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Development and Teaching Approaches of Technical and Vocational

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					                                                                                                                                 Session M5A
    Development and Teaching Approaches of Technical
           and Vocational Education Curricula
                                     Dar-Chin Rau 1, Shao-Tsu Chu 2, Yi-Ping Lin 3, Ming-Hua Chang 4


Abstract - We are living in the era of knowledge-based
economy. Faced with changes in industrial structure and                            Ovid Tzemg [8] also emphasized that we need to replace
society, diversification of social values, emergence of multi-                 the traditional teaching mode of “I teach; you listen” with an
strategy learning approaches, shifts in learning                               approach that develops students’ own abilities to collect,
approaches, and social appreciation for rapidity and                           select, filter and assimilate information; that inspires students’
values, students can no longer rely solely on what they                        creativity by developing their life-long abilities; and that
have learned from schools. Therefore, how to develop                           teaches students how to learn efficiently and actively. The
students’ ability in “learning how to learn” and “re-                          emphasis should be place on learning methods instead of
learning” and bring up their life-long learning abilities has                  knowledge accumulation. And we need to help students turn
become an important issue in vocational education. This                        their knowledge into innovative ability and knowledge
paper explores into the curriculum development and                             application ability, both of which are much needed in profit
teaching approaches for technical and vocational                               creation.
education. It is suggested that, in the era of knowledge-                          As said, in the fierce competition of a knowledge-based
based economy, an ideal curriculum for technical and                           economy, technology, innovation, adventurous spirits and
vocational education should have the following features                        initiative are much valued. In such a world where rapidity and
and supportive measures: (1) flexible curriculum                               creativity are emphasized, students must know how to use
structures, (2) attractive teaching materials, (3) diversified                 knowledge to create higher added value and hence can no
teaching approaches, (4) competency-based assessment                           longer rely solely on school education. How to develop their
mechanisms, and (5) easy access to advanced teacher                            self-learning and re-learning abilities are important issues that
training programs. There should also be correspondent                          need to be taken into considerations when developing
teaching approaches in place that stress (1) flexibility, (2)                  curricula and pedagogy for vocational education.
adaptability, and (3) competency. This paper proposes
that teachers should use problem-based learning as one of                            INNOVATION IN CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT AND
their teaching strategies to develop students’ creativity and                           PEDAGOGY FOR VOCATIONAL EDUCATION
various abilities to meet the needs of businesses, society
and individual career development.                                             I. Technical Manpower in the Era of a Knowledge-based
                                                                               Economy
Index Terms - technical and vocational education, curriculum                   In the era of a knowledge-based economy, it is important to
development, teaching approaches, problem-based learning.
                                                                               appreciate the features of such an era and the development of
                           INTRODUCTION                                        knowledge-based technical manpower before how industrial
                                                                               structures need to be transformed can be considered. Scholars
In the 21st century, the development of Internet has help                      have proposed in-depth insights in this regard. Kirby Yang
humans go beyond the limitations of national boundaries, time                  [16] mentioned, the future goal is to develop knowledge-based
and geography. In the era of knowledge-based economy,                          technical manpower, including:
where knowledge is transmitted in a rapid pace, those who                      • Technicians that possess creative, innotive and
have the knowledge are the winners [7]. Morris Chang [2]                           management abilities.
once said, “In a knowledge-based economy, the competition is                   • Manpower that has initiative, creative and executive
fierce. Technology, innovation, adventurous spirits and                            abilities, and ability to work independently as well as in a
initiative have become key factors to success. And we need to                      team.
develop talents through education and culture-related                          • Resourceful ttalents that meet the needs of technology
aspects. ” It is evident that education is the cradle of talented                  development and have adaptive and integrative abilities.
people and human resources; it is also the cornerstone of
civilization.
1
  Dar-Chin Rau, Professor, National Taiwan Normal University, e76004@cc.ntnu.edu.tw
2
  Shao-Tsu Chu, Ph.D. candidate, National Taiwan Normal University, chu400111@yahoo.com.tw
3
  Yi-Ping Lin, Ph.D. candidate, National Taiwan Normal University, living@tp.edu.tw
4
  Ming-Hua Chang, Principal, National Keelung Commercial Industrial Vocational Senior High School, t1001@mail.klcivs.kl.edu.tw
San Juan, PR                                                                                                                     July 23 – 28, 2006
                                          9th International Conference on Engineering Education
                                                                 M5A-17
                                                                                                                 Session M5A
• Technicians that know how to create disseminate and
   apply knowledge.
   Chuaong [4] said, in a knowledge-based economy,                      Therefore, in a knowledge-based economy, we need
educators need to know what kind of manpower the society            innovative curriculum development and teaching approaches
needs before appropriate educaton policies can be made. He          and must develop students’ abilities in the following aspects
brought up five key points.                                         through curriculum design and assessment:
• As technologies are advancing rapidly, students need to           • developing students’ability to learn how to re-learn.
   have innovative and re-learning abilities.                       • developing students’ ability to use, disseminate, apply and
• Basic abilities need to be improved and widened; students             innovate their knowledge.
   get into specialized fields in a later time.                     • developing students’ ability to adapt and respond to
• People specializing in technology and management are                  changes, and to integrate various information.
   appreciated in a knowledge-based economy.
• Schools are allowed more autonomy to develop and play a              In response to the needs of businesses, the concept that
   more active role.                                                education has multi-values needs to be established in addition
• Schools needs to be aware of international trends and the         to learning skills and diverse abilities. Learners need to
   importance of academic exchange.                                 achieve their goals through adaptive growth and self-
                                                                    exploration.
II. Changes in Society and Social Values
                                                                       HOW TO INNOVATE CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT FOR
Jin Wu [14] once said a knowledge-based econonmy places
                                                                                  VOCATIONAL EDUCATION
high importance to innovation while innovation comes from
cultural attainment. Cultural attainment is achieved in a rich      We are living in a knowledge-based economy and what we
cultural environment, in which education is the most important      have learned is not sufficient to cope with the fast
element. To achieve cultural attainment, multi-value education      advancement of the society. Vocational education needs to
concepts need to be established through adaptive development        look ahead and find out what students will need in the future
and self-exploration. Therefore, in a changing society,             and innovate curricula accordingly. There are two major
concepts of reason, ethics, values and free will need to be         points that need to be borne in mind.
stressed in talent development in order to help individuals
fully play their potential and develop their own values,            I. Curriculum Development and a Holistic Teaching
knowledge, human relationship, behaviour and attitudes.             Approach
Furthermore, abilities in self-expression, communication,           There are five aspects that we need to consider when
integration, analysis, apprehension and criticism also need to      designing and adopting curricula and teaching approaches.
be developed as well as the ability to create, use and              • Flexible curriculum structures: replacing elective courses
disseminate knowledge.                                                 with programs and playing their full potential role.
    Changes in social environment have diversified our social       • Vivid teaching materials: developing students’ abilities in
values. People are not satisfied with a fair living anymore.           using, disseminating, applying and innovating knowledge.
They ask for a decent life. Curriculum development must take        • Diversified teaching approaches: adopting appropriate
various needs and approaches into consideration. Teaching              teaching apprlaches according to program content in order
content needs to be revised and changed constantly to meet the         to cultivate abilities that meet demands of businesses in a
needs of the time. In a word, industries develop at an amazing         knowledge-based economy.
speed and only constant innovation can fulfill the anticipation
                                                                    • Competency-based assessment mechanisms: designing
of the society.
                                                                       assessment bases and checkup sheets according to
III. Changes in and Diversification of Learning Approach               students’     adaptive      development     and      abilities.
                                                                       Administrative staff also need to appreciate this.
In the report titled “Learning the Treasure Within” by
UNESCO, it is stressed that people must adapt themselves to         • Easy access to advanced teacher training programs :
the changes of the society through life-long learning. And             Pedagogy, teaching plan, media application, knowledge
there are four basic learning guidelines for life-long learning:       application and innovation need to change along with the
learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together, and       advent of knowledge-based economy, so teachers need to
learning to be [8]. Life-long learning places high importance          be provided easy access to teacher training programs and
to learning skills, which are the keys to successful learning. In      are encouraged to use them.
other words, learning skills are more important than what one
                                                                    II. Vocational Curriculum Design in a Knowledge-based
learns. [17]
                                                                    Economy
• Learn how to learn: Learners need to know what effective
    learning is and practice good learning methods.                 Vocational curricula can be designed based on two tracks: the
• Learn how to think: Learners need to learn how to use             academic and vocational tracks [3,9]:
    thinking strategies. Thinking training is helpful in having a
                                                                    • Academic track
    good grip on thinking strategies.
San Juan, PR                                                                                                      July 23 – 28, 2006
                                    9th International Conference on Engineering Education
                                                           M5A-18
                                                                                                                                                                  Session M5A
    Figure 1 shows the design concept of curricula for                                    foreign languages, have good communication ability and
academic track. In addition to re-learning and innovative                                 develop leadership.
abilities, it emphasizes the development of technological and                          2. With this curriculum design, students can develop abilities
cultural attainment, acquirement of knowledge, development                                in three major areas: (1) knowledge – improving ability to
of holistic person.                                                                       acquire, exchange, assimilate, apply and innovate
1. Starting from the outmost elements, include the use of                                 knowledge; (2) competence – helping students develop
    theme-based learning, problem-based learning and                                      basic daily skills and core abilities needed by businesses;
    resource-oriented learning and visiting activities, this                              (3) attitude – helping students develop basic values and
    curriculum design aims at developing students’ abilities to                           basic abilities needed by businesses worldwide.
    express themselves, establish human relationship, acquire                          3. Academic curricula aim at helping students achieve
    expertise and new knowledge, innovate knowledge, learn                                technical and cultural attainment in order to become an
                                                                                          informed holistic person.

                                                    FIGURE 1
             DESIGN CONCEPT OF TECHNOLOGICAL AND VOCATIONAL CURRICULA IN A KNOWLEDGE-BASED ECONOMY


                                       Resource-oriented                                                                                   Problem-based
                                           learning                        Expression ability and                                             learning
                                                                            human relationship


                                                     Expertise
                                                                          Basic abilities needed by                                                Theme-based
                              Visiting                                           businesses                                                          teaching
                              activities
                                                           Basic skills
                                                                                                      Knowledge
                                                                             Technical attainment




                                                                                                         Acquisition, exchange, sharing,
                                                                                                          assimilation, application and
                                                                                                            innovation of knowledge
                                                                                                                                              Innovative
                                                     Attitude
                                                                                                                                               ability to
                                                                                Knowledge
                                                                                                                                                apply
                                                         Basic                  Personality
                                       Leadership                                                                                             knowledge
                                                        abilities
                                                        needed
                                                          by                  Cultural attainment
                                                        businesses
                                                                                                                                                       Contract
                                                                                            Competence                                                 learning
                                Exhibitions                                                                       Learning
                                                                             Basic skills
                                                                                                                   ability
                                                      Communication
                                                         ability
                                                                                                                                                Extracurricular
                                Reading
                                                                               Language ability                                                   activities
                                groups
                                                    Speeches                                             Seminars




• Vocational track                                                                     2. With this curricular design, students can learn four basic
    Figure 2 shows the concept used to design curricula for                               types of competence in their senior year: (1) core
vocational track. The whole concept is career-oriented. It                                competence - basic professional knowledge, (2) work
stresses the development of professional competence (core                                 competence - basic values, abilities and skills required by
competence, work competence, individual competence,                                       businesses worldwide, (3) individual competence - career
management competence) that graduates will need when they                                 development plan, and knowledge of up-to-date
enter the job market. More importantly, it emphasizes the                                 information about industrial trends, (4) management
development of competence that businesses require.                                        competence - basic management concepts about how to
1. This curricular design starts from the introduction of                                 deal with people and business in a company. It will be an
    learning theories and stresses the importance of re-learning                          advantage if students also possess abilities in resources
    ability and the application of various teaching methods. It                           management and information management.
    aims at helping vocational track students strengthen their                         3. This curriculum design aims at improving vocational track
    ability in self-expression and human relationship. It also                            students’ technical and career abilities, as well as ability in
    stresses the acquisition of expertise, knowledge, foreign                             knowledge acquisition, competence performance and
    language and abilities in communication, innovation, and                              initiative attitude required in the era of a knowledge-based
    problem solving.                                                                      economy, so as to develop vocational talents possessing

San Juan, PR                                                                                                                                                      July 23 – 28, 2006
                                       9th International Conference on Engineering Education
                                                              M5A-19
                                                                                                                                                         Session M5A
   technical competence and meeting the requirements of
   businesses.

                                                    FIGURE 2
             DESIGN CONCEPT OF TECHNOLOGICAL AND VOCATIONAL CURRICULA IN A KNOWLEDGE-BASED ECONOMY


                                        Cooperative                                                                               Resource-oriented
                                                                          Understanding of future
                                         learning                                                                                     learning
                                                                             industrial trends

                              Problem-based
                                 learning
                                           Cooperative                   Individual competence                 Expertise
                                                                                                                                                Team
                                            attitude
                                                                                                                                              teaching


                                                                     Attitude             Understanding
                                                  Job competence




                                                                                                                Core competence
                                                                   Intention
                                                                                  Specialized
                                                                                  competence
                                                                       Care                        Knowledge
                                    Ability to
                                      make
                                       plans                                      Performance
                                         and                                      Competence                        Ability to
                                        solve
                                                                                                                     apply
                                     problems
                                                                           Management competence               information
                                                                                                                                          Theme-based
                                                                                                                                            teaching
                                 Creative
                                                                               Basic language ability
                               thinking and                                                                     Research
                                 teaching                                                                        subject




                                                                                           • Adaptive teaching and adaptive development. Every
     HOW TO INNOVATE TEACHING FOR VOCATIONAL                                                 student has interest in different things and they have
                   EDUCATION                                                                 different aptitude and abilities. Teaching should be about
                                                                                             inspiring students’ differnt potentials and encouraging
When discussing in an National Science Council research                                      them to deveop according to their own aptitude and to
program about the abilities that businesses would need in the                                learn with their classmates.
future, Dr. Rau et al. [10] said, besides expertise, there are
                                                                                           • Competence-based teaching to develop abilities that
four required abilites: teamwork ability, communication                                      meet business needs. In the era of knowledge-based
ability, expression ability, and innovation ability. Therefore,                              economy, the half-life of knowledge has been shortening
how to development these abilities required by businesses and                                annually, leading to a fierce competition among
how to innovate our teaching are two important issues that                                   businesses. Businesses must have innovation ability and
vocational education faces today. There are two major aspects                                recruit team members of different talents in order to
that require our attention:                                                                  succeed in the business world. Team members need to
I. Various teaching methods                                                                  conduct efficient brain-storming and play their full
                                                                                             potential for their business. Therefore, teachers must
Vocational education stresses the importance of developing                                   consider and help students to develop abilities that
abilities that businesses need and helping students acquire                                  businesses will need in the future.
them through learning. So, vocational teaching should lay
emphasis on flexibility and inspiration, adaptivity, and future                            II. Teaching strategies that meet the future needs of
needs of businesses. There are three guidelines to follow.                                 businesses
• Inspire students’ creativity through flexible teaching.                                  Based on the above three guidelines, this research found
    Creation is the fruit of creative thinking and critical                                problem-based learning, which has been implemented and has
    thinking. Creative thinking and critical thinking are                                  gotten good efficacy in Finland and Singapore, a very efficient
    complementary to each other. Teahcers can help inspire                                 learning method. Problem-based learning means that teachers
    students’ creativity through flexible teaching methods and                             use practical problems as core themes in class and encourage
    by giving students room and time to think for themselves.                              students to conduct group discussion in order to develop
                                                                                           student’s ability in active learning, critical thinking and
San Juan, PR                                                                                                                                             July 23 – 28, 2006
                                      9th International Conference on Engineering Education
                                                             M5A-20
                                                                                                                      Session M5A
problem solving. [15] Biggs [1] believes problem-based                  1. Select a good theme or unit name that is suitable for
learning can help students to conduct innovative thinking. The             problem-based learning: Suitable themes or unit names
reason lies in that, when a problem is presented, students                 are problems that are pertinent to daily experience and
conduct self-learning first and then group discussion. At last,            frequently seen in daily life. They must be attractive,
they will discuss with the teacher and share their ideas with              urgent, dangerous and task-oriented.
students in other groups. [6] There are two aspects that need                                                                   )
                                                                        2. Select act names based on the theme (unit names): It is
to be placed under consideration: concepts used to design and
                                                                           better that there are 3-5 acts of situations in each theme
compile teaching materials, and design concepts of teaching
                                                                           (unit) according to the range and demands of each theme.
activities. [11]
                                                                           Besides, the width and depth (difficulty) are increased act
• Concepts used to design and compile teaching materials                   by act.
    Problem-based learning has two major features: active                  Take a 3-act theme as an example: The first act emphasizes
learning and problem-finding in the process of brain-storming.          core knowledge – speak out, write down and draw a
For problem-based learning to be conducted successfully, the            conceptual diagram. The second act attaches importance to
conversation and situations designed in teaching materials and          comprehension and application of the theme - that is,
teaching plans need to be able to arouse students’ learning             proposing problem-solving methods and steps and then
motivation and interest in learning. In other words, the design         solving the problems directly. The third act increases and
of teaching materials needs to be able to improve students’             advances students’ knowledge - that is, proposing a
active learning. The steps for designing such teaching                  development project and make a practical plan. The design of
materials are described as follows.                                     such a 3-act theme is described in Figure 3.

                                                        FIGURE 3
                  CONCEPTS USED TO DESIGN AND COMPILE TEACHING MATERIALS FOR PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING


                                                                                                     Act 1
                                                                              Core knowledge
            Concept Map                                                         (cognition,
                                                                              comprehension)
                                   Modify                                                                              Act 3


                                                 Conceptual thinking
                              Analysis                                                                       Observation report
            Theme name                            Reflective thinking            Associative
                                                                                 connection                  Development plan
                                                  Intuitive thinking
                              Integration                                                                    Solution proposal
                                                  Creative thinking
                                                                                                                Outcome
                                   Modify                                                            Act 2
                                                                             Applied Knowledge
          Conceptualization                                                      (application,
                                                                             solution, innovation)




                                                                           extensive self-learning. Then they make induction and
• Design concept of teaching activities                                    bring up results at discussions.
1. Select weak-structure problems: Select problems that are             4. Conduct group discussion and induction, and share
   closely related to and frequently encountered in daily life             results: After setting up learning goals and induce
   or work. They must be attractive, urgent, dangerous and                 conclusions, students need to discuss and share what
   task-oriented. It is better to use weak-structure problems,             they’ve found in group discussions.
   which refer to problems that can inspire diffusive thinking
                                                                                               FIGURE 4
   and generate more than 10 items in the braining-storming               DESIGN CONCEPT OF TEACHING ACTIVITIES FOR PROBLEM-
   activity.                                                                               BASED LEARNING
2. Conduct diffusive thinking and set up learning goals:
   Students of different aptitudes are dispatched to groups and
                                                                             Select weak-structure                  Conduct diffusive
   use brainstorming and diffusive thinking to think out                                                                 thinking,
   weak-structure problems. They need to write down the                            problems                        set up learning goals
   information they think of on the blackboard and then
   conduct induction and set up learning goals.
3. Collect materials, conduct extensive self-learning and
   induction: Students collect materials and conduct
                                                                              Group discussing,                     Collect materials,
                                                                                                                  conduct self-extensive
                                                                            deduction and sharing                      and induce
San Juan, PR                                                                                                           July 23 – 28, 2006
                                         9th International Conference on Engineering Education
                                                                M5A-21
                                                                                                                                 Session M5A
                                                                                   Taipei: Technological and Vocational Education Bimonthly, Vol. 67, p.
                                                                                   5.
                                                                             [5 ] C oun cil Fo r Econo mic Plan ning an d Dev elop men t (2000 )
                                                                                  “Natio nal     Kno wledge-b as ed    Eco no my   Dev elop me n t
                                                                                  C onferen ce.   C oun cil  Fo r    Econ o mic  Plann ing   an d
                                                                                  Develop men t”, Ex ecutiv e Yu an .
                             CONCLUSION
                                                                             [6]   Hong, Jon-Chao (2001) “Knowledge Innovation and Learning
The half-life of knowledge is getting shorter, and the                             Organization.” Taipei: Wu-Nan Book Inc.
innovation speed is extremely fast. How to develop students’                 [7]   Hsiung, Shen-Kan (2000) “Knowledge-based Economy: both character
ability in “learning how to learn” and “re-learning” and how to                    and wisdom are important.” Taipei: Central Daily News: 2000.12.13. p.
bring up their life-long learning abilities have become                            13.
important issues that deserve our attention. This paper has                  [8]   Ministry of Education of ROC (1998) “Towards a Learning Society
discussed how vocational education can cope with the advent                        Whitepaper”, Taipei: MOE.
of knowledge-based economy from two aspects: curriculum
                                                                             [9]   Rau, D. C., Chang Ji-Cheng, Chu Shao-Tsu, Lin Yi-Pin (2004)
development and teaching. First, it proposes two sets of                           “Construction of Curriculum System for Knowledge Economy-based
concepts for academic track and vocational track respectively.                     Comprehensive High Schools”, National Science Council program: NSC
The curriculum concepts for academic track aim at helping                          92-2516-S-003-009。
students pursue higher education and holistic education that
                                                                             [10] Rau, D. C., Chang ji-cheng, Chu Shao-Tsu, Lin Yi-Pin (2005) “A study
focuses on the acquisition of knowledge and development of                        on the curricular accreditation for the technological universities and
character. The curriculum concepts for vocational track are
                                                                                   colleges - a case study on the electronic engineering program”,
career-oriented. They aim at developing expertise that meets
                                                                                   National Science Council program: NSC 93-93-2522-S-003-003。
the needs of industry so that graduates can get jobs more
easily. The two sets of curricula cannot succeed without multi-              [11] Rau, D.C., S.T. Chu, & Y.P. Lin (2004) “Four Phases to Construct
strategy teaching approaches and supportive measures. This                        Problem-Based Learning Instruction Materials.” Proceedings of
paper also proposes two concepts of curriculum design based                       International Conference on Engineering Education (ICEE 2004).
                                                                                  October 17-21, 2004. Florida, United States.
on problem-based learning: concepts used to design and
compile teaching materials, and design concepts of teaching                  [12] Rau, D.C., S.T. Chu, & Y.P. Lin (2004) “Strategies for Constructing
activities. They aim at inspiring students to develop various                     Problem-Based Learning Curriculum in Engineering Education.”
                                                                                  Proceedings of International Conference on Engineering Education
abilities. In the era of knowledge-based economy, we need                         (ICEE 2004). October 17-21, 2004. Florida, United States.
curricula and multi-strategy teaching approaches that are
                                                                             [13] Tzemg, Ovid JL (2001) “Turing knowledge to profit and innovation is
meticulously designed and meet the demands of businesses,                         where the power comes from”, Role of Universities of Technology in
society, and career development. Only by so doing can we                          the Era of Knowledge-based Economy symposium held by Southern
really evoke students’ innovation ability and develop talents                     Taiwan University of Technolog. United Daily News: 4.23, 2001, p. 23.
that businesses need.                                                        [14] Wu, Jin (2001) ”Path to Knowledge-based Economy.” Taipei:
                                                                                  Commonwealth Publishing Group.
                             REFERENCES
                                                                             [15] Wu, Ching-shan (2002) “Problem-based Learning.” Journal of
[1]   Biggs, J. (2000) “Teaching for quality learning at university.”             Education Research, Vol. 97.
      Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.
                                                                             [16] Yang , Kirb y (2003) “Development of vocational education in a
[2]   Chang, Morris (2000) “Blind Spots in Promoting Knowledge-based              knowledge-based economy.” Our Vocational Education and
      Economy in Taiwan.” United Daily News: 09.14, 2000, p.2.                    Development Forum, the 50th anniversary of the indistrial Education,
                                                                                  National Taiwan Teachers School.
[3]   Chu, Shao-Tsu (2003) “Career-Training Program for Vocational High
      School Students”. Taipei: Development and training of Manpower         [17] Zhan, Dong Liang (2001) “Knowledge-based Economy and Eduation.”
      Monthly, Aug., 2003.                                                        Taipei: Shi-Da Bookstore.
[4]   Chuaong Chein-Ben, et al. (2002) “Imparative Strategies of Technical
      and Vocational Education in the era of Knowledge-based Economy.”




San Juan, PR                                                                                                                     July 23 – 28, 2006
                                          9th International Conference on Engineering Education
                                                                 M5A-22

				
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