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The “voice” of VET teachers: Teacher dilemmas and its implications on international students , teachers and VET institutions. Sonal Nakar. Background . Responsive interviewing model developed by Rubin and Rubin (2005) was adopted.

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The “voice” of VET teachers: Teacher dilemmas and its implications on international students, teachers andVET institutions.


  • Responsive interviewing model developed by Rubin and Rubin (2005) was adopted.
  • Purposive sampling of 15 teachers teaching in Vocational Education sector was done.
  • Characteristics: age, subject area and length of work history in the organization, gender balance and qualification.
  • 26 Challenges have been derived from the findings. All challenges do not turn into dilemmas, some fade away with experience and time.
  • 7 Dilemmas arose of 26 challenges which was grouped into three categories: 5 Professional Dilemmas, Personal Dilemmas and Educational Dilemmas.
  • Ethics were found to be the base of all dilemmas.
  • The impacts and implications of each dilemma is explained in next 7 slides.
professional dilemma 1
Professional Dilemma: 1

Lack of resources and support system for teachers in helping international students with differing IELTS scores.

Impact: Some teachers might feel constrained to offer additional help to students against management directions.


  • For Teachers: Teachers might give exam questions as revision to ease their workload, thus lessening the quality of students’ learning and assessment.
  • For Students: If extra help is not offered, the students might struggle to pass the examination and lose. their self-confidence in their ability.
professional dilemma 2
Professional Dilemma 2

Managing perceived inappropriate gift giving by students:

  • Impact: Teachers with ethical standards find themselves in an awkward spot when the genuine students complain about such colleagues to them.
  • Implications:
  • For Teachers: If teachers speak out they risk damaging their relationship with colleagues and students. Teachers might offend genuine students when they refuse to accept gifts.
  • For Students: Students might assume that it is acceptable to give gifts to gain favors.
professional dilemma 3
Professional Dilemma 3

Inconsistencies amongst various VET institutes regarding curriculum, assessment standards and extent of the course

  • Impact: Difference in the content knowledge passed on to the students across organizations.
  • Implications:
  • For teachers: Teachers need to adapt or compromise their teaching and assessment standards.
  • For students: Students studying same course in 16 weeks might gain lesser knowledge than students studying from an organization offering same course in 33 weeks.
  • For VET industry and Government: Dissatisfied students might question the quality of the education and harm the reputation of institution by spreading their displeasure.
professional dilemma 4
Professional Dilemma 4

Teaching Subject Without Expertise

  • Impact: Teachers study the subject in their unpaid hours and teach next day.
  • Implications:
  • For teachers: Teachers might take up those subjects because they are concerned about students’ wellbeing when there are no other teachers or sometimes due to earning revenue.
  • For students: Students might not get best education when they lack a specialist teacher.
professional dilemma 5
Professional Dilemma 5

Constant changes in rules and policies regarding the courses in MODL list and the financial requirements

  • Impacts: Teachers are aware that continuing the course might not help students get their Visa for work or PR but telling them to discontinue means losing students resulting in reduction of their teaching hours.
  • Implications:
  • For teachers: Teachers against their ethical standards of guiding the students in right direction, might ask the students to continue studying and allow students who work long hours to go home and sleep.
  • For students: Students are encouraged to see education only as a means to getting PR. The genuine students lose faith in the system.
  • For VET institutes: Reduced student numbers result in more teacher redundancies and colleges being shut down.
  • For VET industry: Instability arising from changes in MODL list; higher dollar rate and inflation and associated reduction in student numbers.
  • For Government: The Government might be under pressure from the VET industry to alter/relax the rules to encourage the flow of international students.
personal dilemma
Personal Dilemma

Conflict within themselves; care for students and lack of sense of belonging

  • Impact: Teachers might feel ignored or unappreciated by senior college management.
  • Implication:
  • For teachers: Low self-esteem and morale which might lead teachers to disengagement phase of teaching.
  • For students: The quality of the teaching experience to the international student might suffer.
  • For VET institute: It might lead to more teacher turnover.
  • For VET industry: Good teachers might leave the industry.
educational dilemma
Educational Dilemma

Apparent lack of teaching know-how and opportunities to develop professionally along with pressure to maintain Industry Currency

  • Impact: TAA qualification as a medium to teach in VET without any teaching background; teachers are unsure of ways to deal with international students as well as other staff members from different cultures. Teachers understand the gap in their skills but are not given the opportunity to fill that gap.
  • Implications:
  • For teachers: Dissonance in the teachers. Falsifying or manipulating the industry currency and PD.
  • For students: Students might suffer as teachers who are not supported professionally, might speak or act inappropriately in class.
recommendation and conclusion
Recommendation and Conclusion
  • Many of the insights reported in this study relate to the timing of the research. The teachers had gone from being part of an organization with strong links to industry and huge student numbers to a class-bound unit with dwindling student numbers.Significant disruption and down turn over the past 18 months (ACPET, 2012).
  • Recommendations :
  • A revived partnership between governments and educators in policy making. Example, Need for a shared policy schema on workforce and economic development, using the knowledge teachers’ gain from the industry experience to inform investment in skills linked to market needs, sustainable employment for students and long term careers.
  • A toughened and more consistent national framework for regulation to deliver the highest quality teaching and learning outcomes.
  • Enhanced opportunity for teacher qualification and further development was a supporting theme. 
  • Consistency in curriculum/duration of course.