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Curriculum-making in pre-vocational education in the lower secondary school: A regional comparative analysis within Europe

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This paper presents a pilot comparative research project on pre-vocational education in lower secondary schools (ISCED level 2) within regions in three European countries. The primary aim of the study was to better understand how the pre-vocational education curriculum is constructed and taught within schools. A case study methodology was selected given the de-centralized nature of curriculum-making within each of the units of analysis. The data collection period covers the years 2009–2011 and the regions taking part were from Germany, Poland, and Scotland. The research method is based upon both the collection of secondary data, through the analysis of curriculum documents within regions in each country, and the use of primary data sources, through interviewing school teachers. The research builds upon previous studies in curriculum-making, in particular a theoretical framework that explores the differences between the ‘prescribed and enacted curriculum’. Finally, this study will argue that, although it is possible to identify quite a distinct pre-vocational curriculum within each region that, in practice, the subject is rarely taught (enacted) according to this prescribed curriculum.

Keywords: curriculum; lower-secondary school; teacher agency; vocational education

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2012

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