Empowering the YOUTH...
Pedagogy for Vocational Education and Training should
become a priority
Vocational Education and Training (VET) is
becoming more important than ever. In the current financial climate it is crucial that we support a high quality vocational education system to accelerate economic growth and allow young people to play a role in future economic competitiveness and sustainability in a global economy. To do so, VET needs to encourage more learners to follow a VET route, re-skill, up-skill and address skills gaps and shortages to provide employers with the expertise they need.
Across the world, countries are putting more emphasis and making significant investments on improving the quality and equity of vocational education in their
education system. To do so they:
- Pledge to seek ways to expand their vocational education and training provisions and support the
creation of apprenticeships, internships, work
pairings, college and workplace training places
- Put effort into ensuring that their VET provision
provides more opportunities for disadvantaged groups
- Check that the system is flexible so as to allow access to training and qualifications at all stages of life
- Ensure the highest possible quality of education and training
Importantly, and rightly so, one of the foci of system reform as seen above in improving vocational education and training is the provision of high quality education and training. This in turn assumes a high quality teaching workforce and particularly high quality vocational learning and teaching. Learning and teaching has consistently been identified as the primary factor influencing learner outcomes. This is a finding from a number of influential studies including an international comparison study that examined the characteristics of twenty-five, OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) education systems in the world, including ten of the top performers. The research concluded that an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers; highlighted that teacher quality has a direct impact on pupil outcomes; and pointed out that it is its variation that is the main driver in the variation of student learning.
Key to the delivery of excellent learning and teaching is knowledge and understanding about pedagogy. Vocational education however has historically been neglected both in terms of investment and research. As a result there has been inadequate attention paid to different vocational pedagogies and a lack of reliable data on their effectiveness. This lack of focus on vocational pedagogy has proved a barrier to the creation of a more practical and vocational education system. Further, there has been a lack of coherent research based learning and teaching models and these have often been dictated by the specific knowledge and technical skills necessitated by the curriculum or programme. Thus, there is a gap between the teaching and curriculum pictured by curriculum designers and what occurs and is needed in practice.
Although progress has been made through a number of research projects such as the OECD’s Learning for Jobs which reviewed VET in a number of countries across the world, and those conducted
individually by countries such as the
Learning and teaching Research Programme’s (TLRP) Learning and teaching Cultures Project (TLC), VET continues to be ‘left behind’ with its pedagogy being still underdeveloped.
The above facts highlight the urgent need for policy makers to make research on vocational pedagogies, and effective learning and teaching models that have the potential to deliver it as its best policy priority. LSN with City and Guilds are carrying out an important research project, which will examine learning and teaching for Vocational Education and Training in England. In particular the project will seek to identify the teaching and learning for developing the skills for
economic competitiveness and sustainability.
The approach will involve a literature review and visits to Further Education Colleges. The literature review will provide an overview of vocational education and training in England, examining the theory and application of practical learning, and allow us to derive more focused research
The visits will involve a total of 21 observations of different VET subjects and interviews with practitioners and their learners. The purpose of the visits will be to identify whether the teaching and learning identified in literature is used in practice and in what way, but also identify any other aspects of teaching and learning that might have not been recorded in the literature.
The outputs of the projects will include: a report on the findings of the project; a set of practical teaching models that could be replicated in practice; and
guidance materials to support vocational teachers.
— Elpida Ahtaridou, is a
Researcher in the Teaching, Learning,
Curriculum & Qualifications team, LSN