Despite numerous efforts and incentives to promote training in agriculture and, at the very least, the Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS), the level of education among Québec farmers remains low and recruitment difficulties make the lack of new farmers all the more critical.
Given this context, the introduction of co-operative education programs has quickly become a preferred option that appears to address declining enrolment, academic failure and dropout by strengthening the links between academic theory and practical experience. While co-operative education is not new in Québec, and many agree on the need to discuss the structure of co-op education, it is clear that teachers and workplace trainers have little information on how to align their practices from an organizational standpoint. Furthermore, little research has reported on the practices being adopted by teachers and workplace trainers in a co-operative education context.
The introduction of co-operative education programs has quickly become a preferred option.
We therefore felt it was necessary to study co-operative education with a view to answering the following critical research question: how are the educational practices of teachers aligned with those of workplace trainers in a context of co-operative agricultural vocational training?
Our study was founded on two key concepts: co-operative education and the opportunity it provides for linking theory and practice, and educational practices.
The results show that, when it comes to teaching practices, continuity is maintained, not through an actual co-operative teaching process implying an inductive approach to training, but through the experiences of the students and teachers and theoretical input arising from the reality of the work setting.
Claudia Gagnon, Université de Sherbrooke
Deposit of the thesis: June 2009