2.4.5 Teaching Methods in Upper Secondary and Vocational education

Within the outlines of the curriculum, teachers are free to choose their teaching methods in all types of education. The government strives for innovation by promoting collaboration between cultural institutions, competence-orientation, cross-disciplinary teaching and project-oriented learning. This becomes apparent in various decrees and national programmes.

Arts and cultural education for teachers in upper secondary and vocational education

One of the main challenges in teacher training is finding a way to systematically include arts and cultural education. Trainee teachers of specific subjects such as visual arts or music certainly receive thorough education in arts and creativity. But this is not the case with trainee teachers of other subjects. Considering the national objective to include creative-holistic education throughout the curriculum and to foster collaboration between schools and cultural institutions, it is obvious that the system of teacher training has to change. Since teacher training in Austria is currently undergoing a remodelling process, chances are that creative teaching methods and the cross-curricular use of the arts as a means of holistic learning, will play a more important role in the future. This will benefit teachers within upper secondary and vocational education.

In 2008 the coordinating centre for cultural education in schools [Bundeskoordinationszentrum für schulische Kulturarbeit, BKZ] was established. Its main goals are the coordination of art and cultural education initiatives, research and the coordination of training programmes of teacher training colleges [Pädagogische Hochschulen]. The coordination covers upper secondary and vocational education as well.
Bundeskoordinationszentrum für schulische Kulturarbeit

LITERACY is a national coordinating centre at the Viennese teacher training college [Pädagogische Hochschule Wien] which operates within the responsibility of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture. Culture and the arts form an integral part of the LITERACY programme. LITERACY aims at equipping pupils of all school types with the ability to successfully communicate in a global society and stresses the growing importance of developing new skills for reading and writing. LITERACY teacher training programmes include creative methods and modules that help to improve basic and advanced reading and writing skills - both traditional as 21st century skills - that are needed for all school subjects. Additionally the center develops seminars on how to "read" works of art and media products. The LITERACY center also cooperates with museums and libraries.

The role of publishers

Every year the Federal Ministry for Health, Family and Youth [Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, Familie und Jugend] and the Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture [Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur] publish a list of approved schoolbooks and teaching material for the various subjects. Schools are free to choose which textbooks they use. The government provides these books for the students free of cost [Schulbuchaktion].