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'I think i would have learnt more if they had tried to teach us more' - performativity, learning and identities in a swedish transport programme
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division for Educational Science and Languages. (LINA)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0127-0999
2012 (English)In: Ethnography and Education, ISSN 1745-7823, E-ISSN 1745-7831, Vol. 7, no 1, 77-92 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study is based on an ethnography that was carried out in the Transport Programme (TP) in a Swedish upper secondary school (in this paper referred to as Rockmeadows High). The research is part of a larger project focusing on discourses on Intelligence in Swedish upper secondary school, and how these are produced and used in different educational contexts. The title of the article quotes Emily, a hardworking and high-achieving TP student. Emily is disappointed that the academic courses much of the time operate on a rote level, and that teachers' expectations on the students in the programme generally are quite low. The present study also indicates, in line with several studies of vocational education in Sweden, that academic courses in vocational programmes often seem to provide scarce opportunity for theoretical learning and higher order thinking. Others suggest that the vocational courses present better conditions for such learning. The present article explores learning and instruction in different subjects and the conditions that are structuring them. It discusses the possibility that performativity pressure is one of the structuring forces. 'Performativity' is used here to refer to the notion that individuals and systems are valued based on their measured performances in regard to standards, and identified by those standards. Thus ascribed values become ends in themselves and render the use value of knowledge subordinate to the exchange value. This means that not only knowledge but also the pedagogical interaction and relationships become commodified. This is exactly what happens when new managerialism and economic rationality are imposed on the education system, as it has been throughout the Western world in the last decades. Swedish educational policy has gone far down this road, focusing measurable outcomes, individual choice and competition on all levels as means for quality. Still, not all spheres of education are dominated by the economistic rationality, as this articles aims to demonstrate and discuss. © 2012 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 7, no 1, 77-92 p.
Keyword [en]
ethnography, identity, motivation, performativity, Sweden, vocational education
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Pedagogics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-4518DOI: 10.1080/17457823.2012.661589Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84859744053OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-4518DiVA: diva2:542481
Available from: 2012-08-01 Created: 2012-08-01 Last updated: 2015-03-17Bibliographically approved

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