|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.)|
- Zaibun Siraj, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore -
In Singapore, technical education is provided mainly at post-secondary institutions. These would be the Institute of Technical Education and the Polytechnics. Schools in Singapore would also provide a course in technical education and the teachers for this course are trained at the National Institute of Education. There is no central training institute to provide training for the technical teachers and trainers. Instead, each institution conducts a training programme for its own teachers and trainers.
TRAINING OF TECHNICAL TEACHERS FOR SCHOOLS
The training for technical teachers for secondary schools is organised under the one-year Postgraduate Diploma in Education programme for graduates. The Design and Technology (D & T) component is one of the many areas covered in the programme. The D & T course is conducted in modules. These modules include Managing the School; Design and Technology Curriculum; Teaching of Materials Technology; Design Process; Micro-teaching; Projects and Evaluation; and Materials Processing. The topics covered are geared towards the Design and Technology subject taught in secondary schools. Pedagogy is the main emphasis in dealing with the programme which emphasizes on methods of teaching and laboratory work in areas not covered by graduates in the university.
The trainers on this programme are qualified personnel with masters degree, teaching and technical qualifications. The participants are assessed throughout the course. Two types of assessment are conducted: the formal end of term examination and the on-going assessment for laboratory assignments. Participants are awarded the Postgraduate Diploma in Education for successful completion of the programme. This programme is evaluated from time to time.
TRAINING OF TECHNICAL AND VOCATIONAL TEACHERS AND TRAINERS AT THE INSTITUTE OF TECHNICAL EDUCATION
The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) provides pedagogic training for newly -recruited training staff without the pedagogic experience. The programme, known as the Certificate in Technical Education (CTE), is administered by the Instructional Development Division of the Institute and is conducted at the ITE premises. The CTE programme stretches over two years of which the first month is scheduled for full-time off-the-job components whereby participants attend classes. The remaining twenty three months are for participants to return to their work area and put into practice what they have learnt from the one-month classroom training. During this period, senior training staff (known as Mentors) with outstanding pedagogic and technical competency will be assigned to guide and evaluate the participant's on-the-job performance. The topics for the CTE programme include the following; Teaching Methodology (50 hours); Use of Audio-Visual Aids (30 hours); Counselling and Motivation (30 hours) and Methods of Assessment (30 hours). The trainers for the CTE programme comprises lecturers from the Instructional Development Division. External expertise will also be sought for some of the sessions. All course participants are assessed through written assignments and practical performance. Upon passing both the off-the-job and on the job components, participants will qualify for the award of the Certificate in Technical Education. Upon completion of the whole programme, an end-of-course evaluation will be administered, in collaboration between the Human Resource Division and the Instructional Development Division, to assess the effectiveness of the programme and to make relevant adjustments to the course contents and its mode of implementation so as to provide an improved course to future groups of participants.
The training staff of ITE, regardless of whether they are newly-recruited or experienced staff, are regularly sent for both in-house programmes and external programmes to upgrade their pedagogic skills and knowledge and their technical knowledge in their field of expertise. Much emphasis has also been given to the upgrading of professional qualification of the training staff to meet the changing environment and future challenges.
The training is divided into 2 types, namely, the Core Programmes and job-related programmes. For core programmes, regular runs are organised by the Human Resource Division and staff are scheduled based on priority accorded by their Heads of Departments. For job-related programmes, staff are scheduled based on their job requirements. The Institute has requested since 1995, that all training staff map out their training and upgrading plan in the Individual Staff Training Plan in consultation with their Heads of Departments. Each staff member will then take full ownership of their training needs, both for formal and non-formal programmes. These plans are thereafter translated to the corporate Staff Training Plan.
TRAINING OF TECHNICAL TRAINERS AT POLYTECHNICS
The four Polytechnics in Singapore, Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic conduct their own pedagogical training programme for their staff. Each Polytechnic has established a unit just for this purpose. The Polytechnics also maintain an active staff development programme which provides for staff undertaking higher degree programmes, staff attachments to companies and organisations and in-house training programmes on non-pedagogical topics.
The training opportunities for technical trainers provided by two Polytechnics - Nanyang Polytechnic and Ngee Arm Polytechnic - will be highlighted in this paper.
The Education and Development Centre (EDC) of the Nanyang Polytechnic conducts pedagogical training programmes for the academic staff on a regular basis. The topics covered in the programme include teaching methods, assessment and curriculum development/evaluation. Participants are assessed on projects given to them during the course and will be issued a Certificate of Completion on conclusion of the pedagogical programme.
Apart from the in-house pedagogical training conducted by the Education and Development Centre, the respective Heads of Department will nominate staff for courses which are relevant to technological, management or developmental areas of their work. Such courses may be conducted in-house or with external organisations.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic
At Ngee Ann Polytechnic pedagogical training for Technical trainers is provided by the Institutional Planning and Development Directorate. Two courses are currently offered as part of the Professional Development in Education programme. The first has been designed for all newly appointed staff. To complete the course a participant is required to complete six core modules, each of 12 contact hours. The six modules are Introduction to Student Learning; Teaching and Learning Strategies; Planning Learning; Assessing Student Performance; Evaluation; Module Design.
The details for each module are:
Introduction to Student learning
· Describe ways in which students learn
· Identify ways to help students improve their learning
· Clarify learning objectives
Teaching and learning Strategies
· Facilitate learning in large groups
· Facilitate learning in small groups
· Development of a module outline for students
· Development of lecture and/or tutorial outlines
· Development of resources to support quality student learning
Assessing Student Performance
· Planning module assessments for development of higher-thinking skills
· Use of assessment criteria for self-and peer-assessment
· Development of assessment techniques and procedures to enhance students' higher-thinking skills.
· Develop a practical model of evaluation to ensure modules meet the demands of the internal and external environments
· Develop a variety of environment techniques and procedures
· Undertake a module evaluation
· Develop a model for the design/redesign of a module
· Design/redesign a module
Classroom observations will also be conducted. Each observation will comprise of three parts: Pre-conference; Observation; Post-conference.
Participants are required to complete tasks for each module which are relevant to their work roles such as producing a module outline for students, developing resources for teaching, designing tutorial tasks, and developing assessments tasks and procedures. These tasks should be included in a journal.
The second course has been designed for all teaching staff who have completed the basic course or have had several years of teaching experience. Each participant is required to select any four modules related to the following areas: course design; facilitating student learning; development of student resources; assessing student performance; evaluation; academic leadership. The four modules will account for 48 credits. Each module will be of 12 hours duration. Examples of modules to be offered include:
· Value-added Lecturing
· Testing Higher-thinking Skills
· Learning through Internet
· Survey Design
Participants are also expected to accumulate 24 credits by attending a minimum of three seminars/conferences/workshops related to teaching and learning.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic puts strong emphasis on staff training. Hence, much has been done to encourage staff members to further their education. For example, in 1995/6, 110 staff members were sponsored to undergo staff development programmes. These included 6 overseas Masters' courses, 6 local Masters' courses, 9 local postgraduate diploma courses, 19 overseas conferences, 25 overseas attachments/exchanges, 9 overseas specialised training courses, 17 study visits to tertiary institutions and 19 local industrial attachments. In addition 665 staff members were sent to local seminars, conferences and training programmes. All these development programmes aimed to keep Staff up-to-date in their respective professional fields and abreast of changes in technology, business, management and industrial practices.
Besides the training described above, in-house programmes were also organised. During 1995/96 a total of 24 in-house programmes were organised, comprising 3 programmes on teaching and learning, 12 on computers, comprising 3 programmes on teaching and learning, 12 on computers and 9 on management. A total of 1,026 staff attended these in-house programmes. Staff members were also trained in Steven Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
POSTGRADUATE DIPLOMA IN TEACHING IN HIGHER EDUCATION AT THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION, NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY
Technical trainers at the Polytechnics in Singapore may, if they wish, attend the Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching in Higher Education programme conducted by the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. The programme aims to address the pedagogical needs of lecturers teaching in tertiary institutions in Singapore. It provides an opportunity for reflection on their experiences in teaching and for the sharing of these experiences with colleagues and experienced trainers.
Five modules of 20 hours each constitute the course of study. The three core modules, which are compulsory, focus on the related features of learning and teaching in higher education, on motivation for effective learning, and on assessment of learning in tertiary institutions. The two elective modules are intended to build on the core to meet the more specific needs of participants. Each of the modules is assessed by an assignment, a term paper or performance rating. In addition, a formal requirement of the programme is the submission of a project report based on a detailed investigation of a particular issue or topic related to teaching and/or learning in higher education.
EMERGING TRENDS IN THE TRAINING OF TECHNICAL AND VOCATIONAL TEACHERS AND TRAINERS
The many programmes provided in Singapore for the training of technical and vocational teachers and trainers reflects the importance and emphasis placed on such training. These training programmes address all the needs of the trainers and not just their pedagogical needs. Technical trainers today have more challenging tasks, roles and functions as a result of the rapid social, political and technological changes. The training programmes conducted by the various institutions in Singapore have been designed to help trainers adjust to the changes in their roles, tasks and functions.
Technical students are required to develop the skills of problem-solving, critical and innovative thinking, and the ability to reason, evaluate and to apply knowledge. They are expected to be independent thinkers and reflective technicians who are able to make sound judgements, solve problems and be creative. The training provided to technical teachers and trainers has been revised to include training for the development of such skills.
As technology advances and, as knowledge expands and becomes obsolete so quickly, there is, even more urgently than before, a need to train technicians to be life-long learners and explorers of knowledge. In turn, it is even more essential that technical teachers and trainers are trained to use techniques of teaching and learning which can help technicians to become life-long learners. This has been considered and included in the training programmes for technical trainers in Singapore.
The world wide developments in Information Technology has influenced the way we work and the way we teach and learn. There is now greater use of new technologies in the instructional process in technical and vocational training. This is reflected in the training programmes provided to technical trainers and teachers. Technical teacher training programmes now include a module on the use of these new technologies in teaching and learning. For example, the trainers are shown how networks and telecommunications (Internet) can be used to access information resources anywhere at anytime. Learning how to communicate in an electronic community is an essential skill today.
Technical trainers need to know how to use computer technology for modelling and simulations and this is discussed in some of the training programmes conducted for them. Multi-media applications in teaching and learning have also been incorporated in technical teacher training programmes. Computer based testing is one of the topics included in the modules on Assessment.
One other topic which has been included in the training programme for technical trainers is that of Individualized Learning. Another emerging trend in the training of technical teachers and trainers is that of developing self-learning training modules, using multimedia and computer technology. This would enable the trainer to learn at his or her own pace and at his or her own time.
In keeping with new trends and developments, technical teachers and trainers are provided with training in management skills and in personal skills. Their training has been expanded to include tropics like time management and Steven Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
The training for technical teachers and trainers in Singapore has changed in line with developments in technology and society. It will continue to develop and change to incorporate the changing needs of the learner. New technologies and new ideas will be evaluated and promoted. Educational Institutions in Singapore will strive to ensure that the training of their technical trainers and teachers will be appropriate to the needs of their students as they make their way in the world of work and in the future.