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An Investigation of Professional Development of the Apprenticeship and Trades Professoriate in Two Ontario Colleges

Abstract: This thesis is an exploratory investigation of how apprenticeship instructors in two of Ontario's colleges perceive and have experienced professional development over the duration of their careers and the role their employer-colleges, played in that professional development. As the primary agents for skills and knowledge transfer, the instructors of apprenticeship training provide a key role in preparing competent, skilled-trade workers for a complex and changing work environment. This research is relevant at this time because of the many changes to the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology since their inception in the mid-nineteen- sixties. The original mission of the colleges, to deliver occupation preparation programs has evolved to a much-expanded mandate to include degree granting. Other changes include a much more diverse student population with diverse needs, backgrounds and values. Have the apprenticeship instructors received the requisite training and development to deal with changes in technology, student needs, teaching and learning strategies and the evolving complexities of the college environment? This study contributes to the literature of professional development in the apprenticeship professoriate by examining the perceptions, attitudes and behaviours concerning professional development. The findings reveal that there are issues of physical location, discourse and methods of instruction, unique to apprenticeship training, which have a profound impact on the apprenticeship instructors' disposition and participation in professional development. Data were attained from a series of in-depth interviews, which revealed that the apprenticeship instructors are a dedicated and motivated group of educators who are committed to providing the highest quality of education to their students. However, the professional development offered or supported by the college-employers attracts very little, if any, participation by the apprenticeship professoriate. The findings indicate that changes to facilitate the active participation in professional development, creating a more inclusive environment between the apprenticeship instructors and other faculty members and restructuring the professional development programs to include review and evaluation of every faculty member's needs would create a more comprehensive and continuing enhancement of instructors' capabilities and student learning outcomes.

Author: Kevin Joseph Lee Hayes

Source: University of Toronto - TSpace

Size: 1.24 MB
Last Updated: August 4, 2015