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Issues of identity and knowledge in the schooling of VET: a case study of lifelong learning

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This article discusses two school-based case studies of vocational education and training in the areas of information technology and hospitality from the perspective of the agendas of ‘lifelong learning'. Lifelong learning can be seen as both a policy goal leading to institutional and programme reforms and as a process which fosters in learners identities that enable them to thrive in the circumstances of contemporary life. These case studies suggest that current approaches to vocational education and training in schools are enacting the first but not the second of these agendas. Institutional barriers are being removed and work placements drawn in to schooling programmes. However, the pedagogy, assessment and curriculum of the programmes emphasizes short-term (and conflicting) knowledge objectives rather than orientations to flexible lifelong learning. We argue that it is teachers rather than the students who are thrust most forcibly into adopting new learner-worker identities consonant with the attributes of ‘lifelong learners' and the demands of the contemporary workplace.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Melbourne, Australia

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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