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Introducing active learning pedagogy into a technical and vocational education and training academy in Kurdistan, Iraq

  • Authors: Martina Dickson (Emirates College for Advanced Education, Abu Dhabi), Svend Erik Ladefoged (Independent TVET consultant, Helsingør)

Volume 63, Issue 5, pp 679–702

Abstract

This article focuses on a teaching methodology project which investigated issues of teaching quality at a technical and vocational education and training (TVET) academy in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq. The academy was established in 2012 to provide unemployed youth with TVET, particularly workplace-relevant training. A needs analysis showed that the academy’s teachers were mainly skilled in technical content areas rather than in pedagogy. Perhaps as a result, predominantly teacher-centred approaches to teaching were observed. However, teaching and learning in TVET, by its very definition, must consider active learning and practical training as core to its vocational purpose. Moreover, technical and pedagogical skills are intrinsically linked, since a teacher cannot effectively pass on technical skills without the necessary pedagogical skills to do so. It is on this premise that the authors of this article based their project, which was designed for the purpose of upgrading the teachers’ pedagogical skills to incorporate more active learning strategies and practical work. Comparison of observation logs and feedback sessions at the conclusion of their project provided evidence that whilst some of the teachers’ pedagogical skills had shifted towards using more dynamic teaching strategies, interviews strongly indicated that there was also some reluctance to incorporate active learning. In their conclusion, the authors suggest that the insights gained from this project could be further empirically examined in a larger, multi-institutional study.

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