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Nordplus conference 12. May 2011, Copenhagen Ph.D-fellow, Arnt Louw Vestergaard, Centre for Youth Research, The Danish.

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Presentation on theme: "Nordplus conference 12. May 2011, Copenhagen Ph.D-fellow, Arnt Louw Vestergaard, Centre for Youth Research, The Danish."— Presentation transcript:

1 www.cefu.dk Nordplus conference 12. May 2011, Copenhagen Ph.D-fellow, Arnt Louw Vestergaard, arl@dpu.dkarl@dpu.dk Centre for Youth Research, The Danish School of Education, Aarhus university Presentation of VET – PhD-project

2 Program Outline of the Danish VET-research Focus and aim of my PhD-project Method of investigation Dilemmas and challenges at the moment Some initial analytic points

3 Outline of the Danish VET-research Historical less research interest in VET compared to the college educations An important aim was – and still is – to establish a VET-policy able, on the one hand to contribute to a high skills strategy in a global market economy (Brown/Green/Lauder 2001, and to include disadvantaged groups into the upper secondary education system (Cort 2010: 39).

4 Outline of the Danish VET-research 95 % - target - College educations 80-84 % - VET: 50 % Strong VET-research focus on: - Dropout - Completion - Retaining - 5 out of 8 ongoing VET - PhD-projects

5 VET and education (of character) A shift in political approach to the VET-system? The first phase of VET ( 1857) Professional skills were the center of attention of the apprenticeship. Technical skills were on a high level and practical work was very much considered to be educational. The professional pride was protected through the apprenticeship test. The conditions for becoming a master were a wide professional work experience and the full completion of the apprenticeship included a travelling work experience (da.: været på valsen). In the first face of the apprenticeship, becoming an apprentice was also becoming a particular social role and position as a citizen – a total socialization of the youngster and not only the training of certain vocational skills. The period of apprenticeship included a significant element of education (of character). ( Sigurjonsson 2000: 79)

6 Focus and aim of my PhD-project StudentTeacher Vocational subjects / skills Teaching and learning in the Danish VET-system, from a students perspective. - Back to basic:

7 Focus and aim of my PhD-project What is the connection between the learning of the students and their ways of becoming vocational and the organization of the teaching, the teacher-student relations and the relations between the students themselves? Basic questions: - What is going on in the classroom - How is the teaching organized? - How does the teacher disseminate the vocational subject matter? - How does the students handle themselves in the classroom?

8 Method of investigation 5 week field work among students at the foundational course to become carpenters 7 students taking pictures of their life as carpenter students Qualitative interviews with students Shorter observations and qualitative interview at 2 other carpenter- schools (geographical variation) Survey?

9 … we do not start out with well-formed ideas, we carry off to distant places to check out by means of carefully codified procedures systematically applied. We go off of to those places, or, increasingly these days, ones closer by, with some general notion of what we would like to look into and of how we might go about looking into them. We then in fact look into them (or, often enough, look instead into others that turn out to be more interesting, and after doing so we return to sort through our notes and memories, both of them defective, to see what we might have uncovered that clarifies anything or leads on to useful revisions of received ideas, our own or someone elses about something or other (Geertz 1973: v). Whats the point of doing anthropological inspired educational research?

10 - Close and thick descriptions and understandings of everyday life on a micro-level. Whats the point of doing anthropological inspired educational research? - Access to knowledge from within, about the strategies of the students, their motives, ways of handling their life as students and the challenges they face. - By my own participation as a student I gain experience on these matters with and on my own body.

11 Whats the point of doing anthropological inspired educational research? Or as Geertz puts it with reference to Max Weber: Believing, with Max Weber, that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore non an experimental science in search of law but an interpretive one in search of meaning. It is explication I am after, construing social expressions on their surface enigmatical.(Geertz 1973: 5). Knowledge in depth as opposed to knowledge across.

12 What knowledge is produced in anthropological inspired educational research? - Or how is it science? How can we say anything about the world, not to mention the world of others, if our only access to this world is through our own participation? (Hasse 2009: 30). One cannot appreciate the presented knowledge without at the same time consider the scientific project, including the means by which the researcher gains knowledge (Bourdieu 2007 [1980]: 8 – own translation). The perspective of the students is at the same time my special perspective – my point from somewhere - and the premise for my knowledge-production

13 Some initial analytic points - 3 themes: Leaning: – what works and when does the students learn something? Dissemination of the vocational profession and skills: how are the activities, requirements and expections framed? Organization: - How are the learning activities organized? Learning: [Claus (teacher) is standing at a work bench for app. 45 minutes, showing how to carve out the corners for a window frame. About 8-9 students are standing around him. Claus is doing everything and showing, how to go about the different things]. Subsequent conversation with a student: Int: Do you get anything out of standing and watching Claus doing everything? Student: Yes a lot. I watch how to do the different things and learn his tricks].

14 Dissemination of the vocational profession and skills I like when they show it to you. But if they use a vocational term, you pause and think: what was that about? – and then you do not listen to the rest. When they show it to you and at the same time tell you the right term and show, what the term relates to, then it is better for me. Focus on: - Awareness and explicitness in relation to what the students need to perform (product / process) - Awareness and explicitness in relation to, what is expected from the students and what the students can expect from the teachers. - Awareness and explicitness in relation to aim and purpose with the activies (framing). -Awareness and explicitness in relation to the students grasping and understanding of the task at hand (language, terms)

15 Organization [8:31: Niels (teacher) is walking by Student: Niels!... Niels: Not now! I have to.. (carry on walking past) Eleven: oh ok… (seemingly disappointed – have to carry on waiting) 2 minutes later Niels is coming back and assists the student. It turns out, that the plate the student was about to use, was intended for another purpose: Niels: I have just been cutting this out for a customer. They both leave with the plate to get anoter 8:40: No teacher present now. 9:15: Still no teacher present. Conversation with 2 student, who tells me, that they often have to wait a lot for the teachers Int.: But why is it, that you doesn't carry on and try for yourself? Nikolaj: You dont know if it is correct, what you are doing, and if you make a mistake, you have to start all over].

16 Literature Cort, Pia (2010): Education for All? Lessons from Reform of the Danish VET- programmes. BiBB 4/2010. Geertz, Clifford (1973): Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture. I: The Interpretation of Cultures. Basic Books, New York Hasse, Cathrine (2009): Kultur i bevægelse fra deltagerobservation til kulturanalyse – i det fysiske rum. Samfundslitteratur. Sigurjonnson, Gudmundur (2000): Fra mesterlære til skolastisk læring : tendenser i de danske erhvervsuddannelser Danmarks Lærerhøjskole


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