Volume 36, Issue 1 p. 3-25

‘This baby…it isn't alive.’ Towards a community of learners for vocational orientation

Annoesjka Boersma

Corresponding Author

Annoesjka Boersma

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Graduate School for Teaching and Learning, University of Amsterdam, Spinozastraat 55, 1018 HJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands E-mail: [email protected]Search for more papers by this author
Geert ten Dam

Geert ten Dam

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Monique Volman

Monique Volman

Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Wim Wardekker

Wim Wardekker

Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, Zwolle, The Netherlands

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First published: 02 January 2013
Citations: 15

Abstract

The aim of this study is to contribute to the innovation of pre-vocational education, in particular, students' orientation at possible future occupations. From our theoretical understanding, vocational orientation that makes sense to students requires them to be part of a ‘community of learners for vocational orientation’. In such a community, students are stimulated to learn deliberately while participating in vocational practices. In this article we distinguish four parameters to define a community of learners for vocational orientation. We then present the results of a collective instrumental case study into teaching-learning processes in four classes in two pre-vocational secondary schools. Data were collected through classroom observations, a series of interviews with teachers and students. The interviews focused on eight ‘critical incidents’ recorded during classroom observations. The results show that the parameters ‘shared learning’ and ‘meaningful learning’ are more manifest in the teaching-learning process than ‘reflective learning’ and ‘a focus on transferable learning outcomes’. The article concludes with a discussion of the limits of working in simulated work situations in school for realizing effective pre-vocational education.