Training and Education is more than Subject Knowledge
Ignorance in understanding the learning journey is dangerous. The needs of the learner, the needs of industry, the needs of the educator and the needs of the training provider are all vital ingredients of the VET Sector pie.
Demanding upgrade in TAE qualifications does not address any needs. Qualification upgrade for experienced and competent trainers does not inform their training. Likewise, having a TAE qualification does not make an effective educator.
Industry currency does not make an effective educator. Demands for higher level of content knowledge or currency may produce more competent content specialist but will not automatically create more skilled teachers or trainers.
Effective teaching, training and assessment is about an informed approach to facilitating the learning process. It is deep. It takes time. It is about meaningful assessment.
Effective teaching, training and assessment is more about applying learning knowledge and developing skills. Emergent understanding of the skills and processes grow competently and holistically to deliver a skill with care and insight that contains subject specific knowledge.
Effective teaching, training and assessment is about having the skills and understanding to work with a diverse range of students who have a diverse range of skills, knowledge and experience, learning abilities, aptitudes, attitudes, workplace requirements, training package requirements ... and the list goes on. You get the idea.
While highly developed subject knowledge and skill is desirable, teaching and assessment skills are essential. Teaching, training and assessment skills are ongoing. It is a continuous process.
Subject knowledge does not equate to effective teaching skills or effective teaching of that subject.
Knowledge of adult learning principles, including teaching for diverse levels, planning the learning, engaging the learner, managing the classroom, understanding assessment principles, understanding the learner’s receptive skills and learning styles will increase the teacher or trainer’s effectiveness – far more than subject/ content knowledge.
Being a brilliant nurse, carer, hairdresser or mechanic may even impede your teaching ability if you lack the ability to empathise and align with the student needs. Being aware of the student’s individual needs, learning needs, assessment needs and communication needs are essential.
To improve standards, we need to understand what VET is about. It is about collaboration and support. VET is a tripartisan arrangement – with the student, the trainer and industry. It is through the power of collaboration and support that we will build industry to support national prosperity. But it is essential to support quality teaching, training and assessment. At least, understand what quality training and education is.