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Training/Teaching Philosophy

Discussion in 'Further Education' started by elbonma, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. The college I work in is developing a Training Philosophy aimed at the teaching of engineering pupils. I wondered if anyone else has a teaching/training philosophy within their establishment or has been involved in the development of a training/teaching philosophy. If so I would be grateful to hear of any examples or success stories.

  2. No
    But I'm rather curious to know what a 'teaching/training philosophy' is. I guess we must have one de facto. But an explicit one?
  3. I would be interested in learning more about the context and process of this new training philosophy. All our teaching and learning is underpinned by philosophy. But some of the more common ones appropriate to FE are:
    Lave and Wenger's (1991) situated learning theory - this posits learning as contextual like in apprenticeship and argues against the value formal abstract types of learning in colleges in apprenticeship contexts.
    Fuller and Unwin's (2003) Expansive - restrictive apprenticeships - this is more of a professional framework for pedagogy to fit inside. It lists characteristics of quality apprenticeship.
    Then we have all manor of constructivist learning theories such as Engestrom (activity theory based on mediation of student and learning object), Dewey's transactional realism - abstract concepts linked to doing, with theory and practice integrated in activity, through intelligent action.
    We need philosophy to understand the relationships between knowledge, existence, and ethics. We might have the best learning theory in the world, but if it is not ethical, its arguably not educational. If we look at knowledge, this is sometimes abstract (propositional or factual) or/and tacit in terms of it being silent within skilled behaviour at work. We need philosophy to explain the silent bit, which might be done through the science of psychology or through a historical social theory like Lave and Wenger's above. Science may tell us what something is and how it is made up, but the meaning of an object is arguably social - e.g. science defines what a table is generally, but society gives table meaning in terms of somewhere to eat dinner, or somewhere count money, or somewhere to study, etc social meanings are multi-vocal and not always generalisable.
    In terms of vocational training and general education for that matter, we have big problems with our current transmission approach of propositional knowledge (bound up in packs and delivered like parcels, as knowledge) as opposed to developing propositional knowledge through meaningful practical activities, situated conversation, and situated instruction. Economics play a role in all of this, so the language of effectiveness and efficiency are always close by.
  4. I'm not sure that this statement is entirely the case. Is it really true that there are no meaningful practical activities in vocational teaching nowadays? Surely a plumbing student has to wield a spanner occasionally and tighten the odd bolt? If your claim is true, then it must be grim out there in the FE world.
  5. As a lecturer of engineering I'd like to think it was not true, at least not in my classess.
    What intrigued me about the OP is that it seem to suggest that a college or a faculty should make explicit the kinds of pedagogy, as described by Simon (and there is quite a bit more), that are to be practiced as some kind of policy statement.
  6. What I meant in my last statement was that more needs to be done in understanding the types of knowledge we are communicating in order to develop a meaningful pedagogy. Some would relate this to notions of applying theory to practice - but this kind of transfer is problematic, especially when dealing with students who are not always engaged with classroom type learning - most theories of education, including the ones I have stated above, rely on autonomous, self motivated, engaged students - how many of these do we have entering FE compared to HE?
    I did not mean to paint a poor picture of FE, I think teaching in FE has come a long way in terms of what we percieve to be 'professional' e.g. lesson plans, interactive white board, prescribed lesson games, group learning etc - and tutors are doing a great job, to 'deliver' this[​IMG]. But my question is around what is actually learned that can be translated into intelligent action or reflective types of comprehension - my questions revolve around the separation of theory and practice in pedagogical situations - the Germans, who did not adopt our NVQ system, say the module is no substitute for the profession, because modules of delivery are nearly always detatched from the practical activities in trade school and the social approaches to learning at work.
    In short, we need more research into vocational pedagogy, which is my own focus. I see a real need to shift away from the half day of theory, half day of practical type approaches and a shift toward what Gilbert Jessup (1991) intended oringinally for NVQs - the close integration of practice and theory, which implies integrated training and assessment - its clear to see his intentions for the NVQ were never realised. Practice and theory are perhaps split to satisfy notions of accountability, marketisation of courses and convenience - not so much what is best for learning, especially when aimed at cohorts of students that do not fit the humanistic bent that is expected of HE students.

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