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Vocational pedagogy: What it is, why it matters and how to put it into practice

Introduction | Messages | Participants

Vocational pedagogy: What it is, why it matters and how to put it into practice

UNEVOC e-Forum, 12 to 26 May 2014


The key message of the 2014 EFA Global Monitoring Report on teaching and learning was very clear: there is a global learning crisis. Despite efforts to improve universal access to education, 250 million children are not learning even the basic skills, let alone the skills they need to thrive in the world of work. The report underlines that more efforts should be made to ensure that children actually learn when they go to school, which can be achieved when governments invest in well-qualified and motivated teachers (UNESCO, 2014).

The importance of good teachers is also true for technical and vocational education and training. The Third International TVET Congress emphasized that for the quality of TVET to improve it is imperative to “develop effective policies aimed at improving teaching and learning processes” (UNESCO, 2012). TVET teachers have a distinctive role to play: not only do they need to be experts in their subject, they also need to have a solid understanding of pedagogy. However, to what extent do teachers of technical and vocational subjects actually need a different pedagogical approach than teachers in general education? While there is a wealth of literature on academic pedagogy, there is much less research in technical and vocational education. The concept of “vocational pedagogy” is generally under-researched and has not yet been considered much in the global debate on TVET.

To further our understanding of vocational pedagogy, UNESCO-UNEVOC is organizing a virtual conference to be held from 12 to 26 May 2014 on the UNEVOC e-Forum. Moderated by Professor Dr Bill Lucas, Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning, Professor of Learning at the University of Winchester (United Kingdom) and co-creator of the Expansive Education Network, this virtual conference will explore what vocational pedagogy is, why it matters and how teachers can put it into practice. Over a two-week period, the discussion will focus on what teaching and learning methods work best in TVET, how these may differ from general or academic education and how teachers can become more confident and competent in vocational pedagogy.

UNESCO-UNEVOC is calling for e-Forum members and the global TVET community to share their experiences, practices and concerns on teaching and learning in TVET and is looking forward to hearing from policy makers, researchers, practitioners, and of course teachers and learners in TVET. The contributions will be synthesized and summarized into a report, which will provide directions for future research and programme work in this field.

Your active participation in the discussion would be most gratefully received and we strongly encourage you to circulate this announcement to your networks.

Read the background note

Vocational Pedagogy: What it is, why it matters and what we can do about it
by Bill Lucas (May 2014, pdf)

List of resources

About the moderator

Since September 2008, Bill has been Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning and Professor of Learning at the University of Winchester. Previously the first CEO of the Campaign for Learning and a school/college leader, Bill now combines leading a his research centre and running his own learning strategy business. Bill’s main research interests focus on learnable intelligence and embodied cognition. His research, often co-written with his colleague Professor Guy Claxton has been widely published. Later in May 2014 his research into the training and educating of engineers for the Royal Academy of Engineering will be published.

How does it work

Once you have signed up and the conference has started, you will receive an opening email by the moderator, Professor Bill Lucas. You can then reply to this message and will receive any contributions made by other conference participants. Note that all messages will be checked by UNESCO-UNEVOC before dissemination, so there may sometimes be delays, especially outside office hours (9am-5pm CET). For questions, please contact us at unevoc.e-forum(at)unesco.org

How to sign up

Please use the registration form to sign up for the conference. You will then be added to a conference mailing list and will receive all contributions via email. Note that if you do not wish to receive email notifications, you can also participate using the online interface by logging on with your UNEVOC account.

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