Parry, Lindsay and Harreveld, R. E. (Bobby) and Danaher, P. A. (2011) Curriculum connections: lessons from post-compulsory vocational education and training. In: Creating connections in teaching and learning. Research on Teaching and Learning. Information Age Publishing, Charlotte, NC, United States, pp. 137-150. ISBN 978-1-61735-550-9 (pbk); 978-1-61735-551-6 9 (hbk); 978-1-61735-552-3 (ebook)
Curriculum, as one of the three educational message systems (with pedagogy and assessment), can be understood as potentially complicit with disconnections and missed opportunities for creating connections in teaching and learning. This is particularly the case if the curriculum is removed from the lived experiences and situated aspirations of groups of learners. At the same time, curriculum can function as the vehicle for creating and sustaining meaningful connections in teaching and learning if it engages respectfully with those experiences and helps to fulfill those aspirations.
This chapter explores curriculum’s capacity to create educational connections by interrogating a previously marginalized field of educational provision and research: post-compulsory vocational education and training, incorporating senior secondary schooling, Technical and Further Education Colleges and their non-Australian equivalents, and private providers. Framed by selected concepts from contemporary curriculum theorizing, the chapter draws on evidence presented in recent issues of VOCAL: The Australian Journal of Vocational Education and Training in Schools. Specifically, the authors argue that post-compulsory vocational education and training provide several examples of curriculum creating powerful connections for young adult learners that must be understood against the backdrop of broader socioeconomic trends enacted locally, nationally, and globally. More broadly, this field makes a distinctive and important contribution to wider research endeavours related to teaching and learning.
Separately, curriculum and post-compulsory vocational education and training are both contested and politicized fields of scholarship, policy, and practice. This chapter examines these two fields in combination, in order to identify the opportunities for creating productive and sustainable connections in teaching and learning that they exhibit, as well as some of the obstacles to such a creation. In doing so, we also consider what those opportunities and obstacles might prognosticate for enabling and empowering curriculum connections more widely.
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