NCCER for Teachers
by Vicki Heisser |
Due to institutional changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Prince William Sound College (PWSC) recently offered a modified course delivery of the popular National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Core Instructor Certification program.
This course, offered for teachers across Alaska, provides teachers with training they can use to help their students achieve NCCER Core curriculum certification while in high school. This allows the students to either continue in postsecondary career and technical education, or enter into the workforce as a skilled worker.
Teachers who enrolled in the program learned how to construct thematic performance-based lesson plans integrating English/Language Arts, Math, Computer Science, and Cultural standards into career and technical education classes. The course delivery included a combination of online Zoom classes and also instructor directed remote place-based and outdoor experiential learning opportunities. Teachers were responsible for creating and presenting a model lesson that they presented on Zoom to the whole class. After completing the course, teachers take the NCCER Core Instructor Certification Test via remote proctoring.
Two of the teachers who participated in the online NCCER program, Pete Daley and Branden Hummel, took some time to answer questions about their experiences.
Pete Daley, who holds a bachelor's and a Master's of Education in Career and Technical Education, currently teaches welding and drafting at Hutchinson High School in Fairbanks, AK where he has been teaching for the past ten years. For Daley, the decision to participate in the NCCER program was “an easy decision.” He shares, “When I heard that you could get NCCER certified, 3 UAA credits, and it was free; it was an easy decision. I also need credits towards my teacher certification, [and] this will allow me to offer more certifications to my welding students. They will be able to get certified in CORE and hopefully Welding too.”
Daley saw many benefits to participating in this course, and he enjoyed the experience.
“I enjoyed the readings from the Instructor manual. It was good review of proper teaching practices. It was great to get teaching strategies and project ideas from other instructors. I enjoyed watching everyone’s presentations and learned some new things from them as well. The course teaches you about what NCCER is and how to properly teach it. The discussions that we had were also very enriching and I learned from them. I enjoyed the course and Woody was a great instructor.”
For Daley, Woody Woodgate, the instructor for the course, was a helpful and motivating. Of Woodgate he shared, “He encouraged us to participate in the discussions and motivated everyone to do their best. I would recommend the course to anyone who is looking to obtain the NCCER certification and offer more industry recognized credentials to their students. It was a great course!”
Branden Hummel, a fellow high school teacher, also found the course most helping and engaging. Currently a secondary Science and Math teacher at Tanalian School in Port Alsworth, AK, Hummel was eager to take the course.
“Having taught classes such as Industrial Arts and Construction Math, when I heard about the chance to take this class and become an NCCER instructor, I was anxious to take the opportunity. It is my personal belief that we could use more vocational and CTE-type opportunities here in Alaska schools, and I want to be part of helping to give students that option.”
Like Daley, Hummel took away a lot of the course.
“I had a very positive experience taking this class, and I enjoyed the interactions with our instructor as well as my classmates. It is always good to collaborate with others around the state so that we may form relationships and create larger networks that benefit our craft.”
In talking about the course itself, Hummel found that “The pace and content of the class was adequate and challenging, and I was able to learn new practices and refine current ones through the interactions that taking this course enabled. I would rate it as a great overall experience that has enhanced my skillset as an educator, and I would recommend the course, as well as PWSC without reservation to anyone who is looking for a similar opportunity.”
Even as many courses go online during this time, students are still able to engage with one another and with their instructors. And as these teachers’ experiences can attest, the NCCER course is one that whether offered face-to-face or online can offer a valuable opportunity for both the teachers taking the course and the students they will be able to help in the future. PWSC will be offering this online course again May 24 - 30th. Anyone interested can go to https://forms.gle/i4Fq1Tk5GdHpgAJv8 for more information. The deadline to sign up is May 17th.