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Vocational Education beyond Skill Formation

VET between Civic, Industrial and Market Tensions


Edited By Fernando Marhuenda-Fluixá

Vocational education and training has played an important role in the struggles between Work and Capital along history and today; there are examples of such tensions worldwide. The first section of this book provides illustrations of different countries from the 18th to the early 20th century. The authors explain and exemplify the education of the workforce and its political engagement, contributing to the formation of the working class. The chapters provide relevant approaches to how young apprentices and adult workers developed a class consciousness through vocational education. The second section illustrates practices of resistance and transformation within policies and practices of vocational education nowadays in Central and Southern Europe and South America, addressing the needs of people with disabilities and dispossessed populations. The final section analyses how theories and policies intertwine resulting in the idiosyncrasy of vocational education practices across the world, through tensions between logics and institutional actors. The book addresses the political dimensions of Vocational Education and problematizes its mere consideration as an instrumental tool in skill formation.

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Learning through Praxis and Cooperation: Lev Vygotsky and Vocational Pedagogy (Liv Mjelde)


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Learning through Praxis and Cooperation: Lev Vygotsky and Vocational Pedagogy

1.  Introduction

One of the main findings in my research in the vocational sector over the past decades is that students and apprentices in the vocational trades prospered and learned when they were in activity in the workshops in the vocational schools or in the workplaces, while at the same time they found no meaning or relevance to the many hours spent in classrooms for general education. They showed up for the workshop classes but they failed to show up for the academic classes. Empirical research conducted by myself and students of vocational pedagogy during the past decades, decades marked in Norway’s upper secondary schooling by a decrease in workshop instruction and an increase in the more abstract general curriculum, shows that the contradictions between these types of learning have remained fierce and persistent during the present school reforms in vocational and adult education (Bodin, 2004, Bongo 1999, 2001, Grimestad 1993, Frøland 2004, Mjelde 1993, 2006,Velten 2004).1

Vocational education in schools and apprenticeship are in focus in Norway right now. The Minister of Knowledge introducing a parliamentary report on education in March 2013 emphasized that more ← 363 | 364 → attention will be paid to vocational subjects. The government intends to reduce today’s large drop-out problems. This Norwegian Official Report (NOU. No. 20 2012–2013) has reported that 30% of the students did not finish...

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