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Trainers, identities and qualifications

February 23rd, 2009 by Graham Attwell

I am in Thessaloniki at a conference on vocational teachers and trainers organised the the European Agency, Cedefop. Whilst everyone is convinced of the key roles  of teachers  and trainers (it is interesting that no one ever stops to question that), and agree that we need better training and professional development for trainers, there remains little agreement on how this might be done.

Presenters from OECD and the European Trades Unions ETUCE) seem convinced the answer is higher levels fo academic qualifications for teachers and trainers – the ETUCE going as far as to say all vocational teachers and trainers should have ‘Masters degree level’ qualifcations.

This, forme raises all kinds of questions related to identity. Vocational teachers have dual identities – as a teacher and as a skilled workers. Many of those responsible for the learning of others in the workplace – I prefer this clumsy phrase to the word trainer – may not even identify themselves as trainer at all, but rather as a skilled worker in their occupation.

Leaving aisde the issue of whther or not masters level qualification helps teachers and trainers in their practice, I wonder how the imposition of such an academic qualification impacts on the identity of a teacher or trainer. I wonder, too, if we are confusing competence and expertise in teaching and training with univeristy degrees?

As an aside, one thing the ETUCE speaker put forward that I agreed with was the idea of autonomous work as a competnce for teachers. But does a univeristy degree result in the development of autonomous thinking?

2 Responses to “Trainers, identities and qualifications”

  1. Andreas says:

    «I wonder, too, if we are confusing competence and expertise in teaching and training with university degrees?»

    I think you can stop wondering. This is, sorry for being so frank, utter and complete nonsense. I yet have to see the university degree that comes with competence and expertise in teaching and training.

    University education does not become more relevant for educational practitioners by forcing them to have one of those degrees.

  2. glen says:

    Being involved with vocational training for many years at a variety of levels I wonder if academic qualification is any solution.

    I still think that all vocational and technical programs should incorporate an element of “train the trainer” to prepare Journeypersons ((or similarly skilled and credentialed expert workers) for their eventual role as trainers and mentors.

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