Pedagogical Issues in Vocational Teachers’ Learning: The Importance of Teacher Development

  • Janet Hamilton BroadEmail author
Reference work entry


This chapter explores pedagogical approaches used by vocational teachers to capture new techniques, technology, and knowledge developed through shared practice in workplaces. It argues that this is both a challenging and a problematic endeavor as teachers are situated in contexts removed from where vocational knowledge is developed. In addition, the nature of vocational knowledge which is complex, complicated, and in constant motion and flux compounds the practical problems of collection and recontextualization of new techniques and innovations from workplaces to teaching environments. Examples are given from research findings of how vocational teachers overcome these challenges by utilizing professional development activities to capture new techniques, technologies, and knowledge. These are discussed in order to shed light on the agentic action of vocational teachers and how they self-determine and self-select the activities they engage with. It is also shown why some activities are perceived by teachers to be valuable and why some hold little value. It is further shown that this is largely determined by the relational value of the activities engaged with and how relevant they are to the day-to-day practices of the individual teacher. The hidden nature of the pedagogy that teachers use is also illuminated. This exploration reveals the main characteristics of effective teacher pedagogy that are (a) teacher agency, (b) relational networks, and (c) hidden pedagogical practices. The chapter concludes by arguing for new ways to both organize and conceptualize pedagogical approaches to the development of vocational teachers’ occupational expertise.


Vocational teachers Vocational knowledge Expertise Pedagogy Professional development Professional associations 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education, Practice and SocietyUCL, Institute of EducationLondonUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Karen Evans
  • Natasha Kersh
    • 1
  1. 1.University College LondonLondonUK

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