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JISTEVol. 18, No. 2, 2014 


PROFICIENCY FORMS AND VOCATIONAL PEDAGOGICAL PRINCIPLES 


Tron Inglar 

Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HiOA) 

Norway 

Abstract: This article is based on research on experiential learning and vocational teachers. 
The author describes his analysis of curricula for the vocational teacher education and 
explains the education's purpose, content, and methods. In 1975, education dramatically 
changed from an academic tradition with dissemination of many disciplines to a holistic 
education with focus on educating teachers who would function in practice, not only have 
theoretical knowledge of pedagogy. The author discusses important aspects of learning, as 
usability and relevance, distance in time and space between theory and practice, and the use 
of different proficiency forms. Furthermore, the author discusses three key, vocational 
educational principles (VEP): experiential learning, vocational adaptation of theory, and 
integration of theory and practice. These principles are important for cdl learning and 
especially for the education and training of vocational teachers and of vocational students. 

Key words: Proficiency forms, vocational educational principles, dropout from school, 
curriculum analysis 


Introduction 

In this article, I present the vocational 
educational principles (VEP) as they were 
described in the formal curricula in 
vocational teacher education and training 
(VTET). I have analyzed the formal 
curriculum documents (Goodlad, 1979) 
and investigated by interviewing 
vocational teachers how they experienced 
the curriculum. I used a qualitative 
approach. This article is based on data 
from my doctoral dissertation (Inglar, 
2009). 

I also describe and discuss various 
proficiency forms that are central to 
education and particularly vocational 
education and training, and important 
vocational educational principles such as 
experiential learning, vocationally adapted 
theory, and the integration of theory with 
practice. 

In recent years, there has been an 
increased focus on the flow of students in 
school, particularly in vocational education 
and training (VET). “Drop-out" is a term 


often used to refer to those who do not 
complete their education. The concept 
drop-out indicates that the responsibility 
for not completing belongs to the 
vocational students. They "do not 
manage". It might just as well be that the 
current VET is not suited for the 
vocational students. From this opposite 
perspective, I would rather call it “push- 
out” or "ejection”. It may be that 
vocational teachers do not focus 
sufficiently on the connections between 
the students’ learning abilities and the 
vocational educational principles. Thus, 
there might be a link between content and 
methods in VET and the ejection 

mechanisms (Dahlback & Haaland, 2014; 
Hiim, 2013; Inglar, 2009). The main point 
of this article is to describe and enhance 
the importance of different and practical 
proficiency forms to prevent drop-out. 

Curriculum Analysis 

In Norway we have two ki nds of VTET. I 
have studied the one called Practical 

Pedagogical Education (PPU) through 

practical and inductive analyses of the 


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JISTEVol. 18, No. 2, 2014 


substance, the meaning of the text, in the 
formal curricula in the period 1975-2003 
(Inglar, 2011). Inductively, I tried to find 
and reconstruct what was contained in the 
curricula, their intentions and educational 
ideology, their description of the content, 
and their priorities of teaching and 
learning methods. A practical-inductive 
approach therefore provides a subjective 
description from the researcher’s 
interpretations of data. 

Since its establishment in 1947 until 1975, 
the analyses show that VTET was 
characterized by an academic, theoretical 
teaching tradition (Inglar, 1996a, 34-35) 
with disciplines such as psychology and 
pedagogy, Norwegian language, writing, 
physical education, arithmetic and 
mathematics, school management, and 
work organization. There were also 
practical teaching exercises, micro 
teaching. Since 1975 the curricula has 
been characterized by experiential learning 
and certain vocational educational 
principles (VEP), and this curriculum has 
had a dominant influence on all 
subsequent plans. 

The analyses of all the curricula since 
1975 resulted in three categories: purpose, 
content, and working principles. I have 
densified the substance in selected 
curricula until 2003 and then extracted the 
essence of the densifications. The essence 
of the category “purposes” was 
experiential learning with a focus on the 
goals of the VET. Dissemination of 
educational theory was not important. The 
curriculum emphasized the need to adapt 
theory to practical tasks by stating: "It is 
not a fixed curriculum. The literature 
should be organized according to the 
ongoing learning work/training 
assignments” (Pedagogisk [curriculum], 
1975, p. 9) The plan also emphasized that 
the study should build on the individual 
student teacher's own experiences. 


The essence of the category “content” was 
that it should be based on key tasks for a 
vocational teacher in relation to the 
individual student teacher, the class/group, 
the school/school community and the 
society. There was no established 
curriculum, and the students were co- 
responsible in selecting relevant topics. 
Most of the students had practiced as 
teachers two or more years, so they knew 
from experience what relevant knowledge 
in the occupation was. 

The essence of “working principles” were 
key tasks for vocational teacher, such as 
planning, teaching, counseling and 

evaluation. The students should train in 

practical activities, analyze their 

experiences, and conduct self-assessment. 
This means that the learning methods 
should be both theoretical and practical but 
with practice as a fundamental part. The 
term "working principles" instead of 
teaching methods also points out a 

perspective aimed at practical rather than 
only a theoretical education. 

Vocational Forms of Proficiency and 
Learning 

The term knowledge is often used in 
school subjects and academic disciplines 
when referring to laws, rules, and 
relationships. In a positivistic view of 
knowledge (Popper, 1972), one also tries 
to achieve similar predictable and 
controllable knowledge in the social 
sciences. With such a view of knowledge, 
one will try to understand vocational 
knowledge in the same way, by 
verbalizing explanations of what a 
vocation consists. Prior to 1975, the formal 
curriculum in the Norwegian VTET was 
characterized by this positivistic tradition, 
and it consisted of a number of separate 
disciplines (Inglar, 1996a) as said before. 
It was believed that one could extract 
professional knowledge by skimming off 
the vocational theory in the same way as 


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JISTEVol. 18, No. 2, 2014 


the cream of non-homogenized milk is 
skimmed off (Einarsen, 1947). By 
vocational theory, I mean the knowledge 
that is necessary and relevant to the 
vocation like knowledge of materials, 
Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE), 
regulations, pathology, and other 
necessary knowledge. If one can separate 
the theoretical part of vocational 
knowledge, the pupils may learn 
vocational theory in the classroom and 
practical techniques in the workshop. They 
may learn vocational theory in the school 
and later transform the theory into 
practical execution of a profession. 

Research shows doubts about this 
positivistic view of knowledge. Mjelde 
(2002) detected that some of the students 
in vocational education do not see the 
purpose of theoretical knowledge in 
practical work. The same is detected with 
regard to VET and professional education 
(Dahlback & Haaland, 2014; Hiim, 2013; 
Inglar, 2009; Jordell, 1986; Schon 1983). 
When there is a distinction between 
vocational theory and practice, vocational 
theory may live "its own life" regardless of 
practice. When a mechanic leaves his 
overalls in the workshop and brings his 
Powerpoint presentations into a classroom, 
he gives the vocational theory a different 
structure. Then he is not carrying out a 
concrete and practical task but conveying a 
logical and understandable knowledge 
structure. There will be no “logic of 
action”, but “logic of understanding” 
(Callewaert, 1999; Inglar 2009). It might 
be that those who do not see the meaning 
in verbalized theory will learn more easily 
and better when the teacher uses logic of 
action, when he demonstrates and explains 
simultaneously. 

Usefulness and Relevance 

Hovdenak (2005) studied 149 pupils who 
attended the 9 th and 10 th grades in general 
and vocational study programs for a period 


of five years. These pupils articulated 
criticisms about the subjects in school and 
underscored that they had little relevance 
to their lives outside the school. Thus, 
students experience the content and the 
teaching approaches as neither meaningful 
(Inglar, 2009) nor motivating. Another 
interesting finding in Hovdenak's research 
is that students used the term "theory" 
when they talked about the lack of 
relevance of school content for the 
practical everyday life. The students did 
not combine the learning of theoretical 
knowledge with forms of knowing or 
learning by experiences. Such approaches 
will function as “ejection” mechanisms. 

Distance in Space and Time between 
Theory and Practice 

When students are taught the theory in a 
classroom and are supposed to apply it in 
the workshop later on, some of them will 
experience the theory as “empty” words, 
words without meaning and relevance. 
One factor is that a classroom is often 
associated with the teaching of theoretical 
matter without something to make it 
practical and concrete. In an interview 
with a teacher at a Florist Apprentices 
Learning Centre, she said that some 
apprentices “pulled down the blind" when 
they had mathematics in a classroom at the 
training office, while they did it perfectly 
well when they worked in a shop (Inglar, 
2013). 

Another factor is the time between the 
learning of theoretical material and its 
practical application. If the time gap is 
wide, many of the vocational students do 
not see any connection and will not 
experience the theory as relevant. Nilsson 
(1992) conducted research and 
developmental work in Sweden. From his 
data he divided students into three groups. 
Group 1 consisted of students to whom it 
was important that the theory would be 
useful there and then. Group 2 consisted of 


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JISTEVol. 18, No. 2, 2014 


those who wanted to learn something that 
was useful, either for themselves or for 
others. Group 3 was those who wanted to 
learn something they could benefit from 
later. This means that some students, 
especially in Group 1, lose motivation 
when they do not see any immediate 
usefulness of what they learn. Repeated 
experiences of meaninglessness and lack 
of relevance reduced the students' 
motivation. 

Informants in a semi-structured interview 
survey that I conducted among vocational 
teachers believed their students were more 
practitioners than theorists (Inglar, 2009). 
Meaningful learning occurs when theory 
and practice are woven together, when the 
students can abstract the concrete 
experiences to more general reflections, 
and can apply theoretical principles in 
practical tasks. One of the informants put 
it this way: 

That they (vocational students) can, 
based on the theory I've gone 
through, create a drawing, and 
connect a (electric) circuit after it. 
Then verify that it works and be 
able to tell me what they have done 
and why. 

Therefore, it is not a question of doing 
everything practical; it is a question of 
combining theory and practice into 
meaningful learning. That was one of the 
intentions of the curriculum from 1975, as 
described earlier. 

Proficiency Forms 

Practical knowing is the competence to 
perform intentional actions and 
corresponds to what Polanyi (1966) and 
Schon (1983) refer to as, respectively, 
"knowing" and "knowing-in-action". 
Practical knowing is an intertwining of 
several proficiency forms, both theoretical 
and practical. The informants in my 
empirical study said that for some of the 


students, and for themselves, it is 
necessary to employ several proficiency 
forms and especially practical. I consider 
"vocational knowing" as the proficiencies 
needed for the tasks to be handled. The 
practitioner must first define what the task 
involves (Schon, 1983) and then analyze 
how it can be handled. In the analysis 
phase, one seeks the vocational theory that 
is relevant, and those actions that have 
given good results in the past. Some 

examples of proficiency forms are 

• Theoretical knowledge, knowledge 
about regulations, materials, 
physics, calculation etc. 

• Visual performances. A skilled 
artisan is able to visualize what he 
is going to make, instead of reading 
a description. 

• Construction, embodying. A skilled 
mechanic feels the temperature of a 
machine by touching it, listens to 
the machine working and may 
correct what is wrong only using 
his senses - and thinking. 

• Interpersonal relationships. Many 
craftsmen mingle and communicate 
with customers in a trustworthy 
manner without thinking about it, 
without being able to tell why, and 
how they achieve this effect. I have 
observed laboratory technicians 
who take blood samples. They 
change their social behavior in 
response to how they interpret the 
patient's verbal and nonverbal 
communication. A timid user is 
shown care and concern, while a 
tough and assertive is met in a 
challenging way. 

• Values, attitudes, and actions will 
say that you do not cheat or do a 
bad job on purpose. You do not 
charge the customer more that you 
should. 

• Ethical and aesthetic skills and 
assessments. A skilled craftsman 
recognizes the value in performing 
a good job, and he wants a product 


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JISTEVol. 18, No. 2, 2014 


that looks pretty without being able 
to articulate which criteria guide 
the judgment. 

Vocational Educational Principles 
(VEP) 

Through my analyzes of the curricula after 
1975, I was able to categorize some 
vocational educational principles 
regulating the education of vocational 
teachers. I will explain and discuss three of 
them that I find relevant to this article: 
experiential learning, vocationally adapted 
theory, and integration of practice and 
theory. The reason is that I consider these 
three principles particularly relevant in 
VTET and VET in terms of motivation and 
prevention of dropout. 

The Principle of Experiential Learning 

Experience Orientation 

VTET after 1975 has emphasized that 
student teachers should learn through their 
experiences both at the University College 
and in the practical part of their education 
and training. It represents a constructivist 
view on learning. In Dewey's (1916) 
theories of learning as experimental or 
exploratory processes (see the phrase "that 
attempts" in the quote below), the learners 
develop their own personal knowing. He 
describes experiential learning as a 
cyclical process consisting of three phases: 
activity, consequence of the activity, and 
meaningful change of knowledge: 

When we experience something we 
act in relation to it, we do something 
about it, so we are prone to or suffer 
the consequences. Activity ... alone 
creates no experience. Experience ... 
as an attempt involves change, but 
change is a meaningless transition 
unless it is consciously connected 
with the wave of consequences which 
turn back from it ... when change 


happens ... (is) full of meaning. We 
learn something. 

In Norway Dewey is associated with the 
slogan: "Learning by doing". This slogan I 
have not found in what I have read of what 
Dewey wrote. However, he has written: 
"Learn to do by knowing and to know by 
doing" (Vaage, 2000). To compare, I have 
defined “meaningful learning” by saying: 
"Meaningful learning occurs when one can 
perform actions derived from theoretical 
knowledge, or reflect on one's practical 
experiences so that it can be abstracted and 
articulated” (Inglar, 2009). Dewey himself 
says quite the opposite of the slogan 
"learning by doing" when he in the above 
quote says that "activity alone creates no 
experience" and "change is meaningless 
transition unless it is consciously 
connected with ... the consequences ... We 
learn something." Therefore, learning is 
not either or, it is practice and theory 
interwoven to meaning. Teachers in the 
VTET had opinions that coincided with 
ideas that were in the core of Dewey’s 
writings: reform pedagogy, emphasis on 
practical and utilitarian learning, 
experiential learning, democratic values, 
and cooperative learning. 

The objectives of VTET (Pedagogisk, 
1975) states: "The education ... aims at 
creating teachers who are proficient in 
action." The curriculum stressed practical 
competence rather than knowledge of 
educational theory. Furthermore, it was 
important that the students should acquire 
knowledge, experiences and attitudes and 
not "get" knowledge and skills from a 
book or a lecturer. The formal curriculum 
thus emphasized the vocational 
pedagogical principle of experiential 
learning. 

The principle of experiential learning is 
well suited to VTET and VET since 
occupations are characterized by 
knowledge, actions, and embodiment. 


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JISTEVol. 18, No. 2, 2014 


Knowledge alone is not enough. To show 
ability, the knowledge must result in 
actions. Some students in VTET need 
action and physicality, like sensing, 
feeling, and touching to turn the volatile 
and short-term experiences into lasting 
learning. When the students in VET do not 
experience such intertwining of theory and 
practice, it may lead to lack of motivation 
and they dropout or begin at another study 
program. 

Tasks Orientation 

VTET resembles the master-apprentice 
tradition in that it is experience-oriented 
and task-oriented. The customer's needs 
defined the task to be done. In the plans 
for the VTET it has been, and it still is 
important to let the content of the 
education be based on the tasks a teacher 
encounters in his or her professional 
practice. Drevvatne (1976) stated the 
following about the experimental activities 
that started in 1972: 

The aim was to facilitate learning 
situations that were based on 
professional teacher's various tasks. 
The essence of teaching was, first, 
observe in the classroom in order to 
identify and clarify major issues 
related to vocational teacher's 
functions and roles. In our opinion 
this could best be done through 
observations and experiences ... Then 
we would, through discussions, group 
work and literature studies try to 
elucidate, analyze, discuss and 
possibly resolve the issues that were 
raised. The literature study was thus 
selected by means of the experiences 
students had in the past and the new 
experiences they received through 
among others, work and training 
tasks. 

In my opinion, Drevvatne describes a 
process of abstraction from the 
experiences to reflections. This inductive 


process of abstraction coincides with the 
reflection work Fpli (2012) conducted with 
her students in VET. Her students wrote 
blogs about their professional knowledge. 
The blogs were electronic. They also put 
in pictures of what they worked with. She 
found that students were able to reflect on 
their professional knowledge through blog 
writing and that they considered others' 
blog entries as a source of knowledge. In 
particular, they appreciated the teacher's 
comments. Through writing the blogs, the 
vocational students reflected on 
experiences and considered entries from 
others as theory. As Dewey might have 
said: making meaning of my activities and 
their consequences and comparing with the 
meanings of others. 

The Principle of Vocationally Adapted 
Theory 

The statement above about experiential 
learning shows that the VTET since 1975 
has been vocationally adapted. It has 
reduced the importance of the educational 
theory as a structuring element in the 
education. Before, they had theoretical 
topics like development psychology, 
learning psychology, sociology, and 
teaching techniques. From 1975 the 
structure was given by the tasks or the 
cases to be analyzed, discussed, and 
handled. It is important to note that the 
curricula do not say that one should avoid 
educational theory. One should reduce the 
theoretical dissemination and let the 
professional functions structure the 
selection of current and relevant 
educational theory. I will therefore argue 
that the education and training, was and is 
task oriented and vocationally adapted. 

One may ask whether the VTET thus 
emphasizes fragmentary and situated 
“practical advices and tips". Strom (1994) 
has investigated possible effects of 
differences in the cultural background of 
teacher educators and student teachers. He 


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JISTEVol. 18, No. 2, 2014 


found that this is not so. He concludes: 
"[VTET's] reputation among students is 
not related to the amount of "tips and 
tricks", but more to the extent that [VTET] 
manages to maintain their strengths and 
challenge them as teachers and people." 

The principles of experiential learning and 
vocational adaptation are also of great 
importance to VET. In a reform called 
“Reform 1994”, 150 basic vocational 
courses were merged to 13, which meant a 
broader orientation of vocational training. 
Broader orientation meant that students 
should become familiar with several, 
similar vocations. The idea was that, for 
example, a pupil studying carpentry might 
also need to learn about bricklaying and 
plumbing. A drawback was that some 
students experienced other vocations to be 
of little relevance for their primary career 
choice. They lost the motivation to fulfil a 
VET. Such broader orientation may 
provide a broader proficiency platform, 
but it may also become an ejection 
mechanism. 

One result of this reform is that vocational 
teachers do not feel qualified to teach 
several vocations were they have little or 
no experience, and that the schools 
sometimes cannot offer qualified 
education and training by experienced 
teachers in the vocation each student 
wants. Dahlback and Haaland (2014) 
organized the VET in several schools so 
that the students could move from one 
school to another where there were 
qualified teachers. Their research showed 
that occupational adaptation is important 
in creating motivation for learning of the 
theoretical matter. Interest in learning 
increases when students can see the 
transfer value of what they are going to do 
as practitioners. 

Borander and Loftas (2012) developed a 
teaching plan for the VET in “service and 
transport” consisting of assignments that 


the pupils should carry out, for example 
practical exercises where students had to 
justify their proposals and it was not 
sufficient just to read a book. They found, 
through their research, that the students 
perceived the assigments as engaging and 
practical. 


The Principle of Integration of Practice 
and Theory: 

Holistic Proficiency Development 

Two Learning Contexts 

In the curricula for the general teacher 
education in Norway, it has been 
customary to distinguish between 
pedagogical theory and practice, as 
students experience respectively in the 
university college and in the practice 
arena. To denote the part of VET in the 
university college as theory arena, 
stigmatizes the two contexts in which 
education takes place and gives the 
impression that one is a theoretical arena 
while the other is a practical arena. The 
concepts “practice” and “theory” were not 
mentioned at all in the earliest curricula of 
VTET. They had a holistic perspective, as 
mentioned earlier. It is important that, in 
both arenas, the students in VTET are 
challenged to convert theoretical 
consideration into actions and to 
systematize experiences into reflections. 

The same applies of course also for VET. 
Often theory lessons are held in old, large 
school buildings while the workshops, in 
Norway, are small "temporary" barracks 
that are often poorly equipped and 
maintained. It would be better if the 
"theoretical arena" were located in or 
adjacent to the workshop. 


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JISTEVol. 18, No. 2, 2014 


Narratives and Professional Language 

When I asked the informants in my 
empirical survey to evaluate their teacher 
education, group discussions scored 
highest. They said they learned a lot from 
hearing what other teachers did in their 
vocational work, what worked well, and 
what did not. They told narratives, stories 
that were chronological, detailed, and on 
specific events and materials. Narratives 
are packages of specific theoretical and 
practical forms of proficiency. They are a 
combination of practice and theory. 
Sharing fragmented and situated 
experiences (Lave & Wenger, 1991) 
promotes reflection. 

Through an analysis of the representational 
systems used by the informants, I found 
about 10 auditory expressions (I can hear 
what you are saying, to hear about their 
experiences), 20 visual (get insight, find 
new perspectives), and 40 kinesthetic/ 
action (get rid of something, reach the 
goal). This indicates that vocational 
teachers often use narratives that contain 
knowledge about specific experiences and 
that they use words of action, “logic of 
action”. 

All professions have a professional 
language, which may not be understood by 
the unskilled. In vocational education and 
training and in professional performance, 
the students and the professionals use a 
narrative language consisting of 
occupation-specific concepts and common 
words that bind it together. Vocational 
teachers have three such languages. A 
basic vocational used with other 
professionals and vocational students; 
another is the vocational teacher language 
used with colleagues with the same 
professional background, and the third 
with colleagues from other disciplines. 
The first contains many occupational 
terms, the next professional educational, 


and last general pedagogical without many 
vocational terms. The first communication 
forms are more precise than the general, 
reducing misunderstandings. 

Situated Learning and Transfer 

In a situated view on learning, the 
importance of the practice arena is 
justified by the fact that it is the “real” 
context and that the practice mentor has 
vocational expertise (Lave & Wenger, 
1991). The mentors are experienced 
vocational teachers who work as 
counselors for the student teachers when 
they are practicing as teachers as part of 
their education. They are “the extended 
arms” of the VTET. The students actually 
see the importance of practice even though 
some mentors might not be particularly 
good (Fagdidaktikkutvalget ved 
universitetet i Tromsp, 1985). This 
evaluation is expected. It confirms the 
importance of the situated perspective on 
learning and the importance of not only 
learning “ about ” but also learning "by". 
One leams through experiences in the real 
school context. 

If there is a gap between the teacher 
education and the start of the career as a 
teacher, the students may experience a 
"practice shock". Vocational teachers do 
not experience any practice shock (Hiim & 
Hippe, 1991; Inglar 1996b). They are well 
prepared for the everyday work as 
teachers. They do not perceive the transfer 
from student teacher to teacher as an 
unexpected situation. Part of the reason 
may be the use of the vocational 
educational principles in the VTET, but 
also the fact that vocational teachers have 
often already worked in the school for a 
few years before they begin their VTET. A 
reason for this positive assessment is thus 
the principles of experiential learning and 
vocational adaptation. 


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JISTEVol. 18, No. 2, 2014 


It is also important that the practice 
mentors (experienced teachers counselling 
the student teachers) have an education in 
counseling at the university college, they 
have learned and they use the same 
pedagogical concepts and models as the 
students. Then the student teachers 
develop their practice-theory through the 
experience that learning tasks at the 
university college and in the school are 
interlocked. 

Practitioner or Theorist? 

The informants in the empirical part of my 
doctoral research believed their students 
were more practitioners than theorists 
(Inglar, 2009). They also said that both the 
students and they themselves learned well 
by non-verbal learning methods, using 
practical proficiency forms. One of the 
informants puts it this way: 

The pupils learn well when they are 
handling tools and machines; they 
prefer that I show them instead of 
telling them, and when they can feel it. 
/ believe that many of those who 
choose vocational courses are 
practitioners rather than theorists. It 
happens that pupils are very good in 
practical subjects and that they think 
it is fun to work in the kitchen. They 
have trouble with both reading and 
writing, they have literacy difficulties, 
are restless and, therefore, lose 
concentration. 

It will be motivating for students in VET 
that theory and practice are intertwined, 
and that theory and the learning situation 
are adapted to the practical work situation. 
It will be motivating and might prevent 
exclusion or change to another study 
program. Since all the vocational teachers 
have been students in VET, they also are 
practitioners. 

Conclusions 


The curriculum analysis showed that the 
educational foundation of the VTET has 
been and still is based on experiential 
learning. The VTET should not be a 
theoretical, university study in miniature, 
with dissemination of theory and divided 
into separate disciplines. It should be 
based on experiential learning with focus 
on a teacher's functions, the practical 
problems he may encounter in his work. 

The student teachers ought to acquire 
experiences, and through own reflections 
and discussions with others, abstract the 
experiences into meaningful knowing. In 
this learning process, the student teachers 
shall work with the literature related to the 
current problems one might encounter in a 
vocational teacher’s workday. This means 
that the literature studied should concern 
these problems, and thereby be adapted to 
the practical challenges. 

I have accounted for three of the 
vocational educational principles: 
experiential learning, vocational 
adaptation of theory, and integration of 
practice and theory. These principles, I 
believe, are particularly important in 
VTET and VET, and data from my 
research (Inglar, 2009) support this when 
the informants in the empirical part of the 
research believe their pupils are more 
practitioners than they are theorists. They 
said that many vocational students 
preferred demonstration to verbal 
explanations. 

I therefore suggest a stronger emphasis on 
the vocational pedagogical principles. This 
will enhance students' intrinsic motivation 
and reduce ejection from the vocational 
education and training. Another important 
challenge to be dealt with is the situation 
that not all students may learn the 
profession they want from a teacher who is 
competent in that vocation. 


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Author 

Tron Inglar is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education and International Studies at Oslo 
and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway. His research areas include 
experiential learning, forms of proficiency, curriculum analysis, transitions in the educational 
system, career counseling, qualitative approaches, and action research. He is a research coordinator 
for about 30 of his colleagues; he teaches at the Master's degree in vocational education and training 
and is responsible for a study program in career counseling. 


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