Engaging Instruction


Engaging instruction is one of 12 elements of high-quality CTE, defined in ACTE’s comprehensive, research-based Quality CTE Program of Study Framework. The following reports, articles, guides and toolkits can help you provide high-quality, engaging instruction.

Instructional Strategies and Tools

Instructional Strategies and Tools

Case Study: Transforming CTE Learning Through Mixed Reality
Carbenia, ACTE Techniques Magazine, October 2017

Teachers in Florida’s St. Lucie Public Schools are using zSpace, which combines elements of virtual reality and augmented reality, to create interactive experiences for a diverse group of CTE students.

Tech Tools Fuel Today’s CTE & Inspire Tomorrow’s World Leaders
Mumm, ACTE Techniques Magazine, October 2017

The author describes how to deliver project-based learning in a fabrication or fab lab setting.

Teaching In-Demand Skills: How Healthcare Educators Engage Today’s Students
Kuhn, ACTE Techniques Magazine, October 2017

Health care educators are using simulators and other high-tech tools to engage new generations of students.

Incorporating Guided and Open Inquiry Into the CTE Classroom
Schwartz, ACTE Techniques Magazine, September 2017

This article discusses the benefits of incorporating varied levels of inquiry-based learning in the CTE classroom.

Project-based World Series
Getting Smart and the Buck Institute for Education

This trio of publications defines the skills and mindsets needed for a project-based world, and explores how teachers and students can be prepared for this world. Preparing Students for a Project-based World includes recommendations and a project-based learning quick start guide.

Columbia Area Career Center Project-based Learning: A Formula for Rapid Results
Southern Regional Education Board High Schools That Work, June 2017

This case study describes how Columbia Area Career Center implemented project-based learning schoolwide in less than a year.

Ensuring Equity in Problem-based Learning Toolkit ($)
National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity

An equitable problem-based learning approach can positively affect marginalized groups. This publication provides strategies that educators can use to make their problem-based learning practices more equitable. It incorporates detailed professional learning community guides and a reflection tool to support evaluation.

Contextualized Teaching and Learning: A Faculty Primer
Center for Student Success/RP Group, Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, Basic Skills Initiative and Bay Area Workforce Funding Collaborative, 2009

This report examines contextualized teaching and learning as a promising set of strategies and practices, with particular reference to California’s Basic Skills Initiative. It reviews a range of contextualized teaching and learning practices from the faculty/program director perspective, and includes a set of considerations for community college faculty and leaders.

Engaging Students in Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: A Brief Review of the Literature
McCormick, Clark and Raines, Journal of Studies in Education, 2015

This journal article reviews the body of research on teaching critical thinking and problem solving and identifies overarching themes, including student involvement, learning styles, student motivation and instructor perceptions and behaviors.

Analysis of Teachers’ Adoption of Technology for Use in Instruction in Seven Career and Technical Education Programs ($)
Kotrlik and Redmann, Career and Technical Education Research, 2009

The researchers analyzed how secondary CTE teachers are using technology in instruction. Technology training sources, technology available, technology adoption, technology anxiety and barriers to technology integration were compared by CTE program area.

Journal Writing in Career and Technical Education: A Tool to Promote Critical-Thinking Skills
Cooper, Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, 2006

Used effectively, journal writing as a teaching method promotes critical thinking and learning skills in CTE students.

Integrating Academics in the CTE Classroom

Integrating Academics in the CTE Classroom

Common Core: The Challenge and the Opportunity
Blosveren, Liben and DeWitt, ACTE Techniques Magazine, Nov/Dec 2014

This article describes instructional strategies to use when integrating academic content in the CTE classroom.

Common Core-CTE Classroom Tasks
Achieve and Advance CTE

High school and postsecondary mathematics and CTE educators developed these tasks, which were validated by Common Core State Standards context experts and by National Career Clusters Knowledge and Skills Statements content experts.

Capitalizing on Context: Curriculum Integration in Career and Technical Education
National Research Center for CTE Curriculum Integration Workgroup, 2010

This publication describes the process, findings and key principles of curriculum integration of two National Research Center for CTE projects: The Math-in-CTE model, in which CTE and math teachers partnered to develop math-enhanced CTE lessons, and the Authentic Literacy in CTE project.

Oregon Applied Academics Project Final Report
Pearson, Richardson and Sawyer, National Research Center for CTE, 2013

Teacher teams in Oregon developed a technical math course with nine units that led to math skill gains and satisfaction from teachers and students.

Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education From Career and Technical Education
Chernus and Fowler, National Institute for Literacy, 2010

This report examines three types of curriculum integration—course integration, cross-curriculum integration and program integration—and lessons from CTE that can be applied to adult education.

Differentiated Learning and Classroom Management

Differentiated Learning and Classroom Management

Positive Learning Environments Enhance Student Achievement
Swafford, Bailey and Beasley, ACTE Techniques Magazine, May 2014

The authors describe the six components of a positive learning environment.

Classroom Management Strategies
Dustova and Cotton, The CTE Journal, 2015
Best practices in classroom management strategies include knowing the difference between rules and procedures, what to do before the class and on the first day of class, ways to build relationships with students, the art of questioning, the significance of staying calm and the importance of positive expectations.

Personality Type and Learning Style: The Tie That Binds ($)
Threeton, Walter and Evanoski, Career and Technical Education Research, 2013

Exploring the relationship between personality type and learning style can help CTE teachers and teacher educators diversify curriculum and instruction to enhance the educational experience for the student learner.

Reflection on One’s Own Teaching Style and Learning Strategy Can Affect the CTE Classroom
McCaskey and Crowder, The CTE Journal, 2015

The researchers describe how CTE teachers can become more aware and reflect on their own learning strategy, and implement that knowledge into their teaching style.

Teaching English Language Learners in CTE Programs ($)
Hernández-Gantes and Blank, 2009

This book advises how to teach English Language Learners (ELLs) in today’s CTE programs. The authors’ teaching framework and case studies draw from common settings in which career and technical educators find themselves working with ELLs—in the classroom, in the laboratory or workshop, and in work-based learning settings.

Educator Standards and Professional Development Models

Educator Standards and Professional Development Models

National Research Center for CTE (NRCCTE) Professional Development Model: Teaching to Lead (new and early career teachers)

Teaching to Lead, a research-based preparation program for new and early career CTE teachers, improves teacher competence and self-efficacy and has been shown to increase teacher retention. It features problem-based learning modules in instructional planning, instructional strategies, assessment and classroom management delivered across 10 days of intensive professional development supplemented with on-site coaching by expert NRCCTE at Southern Regional Education Board facilitators.

NRCCTE Professional Development Models: Math-in-CTE and Literacy-in-CTE

These professional development models from the National Research Center for CTE are grounded in research and train teachers in the pedagogic frameworks and processes needed to enhance the instruction of the mathematics or reading and writing tasks that naturally occur in their CTE curricula.

CTE Standards (Second Edition)
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, 2014

This second edition of CTE standards from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards describes what accomplished CTE teachers should know and be able to do. The standards are meant to reflect the current professional consensus about the essential aspects of accomplished practice. They were developed by the Board’s CTE Standards Committee.