Vocational English in policy and practice

University dissertation from Göteborgs universitet

Abstract: The aim of this licentiate thesis is to examine how, and in what ways, vocational English is a part of English language teaching in the Building and Construc­tion Programme in Sweden, and what the influences are for such pedagogy. The main research question is how policy documents relate to the views of teachers and their educational practice regarding vocational English. The study consists of two parts: a textual policy analysis of the three latest upper secondary school reforms in Sweden (Lgy 70, Lpf 94, and Gy 2011), and semi-structured interviews with practicing English teachers in the Building and Construction Programme. The interviews are categorised by using Spradley’s (1979) semantic relationships and taxonomies. Balls’ (Ball, 1993) and Ozga’s (1990; 2000) concept of policy enactment is used in the analysis as well as Bernstein’s (1990; 2000) theoretical framework of classification, framing, and horizontal and vertical discourse.The results show that five of the six teachers in the interviews work with vocational English in some way. The study also shows that there is a distinct gap between policy and practice. Several of the teachers have the notion that they are supposed to work with vocational English and that it must be written down in policy somewhere. The greatest influence on the teaching for these teachers are their students, either indirectly or directly. Further, the study shows that different frame factors such as time poverty hinders the teachers from reading policy texts and cooperating with the vocational teachers in the Building and Construction Programme.

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