There is something unique about Career and Technical Education teachers.
Sure they are like all teachers in many ways: caring, dedicated, generous, and creative. But there is a unique approach to the way they facilitate student learning.
I have had the opportunity to observe CTE teachers in hundreds of situations since I started as an agriculture teacher 50 years ago. The last 11 years with the NYS CTE Technical Assistance Center have brought my education career full circle to CTE after many years of focusing on curriculum, instruction, and leadership. This is my last blog as part of the TAC project, so it is an appropriate time to reflect on the unique community of CTE teachers.
I have summarized this reflection of CTE teaching into six elements which as an acronym spell out CAREER
All teachers would assert they do all six of these elements toward student achievement. All teachers strive to Connect students to school by getting to know students, building relationships, and stressing the importance of learning. All teachers Assess learning, for teaching effectiveness is measured by demonstrating knowledge acquisition, not by a good lesson plan. All teachers Reward students through academic recognition and incentives for good behavior. All teachers regularly Engage students with personal enthusiasm, caring relationships, activities, and games. Everyone in schools seeks to Empower students, prepared to succeed at the next level of schooling. Finally, teachers encourage students to Reflect because reflection helps retain knowledge.
However, CTE teachers apply these six elements uniquely to create student learning that better prepares students for life after school – the real world.
CTE teachers Connect with Relevance by introducing a relevant curriculum with real-world problems and acquiring real-world tools and practices. CTE teachers Assess for Proficiency by requiring demonstration of skills rather than recall of a percentage of knowledge. CTE teachers Reward Creativity and Innovation in solving problems which are more satisfying than an Honor Roll grade. CTE teachers Engage through Projects in which learning is hands-on, tangible, challenging, and often has unique solutions. CTE teachers Empower with Hope and Confidence in succeeding beyond school rather than simply the next grade level or college. CTE teachers, as all teachers, urge student reflection in learning but uniquely emphasize students to Reflect on Work Habits and Behaviors which are critically essential to success beyond school.
CTE teachers should take pride in these six elements, which uniquely define CTE teaching and learning.
- Connect with Relevance
- Assess for Proficiency
- Reward Creativity and Innovation
- Engage through Projects
- Empower with Hope and Confidence
- Reflect on Work Habits and Behaviors
CTE teachers can reflect on their professional skills using the six teacher reflection surveys on the CTE TAC website. After responding to a series of characteristics and the degree to which they are in practice, teachers receive a personalized report that summarizes promising practices and suggestions for improvement.