-251. Interviews with building apprentices, training advisors, trainers, BCITO reps.; GP teachers, registrars, medical educators; and Engineering cadets, mentors, team leaders, managers and IPENZ reps. Compared the contexts to distil commonalities and differences. Trying to understand how skills learning is mediated across the contexts with different approaches to training. Shared some of the evidence gathered by apprentices, GPs and engineers, recording their work learning. Used critical incident narratives - tell us how you integrate theory and practice learning? to engage and assist participants to explain their experiences. Themes were being able to see something bigger, taking on responsibilities and solving complex problems. Learning from experience is not automatic and requires learners to 'structure' and deliberately practice.

Second session with Terry Weblemoe form AUT University with 'teaching therapeutic skills online'.  Presented rationale for teaching the subject. A collaborative project between AUT and Youthline. Both have different perspectives and to provide learning on-line to a largely 'relational' and dispositional skill set challenging. Also move from didactic to interactive learning and collaboration.
Then Chantal Pillay, from Le Cordon Bleu School with 'students' reflections on work-integrated learning in the culinary arts'. Provided background of formation of Le Cordon Bleu and it's programme - Bachelor of Culinary Arts and Business - not to train chefs but graduates with strong culinary background focused on business management. Currently programme is into second year. Study focused on students expectations and perceptions of WIL and the effectiveness of WIL. Qualitative case study pre and post with semi-structured survey, student reflective reports and participant observations, analysed thematically using nVivo. Only 3 students between 18 - 28. Findings supported efficacy of WIL for students, revealed WIL challenges.

Final concurrent session this morning, Denis Keys from Bay of Plenty Poly. on 'choice but challenging: how carpentry students and tutors have responded to an ePortfolios project'. Presented using clips from their Ako Aotearoa project - reported in the form of a video - to report on the work undertaken using project-based focus. Provided background and rationale for the approach. The details on how assessments were developed to support the project-based focus. Provided example of a student's eportfolio.

After lunch, Dr. Nicky Murray and Joel Rewa-Morgan present on 'Connecting research and action: Pacifika voices at the heart of the matter'. Provided background of Careerforce and reasons for undertaken the study. Research undertaken with input from participants, a listening exercise. An 'ideal state' presented to participants and stakeholders after distilling the contributions into 'themes' and learning from literature. Ideal stated includes respectful relationships, pastoral support, cultural acknowledgement, community and family and celebrating success. review of where Careerforce is with 'present state'. Action then to 'bridge the divide' between ideal and present states. Be goal focused, achieve easy wins, undertake change management and plan, monitor and evaluate.

Next up, 'achieving success in the Pasifika trades initiative at Weltec' with Tavita Filemoni , Dr, Lisa Wong and Dr. John Horrocks. Evaluative approach taken to find out what works and what does not. 27 interviews with students, Pasifika community, support and teaching staff plus results from ALNTs and programme results. One success factor was to find out what students aspired to becoming and then how to assist them to eventually become (citing findings from first year apprentices project on belonging and becoming). Contributions from the community also important to assist individual students who required support. Insitutional support around celebrating Pacific events and providing visibility to Pasifika through linking with other students, staff and a 'feel at home' environment. Weltec now has Pacific strategy and planning further expansion of the Pasifika centre. Whole institution support undertaken to raise Pasifika engagement, work readiness (assist students to obtain drivers licence), increase literacy and numeracy and help broker work at the end of programme.

Third round of concurrent sessions. I catch up with Dr. James McKay and Emma McLaughlin's work on the language of the trades project, an Ako Aotearoa National project. Reporting on progress to date, 6 months into a 3 year project. Presented rationale and some indication of initial data collected. Edwards, Minty & Miller, 2013) say vocational learning vocabulary as complex and not very much actually known. Interviews with students, tutors and industry. So far 23 trades tutors, class observations in automotive, carpentry, electrical and plumbing. Recordings of classroom conversations. Analysis of electrotech text - reveals 62% 1000 word list, 22% technical, 8% academic and 8% in 2000 list. Learners need to understand and use the words of their trade .Vocabulary, visual / oral communication and behaving all inter-connnected. Gee 1990 - ways of communicating, thinking, believing, valuing and behaving that identity you as part of a specific social group. Literacies related to written (job cards, builders' diary), visual /spatial (plans, representations of abstract concepts - electrical diagrams). Common problems for students with diagrams include interpretation of the elements, transferring ideas from 2 to 3 dimensions and relating circuit diagrams to actual. Shared future work.

Then, 'building foundation learners' literacy and numeracy: the role of formative assessment feedback with Dr. Linda Bonne from NZCER. Concentrated on how ALNET being used. Important to drill deeper into how the educator-learner ' feedback conversations are deployed. Socio-cultural view of learning used with learners as active participants in learning. Need to privilege the learner voice which is rarely represented in the literature. Online survey of youth guarantee learners and tutors with six providers. Trying to trace if effective learning conversations are being undertaken. interim results shared.

Afternoon session after tea are plenary sessions on culturally responsive practice with a series of three short presentations. First up, Tania Mullane and Kihi Tawhai from Waiariki on 'harnessing the potential of innovative curriculum, teaching and learning practice in foundation learning'. Evolution and revolution of programme design to meet needs of foundation learners. Selected a series of practical and theory units and embedded relevant literacy and numeracy standards, Situated learning in the marae. 16 weeks foundation followed by vocational skills for rest of the year through vocational pathways.Good outcomes achieved with new programme.

Secondly, Anne Greenhalg from Workforce Development Ltd. follows with the topic - 'Paunga te matapae oranga : Puanga, the instigation of vitality!'  presents on work taking place within the corrections department. Presented the realities of the context and challenges. Presented the support structures required to support educators

Last session today 'Lead-engage-innov8: Finding k(new) momentum for rangatahi in industry training' with Glenda Taihuna from Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

A networking session closes a busy day. At the session, launch of new ITF work on workplace learning anchors the session.

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