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Vocational English: The gap between policy and practice
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, English.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0715-6123
2017 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A new structure for upper secondary school was introduced in Sweden 2011. In light of this new educational policy reform, which has differentiated vocational programmes and academic programmes from each other, the relationship between policy and practice is relevant to explore. It could be argued that this differentiation is a part of an international trend towards marketization and internationalization. Subjects, such as English, are adapted to different programmes in order to contribute to the increased employability of students. The purpose of this paper is to explore the gap between policy and practice for teachers when working with vocational English, and how this can affect vocational education in the future. The study consists of a textual policy analysis of the three latest upper secondary reforms in Sweden and semi-structured interviews with six teachers in the Building and Construction Programme. The perspective policy enactment is used rather than policy implementation, since policy text is constantly struggled over through a complex and creative recontextualisation process (Ball et al., 2012; Ozga, 2000). Bernstein’s concepts of classification and horizontal and vertical discourse are also used. Classification, which can be strong or weak, refers to boundaries between categories based on power relations (Bernstein, 1999; 2000). Horizontal and vertical discourse explain how knowledge is divided in two forms: the everyday knowledge  and the more abstract, official knowledge (Bernstein, 1999). This becomes relevant for the analysis since the school systematically selects the knowledge it provides to students. The results show that the teachers in this study perceived their vocational students as unmotivated to study “theoretical subjects”, they described them as “theoretical or practical”, and some teachers placed lower demands on vocational students than on students in other programmes. This is not in line with current policies, which shows that there is a distinct gap between policy and practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
policy enactment, vocational English, classification, teachers’ influences
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Education and Learning
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-25128OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-25128DiVA: diva2:1107196
Conference
NORDYRK 2017. Tema: Yrkesutbildning för framtiden! onsdag 7 juni – fredag 9 juni, Högskolan Dalarna, Falun
Available from: 2017-06-09 Created: 2017-06-09 Last updated: 2017-06-09Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf