Career Technical Education


Learning is a holistic process of adaptation to the world and not just the result of cognition. Learning involves the integrated functioning of the total person thinking, feeling, perceiving, and behaving. (Kolb & Kolb, 2005 p. 194 cited in Reynolds, Vince., 2007)

Career Education provides an alternative to the traditional approach of teaching. Started by Sidney P. Marland in January 1971 and introduced to National Association of Secondary School Principals in USA, the concept behind Career Education is a new reform of schools where a new educational unity is introduced. This entirely new curriculum would, Marland believed, represent a blending of vocational, college preparatory, and general education. Moreover, all grade levels and subject areas would be affected (Miller, Virginia R. 2002)

Career Education is a conscientious effort to effect basic educational change. It is a kindergarten through adult education approach and a program for all individuals rather than for a specific minority. Its proponents would single out career education as preparation for work.

One debate about Career Education is that Occupations are changing all the time preparing students for specific jobs may be meaningless approach. Hoyt (1995) , has a broader definition of work , conscious effort, other than that involved in activities whose primary purpose is either coping or relaxation, aimed at producing benefits for oneself and / or oneself and others (p153) ( as cited by Stead, Hartnett, 1976). Career education is the total effort of public education and community to help all individuals become familiar with the values of work oriented society, to integrate those values into their personal value systems, and to implement those values in their lives in such a way that work becomes possible, meaningful, and satisfying to each individual. With its goal of preparing all students, career education serves the following significant objectives:

  1. To help all individuals to become familiar with the values of work oriented society
  2. To encourage individuals to integrate these work values into personal value structure
  3. To assist individuals in implementing work values in their lives. (Hoyt, 1995, pp 157-158 cited by Stead, Hartnett,1976)

Career and technical educators can use it to:

  1. Support small learning communities with career focus. Schools      have the potential to become the sites of smaller educational environments that are fundamental to high school reform (Grubb 1995)
  1. Use contextual project-based teaching and learning.
  2. Clearly articulate career and technical education outcomes and link them to existing standards rather than establishing separate standards career and technical education should link to whatever standards are part of the large system(Brand 2000)
  3. Connect to the community: communities have an important role in urban education. Many urban communities for example have a rich social economic and political life that can be used by school to support real world learning (Grubb 1995)

Modernized CTE (Career Technical education) supports strong economic competitiveness by:

  1. increasing student engagement;
  2. improving math, science and literacy skills;
  3. meeting workforce needs; and
  4. meeting employer needs for highly skilled workers.(Karen Drage 2009)E

School reform should take into consideration technology rapid changes design. China is currently leading the biotechnology and nanotechnology research in the world. Daggett reported that 60 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in China are awarded in the areas of science and engineering and 90 percent of the world’s scientists and engineers will work in Asia by 2010. CTE can be instrumental in closing the competitiveness gap by adopting a proactive approach to curriculum development as opposed to the traditional reactive approach. (Karen Drage 2009)

Thomas Bailey in his study with his colleagues about whether internship programs and CTE have a positive effect on students’ academic achievement. They concluded the evidence is inconclusive. They targeted 25 student interns. They investigated the impact of what students were studying in CTE and the work experience they are experiencing. The researchers concluded that academic impacts from typical work-based experiences in high school are limited and that integrating the experiences at school and work, while possible and powerful when done well, poses significant curricular challenges (Bailey, Hughes, and Moore 2004). In the same study, Bailey and colleagues argued that there could be essential none academic benefits of CTE. They conclude that these benefits has two aspects:

Exposure to adults in settings that can help young people identify paths to adult responsibility; and exposure to non-school forms of thinking and problem solving that work provides, including ways to define problems, solve them in the context of limited information and multiple goals, work in teams, understand social relations, etc. These researchers found sufficient value from these learning opportunities, beyond either academic or narrow career-planning value, to conclude that: work based learning is worth pursuing and expanding.(Richard Kazis 2005)

It is time for CTE to move beyond promoting the teaching of soft skills. Indeed, critical thinking, communication and teamwork skills are needed to prepare students for the world of work in an internationally competitive economy. The future of CTE lies in promoting high standards— both in academic and occupational areas—and developing curriculum in emerging fields such as biometrics. It is time that CTE embraces this change and opens its eyes to the new realities of work and education. (Karen Drage 2009).

Copyright 2015 Bashaer M. Al Kilani


Biley T. R., Hughes K., Moore D. T. (2004) Working knowledge: work-based learning and education reform

Brand, B. (2000). High schools of the millennium: Implications for career and technical education. Workforce Education Webcasts [on-line]. The National

Dissemination Center for Career and Technical Education, Columbus, Ohio.


DRAGE, K., (2009). Modernizing Career and Technical Education Programs (Broderius, Bruce W. 1976)

Grubb, W.N. (1995). Reconstructing urban schools with work-centered education. Education and Urban Society

Imel, S.,  (2000). Career & Technical eduction in urban school.In brief: Fast facts for policy and practice No. 9

Kazis R.(2005) What Role for High School Programs?

Miller,V., R. (2002). The role of career and technical Education in High school

Stead, P., L., Hartnett, R. A. (1976), A third party evaluation of the region v, regional education service agency, career oriented education program

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