Whole-Class-Scaffolding in Business Education / Challenges and Problems for VET Professionals in Germany

The International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training (IJRVET) published today two new articles.


A Processual Perspective on Whole-Class-Scaffolding in Business Education

Rico Hermkes, Gerhard Minnameier and Manon Heuer-Kinscher

Abstract

Context: Scaffolding is a form of process-adaptive learning support that is relevant in numerous contexts, including informal learning, workplace learning as well as school teaching. While scaffolding can be well conceptualised for individual learning situations (especially for tutoring situations), there is a difficulty in measuring process adaptivity in heterogeneous learning groups, such as school classes. 

Approach: In this paper, we develop a measurement method that targets the deep structure of teaching and learning in whole class settings. Processes of shared knowledge constructions are taken into account, since whole-class-scaffolding (WCS) means to shape and develop common or joint knowledge spaces rather than to scaffold a multitude of individual construction processes at the same time. To achieve a coding procedure for WCS interactions, we integrate scaffolding principles and principles of dialogic teaching and explicated a set of rules that can be correlated to the quality of WCS-episodes rated on distinct Likert scales. 

Results: The measurement method developed in the paper provides a solution to the problem of how to measure process-adaptive learning support that is not only related to individual learners, but is directed at a heterogeneous group of learners in which different support needs may be present simultaneously. The coding procedure systematically links scaffolding principles and principles of dialogic teaching and enables us to capture the dynamics of teaching and learning processes in larger group settings. In this respect, concepts such as joint- and common space, representing entities to which WCS refers, are operationalised. 

Conclusions: When methods for measuring the dynamics of teaching and learning processes are available, research on instructional support is no longer limited to global ratings of whole learning units. Furthermore, the codings allow for a more fine-grained analysis of trajectories of scaffolding interactions. Such an analysis reveals information about local specifics of WCS that can explain further learning differences between students and that can be used to derive implications for effective instructional techniques. 


Input From the Grassroots Level — Reflecting Challenges and Problems for VET Professionals in Germany

Sebastian Anselmann, Stefan Harm and Uwe Faßhauer

Abstract

Context: Often, vocational education and training (VET) professionals are not systematically prepared for their demanding, mostly diverse and complex tasks. Professional development can be understood as an enlargement of competencies that arise as opportunities in daily work. This study, embedded in a funded research project, focuses on VET professionals and their professional development. The research question is as follows: What challenges and problems regarding their professional development, as well as possible solutions, are described by training professionals in VET in Germany? 

Approach: The goal of this study is to discover what challenges VET professionals face and how they cope with them. Accordingly, this research was formalised with the following components: (A) An explorative study with group discussions (= 53 participants in six groups) and (B) result validation with German VET experts (= 10). The data were recorded, transcribed and analysed using qualitative content analysis. 

Results: Using a theory-based category system, the group discussion results were summarised in 12 systematic, organisational- and individual-level statements. The statements indicated that despite the necessity of formal professional development in the area of further training, most VET professionals must still be able to profit from offers at or below the German Qualification Framework (DQR) level 5. Many VET professionals ultimately sought visible recognition of their activities or personal commitment with regard to pedagogical and company-economic functions. The 10 VET experts also evaluated the 12 statements as important. 

Conclusion: The results of this study show that there is a huge need for qualification and learning opportunities for VET professionals. The demand is mostly for modern, tried-and-tested concepts and central themes, such as action and competency orientation, practice and transfer orientation, individual and structural reflection, media competency and learning support in all formats and at all levels.