Academic journal article Journal of Technology Studies

Quality-Based Cooperative Technical Teacher Training

Academic journal article Journal of Technology Studies

Quality-Based Cooperative Technical Teacher Training

Article excerpt

Hungarian higher education is in transition from the stage of elite training to that of mass education. At the same time, according to monitoring surveys, the output efficiency level of secondary school students has decreased. These aspects, combined with the narrowing resource base due to the worsening demographic conditions, call for the renewal of global higher education and particularly technical teacher training. The authors are hoping for a breakthrough in the following items: quality-based approach in training and the organization, learning-centered philosophy instead of teacher-centered philosophy, new types of study materials and evaluation strategies, modular and credit-based curricula, and cooperative training.

Cooperative Technical Teacher Training

Technical teacher education at polytechnics in Hungary has the specialty, and the advantage, of parallel engineering and teacher training at the same time. This type of dual course work aims at preparing students for two alternative professions: engineer or technical teacher at vocational secondary schools. About three quarters of the total training hours concern engineering subjects, and one quarter of those center on pedagogical subjects. At Dunaujvaros Polytechnic (DP) there is a possibility for students to learn some engineering and pedagogical subjects in English or in German as well. More than half of the graduates work for industrial companies as an engineer. Graduates who have studied professional subjects in mechanical engineering or in information technology in foreign languages at DP are very popular, particularly at multinational firms in Hungary. Cooperative features of the training create a strong link between DP and industrial companies or other enterprises in the practical professional training of the students and between DP and vocational secondary schools in pilot teaching projects run by the students.

At the end of the sixth semester, every student spends a month at an industrial placement as an engineer assistant. In the seventh semester, there is a complex engineering project ended by a written final work and closing exam. This final work is related to the solution of a real industrial problem and is guided by an industrial expert and a supervisor of the academic staff.

Students complete a pilot teaching project in the eighth semester. The project consists of observation and trial teaching, one-month teaching practice in a vocational secondary school, and a teaching presentation. These activities are guided by a senior secondary school instructor and a supervisor of the academic staff. In the curriculum development of the technical teacher training program, theoretical and methodological aspects as follows were taken into account.

Challenge For Higher Education

Global tendencies in higher education are:

* Changing from elite training to mass education.

* Establishing common features in the national higher education systems.

* Strengthening integration and organizational restructuring.

* Gaining a multilevel character or diversification of the training.

* Enforcing institutional autonomies: constraint of the requirement of cost efficiency, development of the interconnection of higher education and research with the industry, change of paradigm in the strategy and methods of teaching and learning, improvement in quality, development of quality assurance systems, etc.

Hungarian higher education needs to follow the international tendencies of development and to adapt some of its important elements (Altbach, 1991). At the same time, in the course of changes, we cannot forget to take into account our national cultural heritage and features to preserve the actual values existing in our higher education.

As for quantitative development, Hungarian higher education has taken a considerable step towards catching up in the end of the 1990s, shown by the doubling of the number of students. …

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