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By Karen Noble 

Professional Learning Coordinator

Global Themes in VET Education

After an incredible launch of the VETConnect Professional Learning Program in July by the Australian High Commissioner to India, The Hon. Barry O’Farrell AO, it seems hard to believe the time has flown by, and we have now completed Phase One of the Program.

The VETConnect program, managed by the Asia Education Foundation (AEF), an initiative of Asialink at the University of Melbourne, is a teacher professional learning program that connects Vocational Education and Training (VET) teachers from Australia and India. VETConnect aims to; build teacher capacity, integrate industry perspectives, positively impact student outcomes in VET, and increase the quality of VET offerings across both countries. Phase One of the program consisted of four workshops devoted to understanding four critical themes in VET.

Our starting workshop looked at the historical background, current and emerging trends in VET in both Australia and India. Initial comments from VET educators in both counties demonstrate the many commonalities faced, a theme that has continued throughout all four workshops. Teachers have found connections through both experiences in teaching and learning and their future hopes for their students. All felt that the need for global connections and competencies was vital for all students, regardless of their educational pathway.

"help students create bright futures"
"we want to break the mindset and the perception of VET"
"What is the best: Teachers training teachers."
"Build our relationships internationally, connecting people who want to work in VET and who are already working in VET."

Our second workshop focused on assessing capabilities in VET. There was a clear, collective belief that assessment is not so much about uncovering WHAT students know. To paraphrase our guest speaker Prof. Sandra Milligan (Enterprise Professor & Director Arc Melbourne Graduate School of Education), assessment is about HOW you know it, WHO you know it with and WHAT you can do with it that matters.
Breakout rooms saw lots of thinking around student agency and empowerment through various strategies that included differentiation and inviting students to co-design assessments.  Finally, as school educators, how do we connect and stay relevant in ever-changing industries and support our student’s future readiness? Given the high quality of discussion, I am very interested to see what action research projects are proposed!

A thought-provoking third workshop yesterday, Engagement: Girls in VET, with guest speaker Maria Pedovali, Careers Advisor and VET Coordinator from Sydney Catholic Schools, who shared her extensive experience of working in a single-sex girl's school.  Maria captured the hopes of all educators in the program as she expressed the desire to provide girls with freedom of choice, agility in the workforce and financial independence.  She acknowledged that many girls are already acting as carers and financial supporters for their families. Therefore VET programs must be designed to support each individual’s circumstances and ensure girls are safe and supported in their work placements.

For the final workshop Digital Pedagogies for VET, we were joined by Bani Paintal Dhawan, Head of Education, India and South-East Asia, Google Cloud India. The past few years of the global pandemic have not been without significant challenges. However, the opportunities to redefine learning and how, where and what we learn have been transformational.  Digital learning tools have fostered student independence, agency, and empowerment and new flexibility, responsiveness and agility for teachers, something Bani urged us to hang on to with both hands.

At the heart of VET teaching and learning are practical application, project-based collaboration and experiential learning, which can be amplified through strategically selected digital ecosystems.  To be genuinely effective, the digital tools must connect to the school context, curriculum, pedagogy and language of the learner.

Follow-up discussion by educators again demonstrated that despite the different contexts VET teachers in Australia and India may find themselves in, equity of access was a challenge for all. Perhaps a problem to be addressed when we return on September 7 for Phase 2 and begin collaboration on our action research projects.

"Nothing can replace a teacher," said Bani, a statement we all agree with strongly!

Phase Two of VETConnect begins in early September with a focus on best practices in VET as we dive deeper into the four key themes and apply practical strategies to maximize student impact through a collaboratively designed action research project.

      Presenters

      2016 AEF Autumn School

      Sydney/Melbourne

      • Dr Kathleen Turner, Strategic Partnerships Manager, Griffith Asia Institute
      • Mr Mohamad Abdalla, Professor of Islamic Studies at the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences, Griffith University
      • Dr Indigo Willing OAM, Adjunct Research Fellow, Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research
      • Mr Aaron Seeto, Curatorial Manager of Asian and Pacific Art at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) and previously Director of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in NSW
      • Mr Keith Shangare, Diversity Coordinator, AFL Queensland

      Additional speakers will be announced over the coming weeks

      Keynote


      Dr Brian Adams

      Director, Centre for Interfaith and Cultural Dialogue, Griffith University



      Panel


      Dr Kathleen Turner

      Strategic Partnerships Manager, Griffith Asia Institute


      Mr Mohamad Abdalla

      Professor of Islamic Studies at the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences, Griffith University and the Director of the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies (QLD Node)


      Mr Aaron Seeto

      Curatorial Manager of Asian and Pacific Art, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art and previously Director, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art NSW


      Mr Keith Shangare

      Diversity Coordinator, AFL Queensland


      Presentation


      Dr Indigo Willing OAM

      Adjunct Research Fellow, Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research


      Workshop


      The Asia Education Foundation

      This workshop will introduce curriculum frameworks and classroom resources for intercultural understanding


      The Asia Education Foundation

      This workshop will introduce curriculum frameworks and classroom resources for intercultural understanding


      The Asia Education Foundation

      This workshop will introduce curriculum frameworks and classroom resources for intercultural understanding




      Additional speakers will be announced over the coming weeks




      For more information, please email aef-support@asialink.unimelb.edu.au.




      Contact

      Karen Noble

      Professional Learning Coordinator, Asia Education Foundation

      Email: karen.noble@unimelb.edu.au


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