But I’ve Been Doing This for Years: Informal Integration of Vocational and Academic Education Pilot Test Report

Publication August 1995

This pilot study represents the first phase of a two-year study of individual teachers who provide integrated instruction for their students, with the goal of uncovering genuinely innovative tips and techniques which may be emulated by others. The pilot study sought to identify individual teachers who recognized the advantages of integrating the vocational and academic aspects of their instruction prior to the influence of state or national initiatives such as Tech Prep. By examining these “early innovators,” the project is seeking to locate and describe strategies that truly work and that lie outside of (or augment) the current body of knowledge on the subject. The instruments and procedures developed and refined in this pilot study will be used to collect data from a larger sample of teachers in several midwestern states during the second phase of the study.

The pilot study concentrated on the process of identifying the right subjects to study. A multiple-stage procedure was developed which involved (1) having state-level staff nominate exemplary vocational teachers and/or programs, (2) conducting telephone interviews with nominees to determine if they were “early” integrators along with their current level of integration, and (3) selecting a small number of subjects for further study based on telephone interview results. This identification procedure yielded three detailed interviews.

Data collection, analysis, and reporting procedures were piloted by conducting intensive on-site interviews with the three subjects in the late fall of 1993. The interview guides were developed by project staff and focused primarily on teaching methods used to achieve integration. Interviews were audiotaped, and the tapes were transcribed and content analyzed. Narrative reports were developed around the following organizers: (1) teacher background (with integration); (2) their overall view of integration (e.g., why it should be done, what its function is, perceived benefits); (3) how integration is achieved in their classrooms (and labs), (4) the level of support they have received and how they garnered support, and (5) their perceived evidence of the success of their efforts.

Two themes emerged via the analysis of interview data. One focuses on the adaptation of supervisory techniques used by a teacher through over twenty years of industry experience, the other on the ability and willingness to ferret out existing information from a variety of sources and adapt it for instructional use.

Roegge, C. A., & Ferej, A. (1995, August). But I’ve been doing this for years: Informal integration of vocational and academic education pilot test report. Berkeley, CA: National Center for Research in Vocational Education.

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