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Continuing professional development needs of teachers in schools for competence-based vocational education: A case study from The Netherlands

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this article is to help schools for vocational education determine teachers' continuing professional development needs associated with implementing competence-based education programs, so that these schools can develop better attuned HR policies. It investigates which elements from the cognitive apprenticeship model and from the acquisition and participation metaphors can be identified in the individual action theories of their teachers. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A case study was conducted in one school for vocational education, where 12 teachers engaged in an innovation project around the development of a new competence-based education program for pupils. They participated in concept mapping, cued interviews (based on video recordings), semi-structured interviews, and a joint feedback session. These four sources were used for an in-depth content analysis of teachers' action theories. Findings ‐ No distinctive, crystallized action theories about competence-based vocational education emerged at the individual teacher level; let alone individual teachers' action theories well in line with the two normative frameworks on competence-based education. The case study shows the struggle that individual teachers are going through to get their every-day teaching repertoire more in line with new ideas on competence-based education. Research limitations/implications ‐ Only qualitative data are gathered, in one school, representing one school type, in one country only, limiting the statistical generalizability of the results. Not all respondents are able to participate in all four data sources. Practical implications ‐ Schools should develop HR policies that offer teachers CPD activities in the crucial area of competence-based education; the frameworks presented in the study can be used to this end, by teacher educators as well as by HRD professionals interested in combining training programs with informal employee learning. Originality/value ‐ The study draws on literature from various disciplines (especially educational psychology and HRD), which traditionally have remained mostly separate. It combines insights from four separate data sources.
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Keywords: Competence based training; Continuing professional development; Teachers; The Netherlands; Vocational training

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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