Cooperative Learning Overview
In 2011, Harvard University published a study entitled Pathways to Prosperity, and the model of technical education in Massachusetts was highlighted as the most successful educational high school model for technical training. An excerpt from the report states:
“Two recent reports provide compelling evidence that vocational education that integrates work and learning is a superior way to learn. And not surprisingly, young people who have been in programs teaching them about “working life” and giving them soft skills as well as training and experience in a career area do better at finding jobs.”
One of the reasons that Harvard University’s recent groundbreaking study focused on the success of technical education is the cooperative learning experience. Here at The Cape Cod Tech, our co-op model follows the Massachusetts guidelines for technical high schools, and participating in a co-op work experience is one of the main goals our junior and senior-level students aspire to while enrolled here. Rather than spend their two-week technical cycle in their school-based “shop”, students work in the field with existing businesses to gain real-world experience. Authentic work-based settings further cement hands-on technical skills, provide networking opportunities in the field, and enhances students’ resumes for eventual full-time employment. Students become eligible for Co-op after the first trimester of their Junior year, and there are several requirements they must meet in order to qualify. Grades, both academic and technical, are an important factor in this process.
“Massachusetts has demonstrated that high-quality career and vocational education programs can engage a wide range of students while providing them with both academic proficiency and the technical skills necessary for advanced training in high-demand fields. This thoughtful report (Pathways to Prosperity) points the way toward providing many more of our young people with the knowledge and skills that will expand their opportunity to fully participate in the jobs of our increasingly knowledge-based economy.”
Mitchell D. Chester, Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education