|Policy Development and Implementation of Technical and Vocational Education for Economic Development in Asia and the Pacific - Conference Proceedings - UNESCO - UNEVOC Regional Conference (RMIT, 1997, 520 p.)|
(Paper presented at the UNESCO UNEVOC REGIONAL CONFERENCE at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology 12th November, 1996)
The School of Vocational, Community and Technology Education at Griffith University has been involved in preparing teachers to work in the vocational education sector since 1971. The initial course was the Certificate In Teaching (TAFE). Over the years, this initial offering has changed in a number of substantial ways:
· The scope has broadened to include strands dealing specifically with Adult and Vocational Teaching, Human Resource Development and Adult Literacy and Numeracy.
· The range of courses has been increased at the initial preparation level so that we now offer the Bachelor of Adult and Vocational Teaching, The Associate Diploma of Vocational Instruction, and the Graduate Diploma in Adult and Vocational Education.
· The levels of study have been increased so that we now offer the Bachelor of Adult and Vocational Teaching (Hons), and an Adult and Vocational Education strand in the MEd., and students can undertake MPhil. and PhD candidature.
· Plans are under way to expand the offering at the Graduate Diploma level to lead to a Masters of Teaching, with multiple entry and exit points.
The School has established a Centre, previously known as the Centre for Skill Formation, Research and Development, one of the first university centres devoted to vocational education and training research in Australia. The Centre, now called the Centre for learning and Work Research, undertakes basic applied research into the nature of vocational knowledge, the acquisition of vocational knowledge, the learning of vocational knowledge, curriculum development for vocational education, sociological aspects of vocational education and philosophical, aspects of vocational education.
DEVELOPMENT OF TEACHER PREPARATION PROGRAMS
Since the institution of programs for vocational teachers in 1971, offerings have been modified in response to the changing needs of educational institutions, industry, clients and students, and in response to recommendations of various reports, demands of government policy, restructuring of educational institutions, changes in perception of the roles of teachers, and in response to evidence produced by our own and other research.
Initially all students were selected and sponsored by the TAFE system to meet their perceived needs in terms of teacher supply for various trade areas. The course moved from a day release program to a full-time program where the responsibility of teaching was shared proportionately by TAFE and the Teachers College, with the TAFE system overseeing the practicum requirements. In 1978 the course was upgraded to diploma level in recognition of the status of teachers in this sector, and graduating students became eligible for Teacher Registration in Queensland. The course content was altered to reflect the specific needs of teachers in this sector, recognising the characteristics of the student body, their learning needs and styles, and the specific skills that they should acquire to become more effective as teachers. Several reviews of the course were conducted, and changes were made on the basis of consultation with industry and the TAFE sector. This institution had then become a College of Advanced Education and to further enhance the status of our graduates, and to reflect the levels of academic demand, the course was upgraded to degree level in 1990, when this institution became part of Griffith University as its Faculty of Education.
Recognition of the importance of Post-Compulsory Education was accorded in 1989 with the establishment of a Chair in that area and the appointment of Professor John Stevenson to the Chair.
In 1989 the TAFE sector ceased to be our sole clients, and the course was opened to wider entry, admitting private students who would not be assured of teaching positions on graduation, but would have to seek and compete for places. Sponsorship of students ceased in 1992, and the current student body is comprised of prospective teachers responsible for their own support and demanding a wider range of skills to equip them for a broader range of potential appointments.
To serve their needs, the course was broadened to include Major areas of study that met the demands of industry, TAFE and private institutions. The Training Reform Agenda led to a demand for graduates who could work in the private sector, provide on-the-job training, manage Human Resource Development requirements and exhibit a greater degree of flexibility. Issues related to research into levels of literacy and numeracy in the workforce and, indeed in the general population, revealed a strong need for teachers who would be able to make provision for upgrading of these skills, generally and specifically, especially in areas of workplace demands for literacy and enhancement of levels of performance of long- and short-term unemployed. The recognition of the need for greater flexibility and generalist skills for vocational teachers, and the demands placed on them by the changes in their roles, led to the inclusion of aspects of management, change agency, marketing, inclusive teaching, research, and greater versatility of teaching methods in the course. To encourage specialisation, Major Study areas of Adult and Vocational Teaching, Human Resource Development, and Adult Literacy and Numeracy were introduced.
The degree recognises the prior learning and experience of students by granting a year's advanced status for students admitted to the course on the basis of their fulfilment of the entry requirements. Hence the three-year degree can be completed in two years of full-time study, or equivalent time by part-time study.
The Bachelor of Adult and Vocational Teaching which leads to teacher registration in Queensland remains the main offering in the suite of courses within the school. To cater for differing client needs and varying academic backgrounds, further initial teacher preparation courses have been made available. To suit the immediate need for a qualification for tutors, employed widely within the TAFE system, the Associate Diploma of Vocational Instruction was introduced in 1991. The course is embedded within the Bachelor course, and is comprised of eight specified subjects. Graduates of this course can therefore further their study by progressing into the degree with full credit. In 1989, prospective students who already possessed a relevant degree from a recognised tertiary institution were catered for by the introduction of the Graduate Diploma of Adult and Vocational Education. Graduates can undertake this course in one year of full-time study or two years of part-time study. The course, also, grants eligibility for Teacher Registration.
In addition, in-service and research higher degree pathways have been developed. In 1992, the Bachelor of Adult and Vocational Teaching (Hons) was introduced to create a pathway for students wishing to participate in more intensive study in this area, and to move on to MEd. or MPhil. studies. Graduates are able to undertake course-work or research Masters study and can achieve PhD candidature. Another pathway to Higher Degree Studies is provided through the Bachelor of Education (Advanced Professional Development) which is achieved by a further year of full-time study, or equivalent part-time study, for graduates of the Bachelor of Adult and Vocational Teaching. Graduates of The Graduate Diploma of Adult and Vocational Education are eligible to apply for entry to a Masters course. Within the MEd. course, allowance is made for specialisation in post-compulsory and vocational education by the inclusion of subjects specific to the area.
The Degree courses and the Graduate Diploma course are available by full-time or part-time modes, and by either distance or internal modes. Students are able to vary modes as their needs dictate, and the school is working towards the provision of continuous entry and greater flexibility of offering, considering the institution of greater flexibility of modes of offering, methods of study, and time taken to complete the awards. Planning is under way for the introduction of a third term of study in each year and the merging of internal and distance offerings. The increasing role of technology in educational provision is also being recognised.
Planning is under way for the modification of the Graduate Diploma of Adult and Vocational Education to provide a Masters of Adult and Vocational Teaching. With the existing course as its base, this new provision will allow for multiple entry and exit points so that students can graduate with a Graduate Certificate, a Graduate Diploma or a Masters of Teaching according to their needs and the level and length of study.
Assumptions underlying all course provisions are that theory provides a strong conceptual basis for skilled, adaptable and professional practice, and that graduates need to be equipped with knowledge and skills that will allow them to fashion and adapt to changing demands in their professions. To achieve this end, greater flexibility of skills, educational thinking, research strength, versatility, adaptability and independence in learning are needed.
Graduates need to recognise the importance of good practice based in sound theory. Classroom competence, provision of educational administration, affecting change and reacting to changes, sound curriculum development, managing financial constraints, flexibility and innovation all demand highly critical and informed teachers who are skilled in analysis and decision making. These factors can only be found in a highly educated and enthusiastic adult and vocational education workforce.
THE CENTRE FOR LEARNING AND WORK RESEARCH
In recognition of the need for further research to inform and validate decisions in regard to provision of courses to prepare teachers for vocational and training areas, and to inform debate in the area, the Centre for Skill Formation, Research and Development was established in 1992 by Professor John Stevenson who was its first Director. This was one of the first dedicated university centres devoted to such research in this area in Australia. Now known as the Centre for Learning and Work Research, it is currently under the leadership of Dr Stephen Billett. It receives some funding from ANTARAC, and generates funds from various activities. Staff connected with the Centre undertake funded research and contracts, initiate research, conduct conferences and seminars, undertake teaching contracts, reviewing and editing, publish, present conference papers, and teach in School programs, as well as supervising MPhil, PhD and other Higher Degree students.
The Centre's stated mission is to advance understanding and practice about the best ways in which workplace learning can develop the knowledge needed by a skilled, flexible and adaptable workforce. The key goals of the Centre are:
· To extend and promote the development of vocational knowledge, with particular emphasis on workplace learning, within business, industry and the community
· To offer a range of programs to inform, disseminate and advance research and development activities with maintaining the Centre's viability
The research work of staff is concerned with the following aspects of vocational education and training, and has resulted in numerous publications and conference presentations in such areas as:
Vocational expertise: the cognitive structures underlying expertise and its development, including the development of adaptability, creativity, the capacity to solve complex and ill-defined problems, the nature of problem-solving, the development of expertise in safety, and the nature and contribution of authenticity in situated learning experiences
The nature of teaching and training processes in TAFE colleges and workplace settings and the development of research instruments to measure theoretical dimensions
Cultural and sociological aspects of vocational education in formal and informal learning settings, and the problems of transition into vocational education
Ethical and normative dimensions of adult and vocational education
The development of literacy and numeracy for the workplace
The development of curriculum development models for vocational education and training
Policy implications in the area of vocational education and training and the problems associated with the implementation of policy
Changing conditions of work and implications for vocational education and training
Through its work the Centre has been recognised as a Griffith University Area of Research Excellence. It has established a reputation nationally and internationally through its publications and conferences.
Recently, knowledge, learning and workplaces have become core emphases in research activities, and these have led to production of books, articles and conference papers. The relationships among these three key elements have been examined and linked with curriculum related issues. Some of this research work and these directions of the Centre can be accessed through the following two publications:
Stevenson, J.C. (Ed.) (1994). Cognition at work: the development of vocational expertise. Adelaide: National Centre for Vocational Education Research and
Stevenson, J.C. (Ed.) (1996). Learning in the workplace: Tourism and Hospitality. Brisbane, Queensland: Centre for Skill Formation Research and Development.
Three annual International Conferences have been hosted by the Centre. A fourth is being organised. It is to be held at the Surfers Paradise Travelodge from 2nd to 4th December, 1996. The theme of the Conference is Learning and Work: The Challenges.
Details of the above conference and information on the Centre's publications can be obtained from Dr Stephen Billett, Director, Centre for Learning and Work Research, Faculty of Education, Griffith University. NATHAN, 4111 (Phone Manager. Richard Roebuck, 07 3875 5862, Fax 07 3875 6868).
Since 1971, the preparation of teachers for vocational education has undergone substantial change at our institution. A wide range of courses is now offered flexibly, at a variety of levels, with multiple exit points preparing people for related but different careers. These pre-service courses are now complemented by in-service pathways and can lead to course-work Masters and research higher degrees. A strong school has been established within the university and is now recognised as one of the University's areas of research excellence, providing a strong theoretical foundation for its courses and their further improvement.