Actions Proposed by Teachers to Improve the Delivery of Pre-Vocational Education in Jordan
Sa'aideh, Mon'im Al- A., Journal of Instructional Psychology
Reforms of education often ignore teachers' contribution particularly in the third world countries. These reforms usually rely on personal opinions of the individuals of decisions makers. Pre-vocational education (PVE) in Jordanian schools, face numerous problems. In this study, perspectives of teachers were elucidated qualitatively (through semi-structured interviews) and analysed to synthesize a course of actions to improve PVE delivery. These perspectives addressed different elements of the educational system: the curriculum, the teacher, the students, the supervisor, the school system and administration, the PVE workshop. The rationale behind each proposed action was analysed in addition to its contribution to improvement. Also, connecting of each proposal to the real situation of schools was discussed in order to investigate the probability of its implementation.
"Reforms have often ignored teachers except as tools to carry out new mandates and programs. But evidence that teachers are the most important factor in the effectiveness of schools and the quality of a child's education is now too strong to ignore. Teachers are not constants in the educational equation. Instead, they are perhaps the most important variable" (Judith Lioyd Yero, 2001-2002, p. 1)
Educational literature for the new century establishes that programs that promote teacher leadership and effectiveness while empowering teachers to drive the reform of education are the key to continuous improvement. Meaningful communication and consensus building among teachers, curriculum developers, and decision makers are essential to this process (Johnsons, Stevens and Zvoch, 2004).
According to Leahy (2006) and Education Improvement Commission. (2002), the perceptions among teachers, is an important area of research if teaching is to maintain its high standing. So it was important for this study to use perceptions of the teachers who are the most knowledgeable in PVE delivery as a direct source of data. That was because teachers work within the whole context of the delivery system and can identify the shortcomings of each party. Therefore, they can suggest solutions to overcome such shortcomings and to improve the delivery of the subject they teach.
The connection between education and work was recognised very early in the Eighteenth Century (Lawson, 1993; Gang, 1989). With the evolution of industrialisation, several countries, introduced vocational training into their elementary and secondary schools (Compton, 1997). It was argued that there was a need to teach youngsters the basic skills needed by industry (Lawson, 1993).
Morris (2000) mentioned that Prevocational education (PVE) received a big impetus when UNESCO perceived general education as incomplete without an introduction to vocational aspects and to technology. This was expressed in the eighteenth session of the general conference of UNESCO as follows:
"An initiation to technology and to the world of work should be an essential component of general education without which this education is incomplete .An understanding of the technological facet of modern culture in both positive and negative attributes, and an appreciation of work requiring practical skills should thereby be acquired.... The technical and vocational initiation in the general education of youth should fulfil the educational requirements of all ranges of interest and ability (UNESCO, 1974, p.7)".
The introduction of vocational education to students at this early stage (primary and early secondary) does not aim to prepare them for employment, but is rather intended to improve their general abilities and explore their interests through offering them a wide variety of experiences. Regarding the content and structure of such introductory programs, it was recommended that they should have a balance between theoretical and practical work (Psacharopoulos, 1997). …