Vocational Teacher Education Reform
The reform movements of the 1980s triggered numerous demands to reexamine and reform the way students and their teachers are educated. This Digest examines the implications for vocational teacher education emerging from general teacher education reform movements. It discusses how excellence in vocational education teaching can be achieved and proposes 21st century models for vocational teacher education.
Impacts of Reform Movements on Vocational Teacher Education
Several of the major reform initiatives of the 1980s and early 1990s argued that improving education requires improving teacher quality and, accordingly, teacher education. Numerous changes in teacher recruitment, preparation, and certification were proposed. (For a detailed list, see Hartley, Mantle-Bromley, and Cobb 1996.) In response to the calls for reform, general teacher education programs raised admission standards/exit requirements; revised curricula to reflect multiculturalism and new K-12 standards; paid more attention to pedagogy, teaching practice, and relevance; included clinical experiences in public schools and other learning environments; and proposed new model standards/principles for licensing beginning teachers (Lynch 1997).
As of 1989, the only major impacts of national education reform movements on vocational teacher education at the macro (national) level were stiffer requirements for entry into teacher education programs and, to a lesser extent, more credit hours/time devoted to student teaching/clinical-type experiences with public schools (Lynch 1991). Until 1993, the discussion of reform of teacher education in the vocational education literature was limited to individual authors' suggestions for a vocational education response to reform initiatives and comments on the problems posed by pressures for reform (Lynch 1997).
In response to mounting evidence of the deterioration of vocational teacher education, (Dykman 1993), the University Council for Vocational Education and the National Association of State Directors of Vocational Technical Education Consortium formed a joint task force that identified 13 points for initiating a reform process entailing designing and implementing a customer-driven learning system and an accountability system (Lynch 1997). Like earlier publications examining general teacher education, the responses to the task force report focused on the need for excellence in vocational teacher education.
Issues in Achieving Excellence
Debate on the question of how to pursue excellence in vocational teacher education programs focused on vocational education's mission, audience, and delivery.
New Mission?--Until the advent of the reform movement, vocational education had been viewed as a separate system of education intended to meet the nation's labor needs by providing below-college-level training for specific occupations (Lynch 1997). In the late 1980s, that view began to...