Exploring how hidden expectations in VET curriculum becomes problematic for low performing students
Researching the pressing retention and dropout problems of the Danish VET system (app. 20 pct. of a year group never achieve an upper secondary education) this paper takes its point of departure in the hypothesis that low performing students are kept in a marginal position (at the risk of dropping out) within the VET system, because of hidden expectations related to e.g. individualized responsibility, a certain student behavior (sitting still, participating actively), etc. By approaching the VET system as a cultural context (cultural praxis) the subtle reproductive mechanisms of the VET system are shown. With empirical examples from different introductory VET courses, it is shown how the school, the teachers and the students themselves are reproducing poor school performance and student background – being it gendered, ethnical or social – and hereby proving to the students, that school/education isn’t a negotiable path for them. The theoretical approach of this paper draws on inspiration from Paul Willis (Learning to labour, 1979) and Donald Broady (Den dolda läroplanen, 1981). The goal is to revitalize and develop the work of Willis and Broady in the context of the current retention and drop-out problems of the Danish VET system, in order to grasp the hidden reproductive mechanisms of VET school culture and how this culture is closely connected to the VET systems central role of providing a qualified labour force matching the demands of the labour market.
Esrc International Spring School Comparative Educational Pathways, 2011
Danish VET System; School culture; Reproductive Mechanisms
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11th Nordic Youth Research Symposium Global/Local Youth, 2011