Designing Vocational and Technical Teacher Education for the 21st Century: Implications from the Reform Literature
Information Series No. 368
Recognition of the need for substantive change in vocational teacher education has been growing in recent years. Vocational-technical teachers have followed a different preparation path since the Smith-Hughes Act established a separate system for vocational training. This path has been increasingly challenged by end-of-the-century changes in the workplace and new knowledge about teaching and learning. This paper reviews reform initiatives in teacher education generally and in vocational teacher education, identifying a shift from Charles Prosser’s essentialist philosophy toward John Dewey’s progressivism and contemporary theories of constructivism as the philosophical bases for vocational teacher education.
The monograph explores the following aspects of excellence in teacher preparation through a review of research: What must teachers know about teaching, learning, and subject matter? What is the subject matter of vocational education? What must teachers know about students? Where does the knowledge come from in vocational education, and how does it differ from general education? Is teaching (and teacher education) based on intuition and experience or a researchable knowledge base? What is effective teaching? How does knowledge translate into practice? What do highly effective teacher educators need to know and be able to do to develop highly effective teachers?
Principles for vocational-technical teacher education (or work-based teacher education) are elaborated, and a synthesis of reform themes from the literature emphasizes an important theme: the need for a new vision for work-based teacher education. The paper describes the following components of a model for the design of work-based teacher education: philosophical foundations, principles, standards of knowledge and practice, curriculum framework, and assessment. The design implications presented call for a bachelor’s degree requirement, collaboration, a broader conceptualization of the field, professional development commissions, and a culture of lifelong learning.
Information on vocational-technical teacher education reform may be found in the ERIC system using the following descriptors: Curriculum Development, *Educational Change, Educational Philosophy, Educational Principles, Labor Force Development, *Teacher Education Curriculum, *Teacher Education Programs, Teacher Effectiveness, Technical Education, Vocational Education, *Vocational Education Teachers. Asterisks indicate descriptors that are particularly relevant.
Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education