A Competency-Based Model for Gospel-Centered Vocational Education
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This qualitative multicase study explored the key features characterizing competency-based, gospel-centered vocational education with the intent to construct a framework for an institutional model replicable to a Majority World context. Three trade schools in the United States were purposively selected from the populations of Christian-based trade and technology institutions that provide skill-oriented training. The researcher gathered data through the mining of institutional documents and a semi-structured interview of key leaders from the three sample institutions. The source materials thus collected were analyzed based on three research questions pertaining to educational philosophy, pedagogical approach, and practical application. Theology of work and vocation; holistic mission; and integration of faith, work, and mission for Christian education were the theoretical underpinnings that frame the discussion of the research findings.The findings of the study suggest that there is a viable institutional framework for competency-based, gospel-centered vocational education, which could be used to bridge the observed gap between Christian education and vocational discipleship. Three components support this framework: (1) Educational philosophy based on a biblical worldview, coupled with a competency-based concept; (2) Curriculum contents deeply embedded and subtly crafted with Bible lessons and spiritual disciplines; and (3) Pedagogical approaches appropriately implemented within a conducive environment of a residential community. Several themes and patterns that emerged in the research establish these vital components that result in building a framework model. The findings also indicate that the proposed institutional model could be transferred to and implemented in Christian trade schools in other contexts with minimal adaptations. The framework will positively serve as a model and a guideline for establishing or transforming similar institutions in the Majority World. Institutions and churches may seek to incorporate the model into the functionality of competency-based, gospel-centered vocational training and discipleship in their context.