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A Day Without Electricity - Essay

  • Date Submitted: 10/10/2012 07:45 AM
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Capstone Experiences in Career and Technical Education

Capstones are culminating experiences in which students synthesize subject-matter knowledge they have acquired, integrate cross-disciplinary knowledge, and connect theory and application in preparation for entry into a career (Fairchild and Taylor 2000). Durel (1993) evocatively describes them as a "rite of passage" or "liminal threshold" through which participants change their status from student to graduate. A capstone course should be both a synthesis—reflection and integration—and a bridge—a real-world preparatory experience that focuses on the postgraduation future (Fairchild and Taylor 2000; Rhodus and Hoskins 1995). In career and technical education (CTE), capstones are most often found in postsecondary business, agriculture, and allied health programs; in their emphasis on integration, experiential learning, and real-world problem solving, they would be valuable in any CTE field. This Brief discusses the rationale for capstones, presents evidence of their effectiveness, and describes ways to use them in CTE.

Why Capstones?

Many types of work now require more than technical expertise (Fairchild and Taylor 2000; Magney 1996). In many fields, a wide range of nontechnical skills is now essential: leadership, teamwork, problem solving, decision making, critical thinking, interpersonal communication, information management (Fairchild and Taylor 2000; Rhodus and Hoskins 1995). For example, in organizations with flatter hierarchies, management responsibilities are now being downshifted to technicians (Magney 1996). Information technology graduates need not only specialized technical skills but also project management skills and awareness of global concerns and business practices (Novitzki 1998). Nurses must be prepared for change management, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary collaboration in the volatile health care field (Rains, Richardson, and Fowler 1999).

To achieve these outcomes, the...

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