Curriculum and Pedagogy to Integrate Occupational and Academic instruction in the Community College: Implications for Faculty Development
This is a case study of curriculum and pedagogy used to integrate academic and occupational education in the community college. The study investigated classroom practices, views of integrated instruction on the part of staff and students, and professional development approaches. Thirty-three integrated classrooms in seven community colleges in four states were studied. Instruction was integrated either through linking courses, or infusing academic or occupational instruction in single courses. Two-thirds of the instructors applied a strong form of integration, and the majority of instructors combined teacher- and student-centered methods, contrary to the expectation that integrated instruction would be primarily student-centered. College faculty and administrators were highly concerned about students' need for improved academic skills, suggesting an overlap with the purposes of remedial education. At the same time, little explicit instruction in literacy or critical thinking skills was observed in occupational classrooms. A strong program of professional development combined with the support of senior administrators promoted sustainability. Several approaches to staff development had the potential to overcome faculty resistance to integrated instruction. Finally, despite much enthusiasm for academic-occupational integration, the study sites had almost no empirical evidence to offer. If integrated instruction is to be evaluated, it will be necessary to disentangle its effects from those of other good practices that tend to accompany it.
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