students with modelsmallBy Robert P. Leiby NBCT, Instructor for the Construction Management Academy at Applications and Research Laboratory As a CTE instructor for more than 35 years, I have experienced a myriad of systemic change within education. Along with many of my colleagues, it’s safe to say that we are a skeptical group requiring validation of any new tools or processes that affect current industry practice and program specific goals. Current training principles, coupled with the recent transformation of skill-specific goals to broader goals of college readiness, career sustainability and mobility for students can have a bombarding effect on the craft instructor, and that’s before we include the technological effects within industry and society. College and career readiness, common core standards, technology use, research and problem solving, communication, formative and summative assessment, multicultural classroom environment, interdisciplinary activities, professional development and resource management are some examples of today’s expectations for craft instructors. Experienced instructors realize that they have been using these training principles in one form or another in their classrooms for years. We understand that this methodology is validated in the revised version of the National Standards for Career and Technology Education, but implementing these valid practices is not enough. class with awardssmallA highly regarded career and technical education principal once advised, “A person without data is a person with an opinion.” Consciously and formally implementing selected training principles with transparency and purpose will enhance student motivation to learn and impact program goals with the data to back it up. Knowing the learner and time are critical variables that instructors must consider as we develop our program of study. Implementing the elements mentioned is a difficult task made possible through the use of technology such as the NCCER online curriculum, office software and mobile communication. It is important to understand that students are not clean slates for instructors to write upon, and we must appreciate the fact that each student possesses a unique learning style. I practice the facilitative leadership model matched with our curriculum to achieve efficiency in accomplishing student goals. This method provides students the opportunity for leadership and responsibility for their learning. As facilitator, the instructor involves the class in designing, planning and delivery of the project. cakesmall2My goal is to reach as many students as possible by tailoring instruction to personal learning styles using the most efficient and effective methods available. Deliberately incorporating current training principles seamlessly into student initiatives is a paradigm shift with the purpose of accommodating a diverse population of student learners. Taking full advantage of technology like the NCCER online curriculum provides students with remote access to lessons and allows the instructor to provide individual support. This time-saving system provides the instructor with group communication, assessment and the availability to upload or emphasize text files. Calendars, classroom management features and video conferencing is made possible by this technology. I prefer to see the broad view in which the transfer of knowledge creates a foundation for a lifetime of learning. Students in the Applications and Research Laboratory Construction Academy use high-level math to construct rooftops on houses. Discover how these students take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to a real-world situation here: Look for more from Robert Leiby next year in NCCER’s Cornerstone magazine. His article will feature six project examples for instructors to implement in their classrooms.

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About NCCER

NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.