Vocationally oriented English instruction (PhD project)
This doctoral research project is a study of how English teachers vocationally orient instruction in vocational study programmes of Norwegian upper secondary schools, and how this instruction is experienced by students.
How are teachers implementing vocationally oriented instruction in their lessons? Photo: colourbox.
In Norway, English teachers – as other common core teachers - are required to adapt instructional content, methods and vocabulary to fit the vocational programmes where they teach (Ministry of Education and Research, 2008). They must do utilising an instructional approach referred to as yrkesretting in Norwegian, or vocationally oriented instruction (my translation) in English. The overarching aim of this study is to investigate English instruction in vocational study programmes to learn more about the instructional approach vocationally oriented instruction (VOI). VOI is legally established in the Regulations of the Education Act (§1-3), and praised for assumed positive effects on motivation and graduation rates. Presently, we have little research-based knowledge of the type of instruction provided to meet the VOI mandate, and of students’ experiences with this type of instruction.
Undoubtedly, the prominence of English as a lingua franca means that all Norwegians need solid competence in the language. For vocational students, general language skills must be complemented by specific competences relevant in their future occupation(s). Even though vocationally oriented instruction is believed to contribute in this respect, previous studies of teacher attitudes indicate that vocationally oriented instruction is seen as both challenging and problematic (Haugset et al, 2014). To further the field, this study aims to develop an understanding of how a selection of teachers implement vocationally oriented instruction in their lessons, and how students perceive its relevance.
Design and methodology
This empirical study will utilise a mixed-methods design (Teddlie & Tashakkori, 2009), where qualitative classroom observations and interviews are combined with a quantitative survey study targeting students. The qualitative data collection will be conducted in 2018, at several schools located in Eastern parts of Norway. The quantitative study, targeting a larger selection of students, will follow when the qualitative data have been analysed.
The project is a four-year doctoral research project (2017–2021), financed by the Department of Teacher Education and School Research at the University of Oslo.