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ERIC Number: ED529162
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 34
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 58
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-9219-5589-1
Have a Heart: Challenges for Lead Vocational Teachers in the Changing VET Landscape. Occasional Paper
Davids, Jennifer
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)
This paper investigates the personal and career development needs of TAFE (Technical And Further Education) Queensland's lead vocational teachers through the conceptual framework of Spirituality at Work (SAW), which is a framework for looking at workplace relations. This research was conducted through four focus group meetings held in November 2009, each lasting approximately 90 minutes. A Queensland TAFE-wide notice attracted the lead vocational teachers who volunteered to participate in the focus group discussions. The focus groups reviewed the way in which the lead vocational teacher role is currently being deployed within various TAFE Queensland institutes. The research is limited by the small number of participants. In all, while 80 people responded to the invitation to participate, only 24 were able to take part. This was due mainly to time constraints, work pressures and other commitments. The sample may not be representative of the true demographic of lead vocational teachers in TAFE Queensland. The research is also limited in that the sole method of data-gathering was through the use of focus groups. The paper argues that the Spirituality at Work framework already exists in the teaching profession as a set of humanist values, which, while acknowledged as fluid, changeable and multiple, informs the basis of much teaching work. In particular, the role of teacher leadership in TAFE Queensland resembles a form of servant leadership (Greenleaf 1977), with a strongly affective component. This model of ethics-based behaviour is challenged by the business-based model of education and the proliferation of performance measures. It is argued that this conflict of interest creates an incongruence that is a discouraging factor in staff retention and a source of dissatisfaction among lead vocational teachers. It is revealed that lead vocational teachers view their profession as a "calling" and see serving their students as a priority. With greater emphasis being placed on financial decisions within VET workplaces and the introduction of increased reporting requirements, these teachers feel that they are operating in environments with low levels of trust. Overall, lead vocational teachers consider that their teaching practices were undervalued. Focus group questions are appended.
National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd. P.O. Box 8288, Stational Arcade, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Tel: +61-8-230-8400; Fax: +61-8-212-3436; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
Authoring Institution: National Centre for Vocational Education Research
Identifiers - Location: Australia