Vocational educators in vocational education

In a cooperation between Archimedes Institute and the Vocational Education Research Group
a 4-year project has started in September 2010 in order to strengthen teacher education in upper secondary vocational education.

Based on the revenue from the project ‘Teachers in vocational education’ (‘PiB’ in Dutch, see below) and the national recommendation of the Education Council (2011), the content and design aspects related to the increase and improvement of teacher education for vocational education within Archimedes Institute are monitored. The monitor focuses on issues that are taken on by the Institute and teacher education programs, in particular how these issues are reflected in the curriculum, the expertise of teacher educators and the policy, organization and culture of the Institute for Teacher Education. These data are discussed with educators and managers within the Archimedes Institute so it becomes clear what choices will / will not be made and with what result. On this basis, policy and implementation can be adjusted. This way research has a supportive and stimulating function. In this sense, besides the role of researcher, Monique has a supportive and an advisory role. For example, in 2011-2012 she supported the expert committee vocational education with the development of pedagogical assignments for students in placements in vocational education and she thinks along with the design of the profile ‘vocational education’ that is being offered in the New educational design of Archimedes Institute.

Teachers in vocational education (‘Professional in Beeld’ - PiB)

The innovative research project PiB had a duration of 3.5 years (January 2008 – October 2011) and aimed to explicate the craftsmanship of vocational education teachers and to develop educational and professional activities towards this craftsmanship.
The motive for the project was the observation of the partners that the craftsmanship of
teachers in vocational education generally does not meet the teacher’s requirements that arise from a specific (pre-)vocational secondary education ((V)MBO) context. Furthermore, these requirements are not adequately reflected in teacher education and professional development programs for new and existing staff.

In PiB three VMBO schools (Trajectum College, Minkema College, Flora College) and Archimedes Institute of HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (HU) worked together. The project had four learning communities: one within teacher education of HU, the remaining three VMBO schools worked individually and together to achieve project objectives. The Vocational Education Research Group has supported the learning communities for 3.5 years and conducted accompanying research.
In October 2011 two research reports were published:

‘Profiling the Vocational Teacher'

This report, written by Sabine van den Brink, Wenja Heusdens, Monique van de Laarschot and Angela Pfaff, gives insight into the results of the innovative research project. Involvement, connecting (school) knowledge and context-oriented work emerge as important aspects of the craftsmanship of the VMBO-teacher.

‘The learning ability of learning-communities'

This report, written by Harmen Schaap, Haske van Vlokhoven, Karin Swierts and Elly de Bruijn, shows that the learning-communities have potential to be a powerful tool. This to connect individual and collective learning in the context of innovations. At the same time it should be noted that "putting together" professionals does not automatically lead to meaningful interaction, reflection or a shared identity. The report looks at factors that play a role.

In addition a training product ‘Reflective Practitioner’ has been developed based on the experiences of the project PiB. The project PiB worked with four learning-communities: three learning-communities at VMBO schools and one at Archimedes Institute. This training has been developed for the participants for the purpose of sharing, learning from each other and critically reflecting on and researching their own practice.
In this publication we describe the design of the training as it is offered to students, teachers and educators who want to look critically at their own practice. In the Annex, the background of the training in the context of PiB is included: the development, implementation and evaluation of the training.
For more information please contact the Vocational Education Research Group of the HU: lectoraatberoepsonderwijs@hu.nl.

More information about Teachers in vocational education (PiB)

On Thursday 13 October 2011 the conference ‘Teacher’s craftsmanship’ was organized for anyone with an interest in improving pre-vocational education and completion of the project PiB and its research results. During the conference participants of the research project PiB presented their research results. The research reports can be requested through the Vocational Education Research Group.