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Preparing Teachers to Successfully Integrate Vocational and Academic Education: A Case Study Approach (MDS-780)

B. J. Schmidt, C. R. Finch, S. L. Faulkner, J. Kandies

The 46 cases provided in this publication focus on developing effective vocational and academic education integration strategies. An instructor using the cases can search for examples of successful integration strategies, and inversely, the absence of such strategies in a variety of instructional and school settings. Case study use in education and other fields has revealed that students enjoy cases and, in the process of using them, appear to improve their problem-solving and decision-making skills. In addition, these cases set the stage for team building, a component essential in the implementation of vocational and academic education integration.

The cases are based on recent research completed for the National Center for Research in Vocational Education on teachers' roles in the integration of vocational and academic education. Through the use of interview procedures, the study documented experiences of vocational and academic teachers, principals, other administrators, and counselors who had successfully implemented the integration in their schools. In developing the cases, actual names and locations have not been used and the situations have been adapted as needed to present basic concepts and concerns related to the integration.

The cases are organized into four functional themes: (1) Cooperative Efforts, (2) Curriculum Strategies, (3) Instructional Strategies, and (4) Administrative Practices and Procedures. The themes emerged from experiences described by the individuals interviewed. The first three themes represent stages of development teachers experience as they implement the integration. The Administrative Practices and Procedures theme provides examples of administrative actions that impact the teacher efforts both positively and negatively.

By field testing the case studies in a variety of workshop and classroom settings, with both prospective and practicing educators, insight was gained into how the cases may be used most effectively. More than a dozen different instructors and more than four hundred participants used the cases. From their input, suggestions are provided for understanding purposes the cases can serve, selecting appropriate cases, and managing the instructional setting.

A Chart of Cases is provided. For each case, the chart contains the title, type of school setting, teaching areas included, and a brief description. The chart is particularly useful in gaining an overview of the cases and in selecting cases that relate to particular needs. The cases are valuable in programs for graduate students, prospective teachers, and practicing professionals. The basic guideline for use of the cases is that they be employed to enhance and improve educational practice.


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