Vocational Education Teacher

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Building Stronger Program Advisory Committees in Massachusetts Vocational Schools

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

In Massachusetts, schools must establish Program Advisory Committees for each of their state-approved vocational programs. These committees are required by state regulation. In some schools, they are known as Craft Advisory Committees or Advisory Councils. In the regulation (603 CMR 4.03), they are called Program Advisory Committees so that’s how I’ll refer to them.

As set out in the regulations, it’s the job of the committee “… to advise, assist and support school personnel in order to improve planning, operation and evaluation in its program area. Such advice shall be based on adequate and timely information as to workforce and job development demands or job market trends, technological developments, training alternatives and other factors affecting the quality of the program.”

There are basically three great reasons to care about these advisory committees. First, they are required by the state. Second, your school will be cited during its next Coordinated Program Review if these committees don’t exist or don’t meet state requirements. Third, these committees can actually improve the quality of your vocational programs.

In other words, whether you’re a Superintendent-Director worried about simply complying with state regulations or you’re somebody who really wants to improve vocational programming, you should care about the composition and quality of your Program Advisory Committees.

No matter what your motivation, here are a few tips to help you build stronger committees:

1. Assess What You’ve Got. Someone at your school should be keeping track of who is on the committees and what group they represent. If not, ask someone to develop a list. Your Vocational Director is a likely choice, but that may differ from school to school. Look at the list. The regulations require these committees to have certain members. Among other things, they must include representatives from Business and Industry, Organized Labor, Postsecondary Institutions, Parents/Guardians, Students, and Registered Apprenticeship Programs (if the vocational program area has apprentice programs). These are mandatory. If you are missing representation from one or more of these categories, it sticks out like a sore thumb and must be corrected. It puts you out of legal compliance. In addition, the regulations state that “every effort shall be made to ensure that membership on the Advisory Committee includes females, racial and linguistic minorities, persons with disabilities and individuals in occupations nontraditional for their gender…”

2. Make This a Priority at Your School. Tell your Administrative Team, your faculty, and your Program Advisory Committees that you want strong committees and ask them to help you achieve that. Ask them to help identify people who might fill any “gaps” in the membership lists. In my experience, Program Advisory Committees are one of the not-so-secret weapons in the vocational education arsenal. Having outsiders, especially outsiders from the private sector, give us regular advice keeps our administrators, our teachers, and our programs fresh. They keep us current. They keep us on our toes.

3. Fill the Gaps. Identify any “gaps” on your committees and start the process to fill them. (The process itself will likely differ from school to school.) Pay special attention to the five or six “mandatory” categories. Those are the ones that really count.

4. Don’t Cheat. Make sure to follow the rules — and use common sense. The regulations state clearly that members of the school committee, school officials and school employees cannot serve on these committees. Don’t include them. That means teachers, teaching assistants, administrative assistants, administrators, school committee members, or others employed by the school cannot serve. Teachers and staff can attend these meetings. They can provide information to the committee members. They can answer questions. But they cannot serve on these committees. They cannot make motions or vote. The point of having program advisory committees is to get a good cross-section of outside input. Having faculty and staff running the meetings – or even dominating the meetings – defeats the whole purpose. If they have been serving, remove them. Finally, college students cannot be listed as representing Postsecondary Education. Representatives of higher education must actually be employed by the institution.

5. Develop a Plan. If you’re still having trouble filling all of the “gaps” in the membership matrix, it’s time for you to assign another job to a trusted staff member: Develop a formal written Outreach Plan describing what the school hopes to do to recruit a broader membership to its Program Advisory Committees.

Elementary School Teachers, Counselors, and Career Education

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

As teachers and counselors, you know that the elementary school years are important. During the elementary school years, your students build visions of what they desire to do in their lives as they contribute to the workforce. With your help, your students remain open to new career ideas and possibilities. As you work with your students, your students do not make premature career choices or career preparations. For your students, elementary school is a time to build awareness.

As elementary school teachers and counselors, you use career education to promote self-worth, skill development, and decision making strategies. Your activities are designed to build self, family, school, community, and career awareness. You use age-appropriate materials that match your students’ developmental levels. These activities expose your students to a variety of different jobs, career information sources, and the reasons why people work.

When you prepare to develop age-appropriate materials products, tests and tools, you use career models like the National Career Development Guidelines (NCDG). The National Career Development Guidelines (NCDG) have domains, goals, and indicators. Each domain represents a developmental area. Under each domain, there are goals or competencies. For each goal, indicators highlight the knowledge and skills needed to achieve the goal. The National Career Development Guidelines (NCDG) prepares you to make materials that are suitable for your students.

As a elementary school counselors and teachers, you create individual career plans and portfolios. Individual career plans (ICP) –

  • Develop self-awareness
  • Identify initial career goals and educational plans
  • Increase employability and decision making skills

Individual career portfolios summarize career awareness activities and experiences that occur during the school year. In addition to individual career plans and portfolios, you use a variety of resources –

    Career days

  • Career fairs
  • Community speakers
  • Field trips
  • Information interviewing
  • Literary works
  • Mentors
  • Collages, murals
  • Educational games
  • Job shadowing
  • Dramatic presentations

All of the career activities and tools combine academic work with career pathways. Career activities serve as foundations for future skills. As teachers and counselors, you help students build connections between academics and real life situations. You use career education activities to stress the importance of language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.

You show students that Language Arts have many uses in the work force:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening skills

You provide examples that show how people solve problems when they use Mathematics. Different types of Mathematics include:

  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Multiplication
  • Division

In Social Studies, your students learn how skills that are necessary to be successful in the global marketplace. In Social Studies, your students learn about –

  • Countries
  • Languages
  • Cultures

Your students learn the importance of Science gaining skills to solve problems. You show your students how applications of Science are used in different industries, such as –

  • Food
  • Media
  • Agriculture
  • Automotive industry

The connections between academics and real life situations reinforce, develop, and expand previously learned skills. In summary, as a elementary school teachers and counselors, you help students:

  • Know and value self
  • Build self-esteem and confidence
  • Learn and apply the academic material
  • Identify interests and build relationships between the school environment and the work force
  • Build academic, communication, problem solving, and social skills
  • Increase awareness of the need for future jobs skills
  • See the connections between learning in school, academic skills, job related skills, and careers
  • See career possibilities
  • See themselves as a future contributor to the job force
  • Receive empowerment
  • Build self-determination

As counselors and teachers, you build self-awareness, family awareness, school awareness, community awareness, career/ work awareness, attitude development, skill development, decision making strategies, and self-worth. You use age-appropriate materials that match the developmental levels of the students. Examples of activities include individual career plans (ICP), individual career portfolios, career days, career fairs, field trips, information interviewing, and library book reports.

After completing career education activities, your students are prone to get higher grades, academic achievement, school involvement, and interpersonal skills. In addition, your students are more adept to complete more complex courses and have higher graduation rates from high school. As your students get older, they will achieve their career visions and goals.

References

1. American Counseling Association, Office of Public Policy and Legislation. (2007). Effectiveness of School Counseling. Alexandria, VA: Author.

2. Angel, N. Faye; Mooney, Marianne. (1996, December). Work-in-Progress: Career and Work Education for Elementary Students. (ED404516). Cincinnati, OH: Paper presented at the American Vocational Association Convention.

3. Benning, Cathleen; Bergt, Richard; Sausaman, Pamela. (2003, May). Improving Student Awareness of Careers through a Variety of Strategies. Thesis: Action Research Project. (ED481018). Chicago, Illinois: Saint Xavier University.

4. Career Tec. (2000). K-12 Career Awareness & Development Sequence [with Appendices, Executive and Implementation Guide]. (ED450219) .Springfield, Il: Author.

5. Carey, John. (2003, January). What are the Expected Benefits Associated with Implementing a Comprehensive Guidance Program. School counseling Research Brief 1.1. Amherst, MA: Fredrickson Center for School Counseling Outcome Research.

6. Dare, Donna E.; Maddy-Bernstein, Carolyn. (1999, September). Career Guidance Resource Guide for Elementary and Middle/Junior High School Educators. (ED434216). Berkeley, CA: National Center for Research in Vocational Education.

7. DuVall, Patricia. (1995).Let’s Get Serious about Career Education for Elementary Students. AACE Bonus Briefs. (ED386603). Hermosa Beach, CA: AACE Bonus Briefs.

8. Ediger, Marlow. (2000, July). Vocational Education in the Elementary School. (ED442979) Opinion Papers

9. Gerver, Miriam, Shanley, Judy, O Cummings, Mindee. (2/14/02). Answering the Question EMSTAC Extra Elementary and Middle Schools. Washington, DC: Technical Assistance Center, (EMSTAC).

10. Hurley, Dan, Ed.; Thorp, Jim, Ed. (2002, May). Decisions without Direction: Career Guidance and Decision-Making among American Youth. (ED465895). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Ferris State University Career Institute for Education and Workforce Development.

11. Maddy-Bernstein, Carolyn; Dare, Donna E. (1997,December).Career Guidance for Elementary and Middle School Students. Office of Student Services Brief, v9 n1. (ED415353). Berkeley, CA: National Center for Research in Vocational Education.

12. Ohio Department of Education, Division of Vocational and Career Education, Ohio Career Development Blueprint, Individual Career Plan, K to 5 (ED449322). Columbus, Ohio, 2000

13. Splete, Howard; Stewart, Amy. (1990). Competency-Based Career Development Strategies and the National Career Development Guidelines. Information Series No. 345. (ED327739). Columbus, Ohio: ERIC Clearinghouse on Education and Training for Employment & Ohio State University

14. U.S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education. (1994, 2004). National Career Development Guidelines (NCDG). Washington, DC: Author.

15. Williams, Jean A., Ed. (1999, January). Elementary Career Awareness Guide: A Resource for Elementary School Counselors and Teachers. (ED445293). Raleigh, NC: NC Department of Public Instruction, NC Job Ready.

16. Woal, S. Theodore. (1995). Career Education–The Early Years. AACE Bonus Briefs. (ED386603). Hermosa Beach, CA: AACE Bonus Briefs.

Special Education Teacher – 5 Essential Qualities Of A Good SEN Teacher

Monday, June 26th, 2017

The fundamental rule of imparting special education to children with special learning needs is to accept the child ‘at his or her individual’ level and to design a learning program best suited to the strengths of the individual.

In order to meet this goal, it is imperative for parents and care-givers of children with special needs and heads of special schools to hire good SEN teachers who will be instrumental in achieving the all round development of the learners.

Learning about the 5 essential qualities of a good special educator brings you that much closer to your goal of hiring the best candidate: read on to find out what these are!

1. A good special needs teacher must possess industry certifications in order to plan, implement and improve on group teaching and 1:1 teaching programs, according to the needs of a school or individual curriculum, as the case may be. Thus, a licensed or experienced special education needs (SEN) teacher will have the knowledge and qualifications required to base the framework of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) on the current level of learning of a child and set correct objectives for a learner in her care, which is what is required to facilitate optimum training programs.

2. Good SEN teachers focus on assessing the social skills, learning behaviour and positive reinforcers that help a particular child with special learning needs pick up educationally relevant and individually needed functional skill-sets to become a well-adjusted, capable individual.

3. A good special educator will see to all aspects of a child’s special education needs, including performance in motor, self-help, socialization and language skills besides improving scholastic functioning. To develop these functional skills to a satisfactory level, a dedicated SEN teacher will work in a consistent manner to help the special child achieve these to the best of his or her ability, before moving on to developing pre-vocational and vocational skills according to observations they’ve made of the child’s interest, aptitude and skill levels.

4. Empathy, enthusiasm and experience are must-have personality traits in a special educator. So, apart from the above qualities, look for a SEN teacher (or bright teaching assistant who can be groomed into a good SEN teacher with the right training or in-service program) with a keen interest in analyzing schooling instructional methods, the child’s achievement records and behaviour patterns as well as IQ test results. A good special educator will combine these aspects with the priority needs and interests of the child and work on designing a child-centric educational plan.

5. Finally, it is very important to choose a professional who encourages and uses parental involvement for helping a special needs learner move closer to a particular goal as much as she values innovation and use of a variety of strategies for evolving an IEP that benefits a child with special needs.