Attention: This site looks better in the latest Mozilla or Internet Explorer.

The Learning Conference 2003

Home | Newsletter | Call for Papers | Register

Presentation Details


A University-school Collaboration: Specialized Content Instruction for Technology Education

Buck George H..

Since 1945, the University of Alberta has had sole responsibility for educating teachers for the practical arts areas, now encompassed in a curriculum known as Career and Technology Studies (CTS). The most problematic area for teacher education within this curriculum has been providing content courses for Technology Education. The curricular areas concerned, referred to as 'strands' in the CTS program are: fabrication, design, communications, computing science, and mechanics. Other aspects of the old curriculum, such as Vocational Education, no longer exist in the new provincial curriculum, implemented fully in 1997.

Between 1962 and 1972, the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education hired personnel and built the facilities to offer such content courses. The loss of personnel through cuts and retirements, plus loss of funds, led to the quest for alternate means of providing content courses. Several arrangements were made at different times between 1992 and 1996 with local post-secondary trade schools. All of these ended in abject failure.

With the termination of the latest trade school arrangement in 2000, the university was faced with either eliminating teacher education in this area, or developing some other approach to content instruction. Junior and senior high schools in an urban school district were identified that offered up-to-date programs. Teachers noted as being 'exemplary' in this area were also identified. Elementary schools were not considered, as the present curriculum does not include relevant courses. Pre-service teachers receive content instruction in the identified schools alongside students. Course design and evaluation is carried out collaboratively between the university and the teachers, using a participant action research approach.

Results from the first offering are generally positive. Most pre-service teachers found that they learned more information in the school-based courses than they did in other on-campus courses. The participant teachers reported that the program urged them to reflect upon what they teach, how they teach, and to examine how students learn. Criticisms of the program were related generally to the amount of material to be learned in a seemingly short time. Nevertheless, in spite of the criticisms, the consensus is that good learning is occurring.


Buck George H.  (Canada)
Associate Professor, & Editor of the Alberta Journal of Educational Research
Department of Secondary Education
University of Alberta

  • University-school collaboration
  • Technology education
  • Institutional collaboration
  • Innovative teacher education
  • Alternate learning environments

(30 min Conference Paper, English)