Questions for Readings
1. What are your notions of vocational education? What other notions in vocational education described in chapter 3. Could you relate to those notions in vocational education theory to current Canadian education?
2. What role does standardized testing play in this culture of curriculum? Provide examples.
3. Compare and contrast vocational education theory with new vocational curriculum? What has changed in new vocational curriculum? What stays the same?
Examples of the responds:
I discovered that there is an interesting argument in the chapter which is “should the curriculum setting of learning for the purpose of “getting ahead” or because of its role in training workers”. I found that both of them are true but nowadays the society mainly focuses on the purpose of “getting ahead”. The current trend of curriculum is using tests and exams to evaluate the knowledge and skills of students and hence give them a ranking. The purpose of current education is “for work and survival and which is defined by doing well on the exams. The exam acts as a filter to determine whether or not the student can attend college, which can influence their chance of getting better job.
I think that the shift of notion of curriculum is reasonable. In this competitive society, employers, teachers and other stakeholders need to use ranking in order to solve the resources shortage problems. However, I do not agree that the current curriculum use exams to evaluate the knowledge and skills of students. It is because exams may not be able to fully reflect students’ performance. For example, many high school students should have in-depth knowledge about different courses. Nonetheless, due to different impacts, some students may not score high enough in the exams and hence do not have the opportunity in getting into college or universities. Therefore, I believe that there are other ways to examine students’ knowledge; for instance, essays, presentations and discussions. These methods can be combined with examinations so that students can become an academic excellence and socialize person since they can be tested in different ways and have more chances to show their ability.
After reading chapter 3, I agree with the text to the extent that the notion of curriculum has been lost because it’s been replaced with certain standards and tests instead. I find this to be true because almost anywhere in the world, they operate their schools through tests as a way to establish quality, performance, or reliability of someone’s knowledge and skills. As a result, when children go to school, they do not develop on an intellectual level that Dr. K. Egan would hope for. The word curriculum is often now defined as planning for specific programs, so the ideals of what a curriculum has somewhat been lost over time. In vocational education theory, having vocational education means having certain knowledge and skills for a specific trade. Some notions in vocational education theory can definitely be related to the current Canadian education. For example, trade schools prepare their students for certain fields such as plumbing and electrician. The problem with the current vocational education theory is that it lacks the teachings of self-awareness and deep understanding,
Moreover, standardized testing plays such a huge role in our culture of curriculum because most students have gone through some form of testing in which it, for instance, typically involves writing the answers to questions on paper or booklet. Our culture is so entrenched with standardized testing that we seem to forget other areas that need to be developed such as self-awareness and deep understanding of the world. The culture of curriculum has become “bland” and “repetitive” at best because learners often go through the same routine such as examinations, lecturing, and monitoring.
In the old vocational education theory, having education probably did not mean the person is likely going to have a job right away. The old vocational education theory was perhaps diverse in its own way because people would often take up specific trade skills by apprenticeship. Nowadays, having vocational education through formal schools and formal classrooms is supposedly positive, but the new vocational curriculum operates almost like a monopoly. Thus, the monopoly of schools creates inequality and a distance from access to resources. Schools often need funds for, for example, new textbooks and other devices that would aid the student’s education. The new vocational curriculum is supposed to enrich the quality of the environment, but it still comes with a few flaws as mentioned. Perhaps, the only thing that has stayed the same in the vocational education theory is the preparation of students for specific trades. For example, structural engineering is concerned with the analysis and design of structures that support or resist loads. If a structural engineer makes even a slight mistake in his or her design, the structure will collapse. This illustrates the importance how qualified the person is. Still, the new vocational education theory does not necessarily prepare the learners well for certain challenges. The new vocational education theory is not perfect, but the improvement of education such as literacy and graduation rates has come a long way.