Vocational teachers’ conceptions of, and approaches to, ICT in professional education

Shahadat Khan

PhD thesis, conferred 2015

The aim of this research was to investigate vocational teachers’ ways of thinking about ICT enhanced teaching and teaching approaches associated with the use of ICT in teaching. The study focused on teachers’ ways of apprehending the role of ICT in professional work.

Phenomenography, a qualitative research approach that places emphasis on the importance of people’s experience of a phenomenon, was selected as a research methodology for this study. A cohort of 23 teachers from three Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions in New South Wales, Australia, participated in semi-structured, in-depth interviews. These interviews were used to identify the qualitatively different ways in which vocational teachers understand and conceptualise the phenomenon of ICT use in TAFE and workplace settings. Interviews were analysed using an iterative seven-step process through which five conceptions of, and five approaches to, ICT-enhanced teaching were revealed, and three conceptions of ICT in workplaces were discerned. Dimensions of variation among the categories of conceptions are presented and discussed, that extended previous knowledge by identifying new dimensions.

Findings of this research enhance the existing teacher-centred and learning-centred frameworks of teachers’ conceptions. The study shows that approaches to ICT-enhanced teaching cover a range of aspects including: conveying information, promoting students’ active learning in development of knowledge and skills, and meeting the needs of industry. New knowledge on the way vocational teachers understand the role of ICT in workplaces also emerged through the study. These findings provide useful information for people who work in: the development of vocational educational, teaching of industrial practices, and academic development programs. The thesis proposes further lines of exploratory research: to investigate discipline-focused ICT-enhanced teaching in vocational education.

Supervisor: Associate Professor Lina Markauskaite