What Makes a Good Teacher in Vocational Education? Students Talk Back


  • Venus Chan The Open University of Hong Kong




Vocational education plays an important role in promoting socio-economic develop-ment. Yet, it is under-researched, especially in terms of what constitutes quality teaching and what is attributed to good vocational teachers through the lens of the student. The present study aims to explore concepts of exemplary teachers and the effective teaching of vocationally-oriented higher diploma students. Adopting a thematic analysis, four themes and fourteen subthemes have been identified: i) teacher’s knowledge and skills (subject knowledge and specific vocational knowledge, technical skills, and pedagogical content knowledge); ii) teaching approaches and con-tent (teaching in an interesting way, teaching in a clear way, teaching in an adaptive way, exam-oriented teaching, practical skills and knowledge of professional work, and integration of theory and practice); iii) teacher-student relationships (caring for students and friendliness); and iv) the teacher’s personal characteristics and roles (enthusiasm, dual identity, and role modelling). The findings reveal that vocational teachers play a distinct dual role: not only do they need to be pro-fessionals in their subject and industry and competent in its pedagogy, they also have to possess practical skills and up-to-date expertise relevant to the broader workplace.

Keywords: Good teacher, good teaching, higher education, vocational education