Teachers' Modeling Advantage and Their Modeling Effects on College Students' Learning Styles and Occupational Stereotypes: A Case of Collaborative Teaching in Technical Courses

Article excerpt

Hospitality has been a mainstream service industry in the 21st century. It is also designated as the target industry by the Taiwanese government. Higher education in the hospitality field in Taiwan is managed by the system of vocational education and aims to raise the level of expertise among practicing professionals. In order to maximize efficiency in training professionals, collaborative teaching has been widely adopted. The technical courses are taught by both professionals (as the technical teachers) and the academic instructors (as the lecturing teachers) to the same students simultaneously. The technical teachers are primarily responsible for the demonstration of practical skills, whereas the lecturing teachers are in charge of illustrating the principles and theories underlying those skills.

Social learning theory (Bandura, 1977, 1986) has noted that a considerable amount of learning takes place in the absence of direct reinforcement, either positive or negative, through a process called modeling or observational learning. Modeling, then, is a process through which individuals learn behaviors, attitudes, values, and beliefs by observing others and the consequences of others' actions. In an educational context, teachers are one of the important role models in students' learning processes. If students recognize teachers as role models, teachers will have an impact on what students learn through social learning.

Considering the modeling effects of teachers on students in technical courses, students' learning styles and occupational stereotypes were chosen in the present study because they are both important to learning and career development. Learning styles influence the academic achievement of college students and certain styles may be more effective for particular activities in the classroom environment (Matthews, 1991). Reading-Brown and Hayden (1989) found that, in higher education, college students' learning styles impact their choice in entering a given institution that would meet their needs. On the other hand, occupational stereotypes are important to students in terms of learning, future career development, and life decisions. Recent studies point out that the modeling effects of teachers have a considerable influence on students' occupational stereotypes (Franken, 1983; Reid, 1995; Beall & Sternberg, 1993). Fox and Renas (1977) demonstrated that students' role models had a crucial influence on their vocational roles. Tiedemann (2000) found that the beliefs of teachers were effective predictors of students' gender-role stereotypes. Thus, teachers in the collaborative teaching of technical courses may affect college students' learning styles and occupational stereotypes through their modeling behaviors.

Within the context of collaborative teaching in technical courses, two teachers engage the same students who may exhibit different learning styles, personalities, and missions. It would be interesting to learn, when the two role models are juxtaposed, which may have more impact on students' learning styles and occupational stereotypes. This study attempts to construct a concept of modeling advantage to investigate the relative advantage of competing types of instructors on students' social learning. Modeling advantage is defined as what the student observers perceive to be the advantages of the two individual role models. This can be a dominant factor in learning style as well as the career type.

In this study, we sought to investigate the modeling effects of two kinds of teachers (the technical teachers vs. the lecturing teachers) in collaborative teaching courses on college students' learning styles and occupational stereotypes.

MODELING ADVANTAGE IN COMPETING MODELS

In everyday life, people often learn by observing what others are doing. Through social learning, we do not learn directly, but rather by observing others. Bandura (1977, 1986) and his colleagues have performed numerous experiments showing that social learning is an effective way of learning. …