Vocational trainers demonstrate edutainment qualities

Online meetings, webinars, interactive worksheets, creating teaching videos and always being on hand to support students with routine technical difficulties – teachers of vocational education and training (VET) have demonstrated their edutainment qualities in the coronavirus crisis. 

"Vocational education and training teachers have established homeschooling with no master plan, but by engaging with an experimental approach and investing a great deal of time. In this crisis they have established a critical lifeline for the education system, despite all technical hurdles," says Joachim Maiß, Chairman of the Federal Association of Vocational Education and Training Teachers (Bundesverband der Lehrkräfte für Berufsbildung e. V., BvLB).

"Edutainment manager" is a job title which until now has not been part of our everyday vocabulary, but which epitomises the broad range of routine occupational fields in which VET teachers operate. Vocational trainers are career advisers, labour market consultants, mediators between trainees and companies, examiners on behalf of chambers, communication experts, social education workers, IT specialists and, obviously, specialist teachers. They understand their profession just as they do the companies and their needs as partners in dual education and training. After all, vocational schools form the link with the economy. This has proved to be a hugely resilient factor in this crisis in particular, from coming to terms with new challenges on an almost daily basis, through to the return to normal teaching where the volume of work is now significantly increased with a mixture of face-to-face and online teaching in a two-shift operation.

The occupational profile of the vocational teacher has been changing for many years—primarily from one of provider of knowledge through to learning facilitator for the individual. "This creeping change has been given massive impetus as a result of the current crisis. The digital transformation which arrived in schools long ago has suddenly become the everyday reality. And the vocational education and training teachers are stepping in for the e-learning support which is not in place - true to the saying ‘there's no such thing as can't'", says Eugen Straubinger, who is also Chair of the BvLB. This development process is ongoing and will change everyday professional life over the long term. 

In future the learner will take an active role. The teacher creates the framework required for the relevant areas of learning. This is the opposite to today's traditional classroom teaching. You learn in groups and are continually engaged in discussion. Collaborative learning is required in order to solve the complex problems together and in a team-oriented manner, problems which even today are defining day-to-day working life in companies. This is why, in future, not only will specialist competence be required, but soft skills will also need to be taught. In future school will be the place where information helps form your attitude.

In order that vocational trainers can also perform their role, process-oriented initial and continuing training is required within which teaching projects can be implemented. "In an initial step, digitalisation via the back door—homeschooling is, and has been, nothing more than this during the crisis - needs to be further professionalised and a relevant structural foundation needs to be created in order to implement home learning as a permanent component alongside face-to-face teaching in everyday school life," say Maiß and Straubinger unanimously. They are calling for the following: "Schools of vocational education and training must develop into centres of excellence. An essential prerequisite for the ongoing success of the digital transformation of vocational education and training is that technology and teaching are merged and e-learning concepts are developed. This is where policy-makers are needed to establish the relevant framework."

Source: bildungsklick.de (website on news from the education sector), revised by iMOVE, September 2020