Teachers work and the construction of contemporary working-class schooling in Victoria, Australia

2017-02-07T23:30:06Z (GMT) by Pardy, John
Education has long been identified as a social institution that both constructs classed differences and can ameliorate their effects. So what is the relationship between social class and education today? This thesis examines the way schooling and its distinctive configurations of knowledge and labour mediate class formation at the start of the 21st century. I report on interview-based research that investigated teachers’ work in VCAL, a form of schooling that uses an applied learning approach to support young people to complete their final years of secondary schooling. Drawing on secondary sources, I show that VCAL is a particular contemporary form of working class schooling in a longer history through which technical education in Australia was mobilised in ways that formed working class identities. I use interview data to highlight the different approaches to schooling developed in VCAL learning spaces and document the way VCAL teachers engage students in processes of applied learning. These different learning spaces reveal how VCAL teachers’ progress educational approaches enabling young people to participate in and transition from school to work and further learning. I argue that VCAL is a contemporary form of working class schooling and, like earlier forms, has contradictory effects on young peoples’ educational opportunities and life chances. Through the thesis it is revealed that VCAL teachers’ labour is connected to the repurposing of schooling where schooling others differently at once challenges and affirms hierarchies in knowing in schooling where the academic is normatively valued as the dominant and superior pattern of schooling.