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Title: Why do I have to do Key Skills? : accounting for year one engineering college students' perspectives on work and vocalisational education : a case study
Author: Hopkinson, Viviana
ISNI:       0000 0004 2697 0005
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2010
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As part of the increasing vocationalisation of education, a succession of Governments have identified deficiencies in what are now termed Key Skills to be a major block to enhanced worker performance and economic well-being for low-achieving students. As I teach Key Skills in an isolated College of Further Education in North West England, I am often asked by such students why they have to study Key Skills. As I wanted to find out more about such attitudes inimical to teaching and learning, this thesis reports a case study of the interconnected factors within the student biographies that have affected their life experiences and which underlie their perspectives on Key Skills. The bounded case study research in one college, involving, firstly, one cohort of first year employed engineering apprentices (N=8); a second cohort of first year college based Motor Vehicle trainees (N=8) not in employment and interview with three past and present Coordinators of Key Skills (N=3). Data was collected using three main methods: Focus Groups, individual biographical interviews (N=6) and structured interviews to provide data, including triangulation with my own perspectives and experiences. An analysis of the student data indicated significant background social structural interactive forces at play creating their Key Skills perspectives, the most important factors being social class, mediated through and by the family and peers, the locality (a traditional working class cultural dominated primary industry based town) and a form of macho masculinity. The dominant staff perspective on Key Skills is that of a deficit model of student capability, whilst the curriculum model is that of an independent Key Skills provision. Consequently, initial suggestions for the development of my own and the college practice are presented as part of an ongoing lifelong learning perspective.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral