Interaction between students and class teachers in vocational education and training: ‘Safety distance is needed’
Interaction between students and teachers is fundamental and has therefore been widely studied in education. However, there have been few studies on intensive spe-cial support being provided to vocational education and training (VET) students. Firstly, the focus of this article is on students’ perceptions of interactions with their class teachers. Students (aged 17–34 years) from four Finnish vocational institutions providing intensive special support were interviewed. According to the findings, the demands students placed on their class teachers and for interactions with them were modest and their perceptions of both were favourable. Interactions seemed to be study-orientated and class teachers behaved as active initiators, with students echo-ing their opinions. Students’ narratives excluded future career plans, talking about students’ strengths or future ambitions or dreams. Secondly, the aim of this study is to review Finnish VET critically. In the reformed VET system, competence-based ori-entation emphasises individual guidance and support. Therefore, as the dialogue between teacher and student seems to enable successful trajectories, it is essential to make this apparent. Part of education’s larger purpose is to make room for students’ voices and interpretations during their study, which includes both acquiring qualifi-cations to undertake certain work, and subjectification as an empowering element and socialisation of the social, cultural and political order.
Act on Vocational Education. (2017). Finnish Acts of Parliament, 2017:531. Re-trieved 26. June, 2019, from https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170531
Atkins, L., & Wallace, S. (2012). Qualitative research in education. London: Sage. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781473957602
Bakhtin, M. (1981). The dialogic imagination: Four essays. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Basit, T. (2003). Manual or electronic? The role of coding in qualitative data analysis. Educational Research, 45(2), 143–154. https://doi.org/10.1080/0013188032000133548
Biesta, G. (2010). Good education in an age of measurement: Ethics, politics, democracy. Colorado: Paradigm Publishers.
Bimrose, J., & Barnes, S-A. (2006). Is career guidance effective? Evidence from a longitudinal study in England. Australian Journal of Career Development, 15(2), 19–25. https://doi.org/10.1177/103841620601500205
Brunila, K. (2019). Interrupting psychological management of youth training. Education Inquiry. Published online, https://doi.org/10.1080/20004508.2019.1624458.
Brunila, K., Mertanen, K., Tiainen, K., Kurki, T., Masoud, A., Mäkelä, K., & Ikävalko, E. (2019). Essay: Vulnerabilizing young people: Interrupting the ethos of vulnerability, the neoliberal rationality, and the precision education governance. Suomen Antropologi, 43(3), 113–120. https://doi.org/10.30676/jfas.v43i3.82737
Bullock, K., & Jamieson, I. (1998). The effectiveness of personal development planning. Curriculum Journal, 9(1), 63–77. https://doi.org/10.1080/0958517970080106
Cooley, A. (2013). Qualitative research in education: The origins, debates, and politics of creating knowledge. Educational Studies, 49(3), 247–262. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131946.2013.783834
Cornelius-White, J. (2007). Learner-centered teacher-student relationships are effective: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 113–143. https://doi.org/10.3102/003465430298563
Draaisma A., Meijers F., & Kuijpers, M. (2018). The development of strong career learning environments: The project ‘Career orientation and guidance’ in Dutch vocational education. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 70(1), 27–46. https://doi.org/10.1080/13636820.2017.1392995
Elffers, L., Oort, F.J., & Karsten, S. (2012). Making the connection: The role of social and academic school experiences in students’ emotional engagement with school in post-secondary vocational education. Learning and Individual Differences, 22(2), 242–250. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2011.08.005
Elo, S., & Kyngäs, H. (2008). The qualitative content analysis process. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 62(1), 107–115. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2648.2007.04569.x
Fraser, B.J., & Walberg, H.J. (2005). Research on teacher-student relationships and learning environments: Context, retrospect and prospect. International Journal of Educational Research, 43(1), 103–109. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2006.03.001
Freire, P. (1970/2017). Pedagogy of the oppressed. London: Clays Ltd, Elcograf S.p.A.
Fullan, M. (1993). Change forces: Probing the depths of educational reform. London: The Falmer Press.
Giroux, H.A. (1997). Pedagogy and the politics of hope: Theory, culture, and schooling. A critical reader. Colorado: Westview Press.
Goffman, E. (1981). Forms of talk. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Hargreaves, A., & Fullan, M. (2000). Mentoring in the new millennium. Theory Into Practice, 39(1), 50–56. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15430421tip3901_8
Henderson, D.G., & Fisher, D.L. (2008). Interpersonal behaviour and student outcomes in vocational education classes. Learning Environments Research, 11(1), 19–29. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10984-007-9034-z
Hooley, T. (2014). The evidence base on lifelong guidance: A guide to key findings for effective policy and practice. Saarijärvi: Saarijärven Offset Oy.
Hsieh, H.F., & Shannon, S.E. (2005). Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15(9), 1277–1288. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732305276687
Irving, B.A. (2005). Social justice: A context for career education and guidance. In B.A. Irving, & B. Malik (Eds.), Critical reflections on career education and guidance: Promoting social justice within a global economy (pp. 10–24). London and New York: RoutledgeFalmer. Taylor & Francis e-Library. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203356951_chapter_2
Jarvis, P.S., & Keeley, E.S. (2003). From vocational decision making to career building: Blueprint, real games, and school counseling. Professional School Counseling, 6(4), 244–250.
Kincheloe, J.L. (2007). Critical pedagogy in the twenty-first century: Evolution for survival. In P. McLare, & J.L. Kincheloe (Eds.), Critical pedagogy: Where are we now? (pp. 9–43). New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.
Kincheloe, J.L. (2008). Knowledge and critical pedagogy: An introduction. Dordrecht: Springer Science + Business Media B.V. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8224-5
Kincheloe, J.L. (2011). Critical ontology and indigenous ways of being: Forging a postcolonial curriculum. In K. Haye, S.R. Steinberg, & K. Tobin (Eds.), Key works in critical pedagogy: Joe L. Kincheloe (pp. 333–349). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-6091-397-6_25
Korthagen, F.A.J., Attema-Noordewier, S.A., & Zwart, R.C. (2014). Teacher-student contact: Exploring a basic but complicated concept. Teaching and Teacher Education, 40, 22–32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2014.01.006
Krippendorff, K. (1984). Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology. London: Sage.
Kuijpers M., Meijers, F., & Gundy, C. (2011). The relationship between learning environment and career competencies of students in vocational education. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 78(1), 21–30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2010.05.005
Kukkonen, H. (2018). Osaamisperusteisuus ja opettajan identiteetti [Competence-based approach and teacher´s identity]. In H. Kukkonen, & A. Raudasoja (Eds.), Osaaminen esiin: Ammatillisen koulutuksen reformi ja osaamisperusteisuus [Highlighting competence: The reform of vocational education and competence-based approach] (pp. 24–35). Tampere: Tampereen ammattikorkeakoulun julkaisuja, sarja A, tutkimuksia.
Le Fevre, D.M. (2014). Barriers to implementing pedagogical change: The role of teachers’ perceptions of risk. Teacher and Teacher Education, 38, 56–64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2013.11.007
Louw, A.V. (2013). Pedagogical practices in VET: Between direct and indirect teacher approaches. Nordic Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 3(1), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.3384/njvet.2242-458X.13v3i1a5
Maunu, A. (2018). Opettaja, kasvattaja ja jotain muuta: Ammatillisten opettajien ammatti-identiteetti arjen käytäntöjen näkökulmasta [Practice and interaction needed: How do vocational teachers evaluate their own teacher education?]. Ammattikasvatuksen aikakauskirja, 20(4), 70–87.
Mishab, Z. (2019). Teacher-student interaction in competence-based vocational education in Indonesia. Wageningen, NL: Wageningen University.
Mittendorff, K.M. (2010). Career conversations in senior secondary vocational education. Eindhoven: Technische Universiteit Eindhoven.
Mittendorff, K.M., den Brok, P., & Beijaard, D. (2011). Students’ perceptions of career conversations with their teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(3), 515–523. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2010.10.005
Niittylahti, S., Annala, J., & Mäkinen, M. (2019). Student engagement at the beginning of vocational studies. Nordic Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 9(1), 21–42. https://doi.org/10.3384/njvet.2242-458X.199121
Nussbaum, M.C. (2000). Cultivating humanity: A classical defence of reform in liberal education. London: Harvard University Press.
Nussbaum, M.C. (2011). Creating capabilities: The human development approach. Cambridge, Massachusetts, London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. https://doi.org/10.4159/harvard.9780674061200
Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriön julkaisuja. (2019). Ammatillisen koulutuksen vaativan erityisen tuen kehittämisryhmän ehdotukset: Kehittämisryhmän loppuraportti [Proposals of the group for developing intensive special support in vocational education and training: Final report of the development group]. Opetus- ja Kulttuuriministeriö. Retrieved 7. October, 2019, from https://julkaisut.valtioneuvosto.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/161647/OKM%202019%2023%20Ammatillisen%20koulutuksen%20vaativa%20erityinen%20tuki.pdf
Parkkila, M., Ryökkynen S., Vaalasranta, L., Männistö, E., Korkeamäki, J., & Gustavsson-Lilius, M. (2018). Erityistä tukea tarvitsevien opiskelijoiden ohjaus ja psykososiaalisista hyvinvointia kartoittava kysely ammatillisissa opinnoissa: Helmi-hankkeen loppuraportti [The guidance of the students with special needs in vocational education and training and the assessment method of the psychosocial wellbeing: Final report of the Helmi-project]. Kuntoutussäätiön työselosteita/Working papers 57. Helsinki: Kuntoutussäätiö.
Roorda, D.L., Koomen, H.M.Y., Spilt, J.L., & Oort, F.J. (2011). The influence of affective teacher-student relationships on students’ school engagement and achievement: A meta-analytic approach. Review of Educational Research, 81(4), 493–529. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654311421793
Rytkönen, M. (2013). Kehityskulkuja ja väliintuloja: Ekologinen näkökulma vakavan väkivallanteon tehneiden nuorten sosioemotionaalisen terveyden kehitykseen [Developmental pathways and interventions: An ecological view on the development of the socioemotional health of adolescents who have committed a serious act of violence ]. Kuopio: Kopijyvä Oy.
Savickas, M.L. (2002). Career construction: A developmental theory of vocational behaviour. In D. Brown (Ed.), Career choice and development (pp. 149–205) (4th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Savickas, M.L. (2005). The theory and practice of career construction. In S.D. Brown, & R.W. Lent (Eds.), Career development and counselling: Putting theory and research to work (pp. 42–70). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Scheerens, J. (2004). The quality of education at the beginning of 21st century. Background paper for the Education for all global monitoring report 2005: The quality imperative. Unesdoc Digital library. Retrieved 1. January, 2020, from https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000146697?posInSet=3&queryId=4158a171-87e4-4934-bed8-bd756543f008.
Schreirer, M. (2012). Qualitative content analysis in practice. London: Sage.
Tapani, A., Raudasoja, A., & Nokelainen, P. (2019). Ammatillisen koulutuksen uudistus: Uhka ja mahdollisuus [The reform of Finnish vocational education and training: Threat and opportunity]. Ammattikasvatuksen aikakauskirja, 21(2), 4–8.
Thomas, D.R. (2006). A General inductive approach for analyzing qualitative evaluation data. American Journal of Evaluation, 27(2), 237–246. https://doi.org/10.1177/1098214005283748
Tyler, K.M., Stevens-Morgan, R., & Brown-Wright. L. (2016). Home-school dissonance and student-teacher interaction as predictors of school attachment among urban middle level students. RMLE Online, 39(7), 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1080/19404476.2016.1226101
Van Uden, J.M., Ritzen, H., & Pieters, J.M. (2014). Engaging students: The role of teacher beliefs and interpersonal teacher behaviour in fostering student engagement in vocational education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 37, 21–32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2013.08.005
Vähäsantanen, K. (2015). Professional agency in the stream of change: Understanding educational change and teachers’ professional identities. Teaching and Teacher Education, 47, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2014.11.006
Vähäsantanen, K., & Eteläpelto, A. (2009). Vocational teachers in the face of major educational reform: Individual ways of negotiating professional identities. Journal of Education and Work, 22(1), 15–33. https://doi.org/10.1080/13639080802709620
Winters, A., Meijers, F., Kuijpers, M., & Baert, H. (2009). What are vocational training conversations about? Analysis of vocational training conversations in Dutch vocational education from a career learning perspective. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 61(3), 247–266. https://doi.org/10.1080/13636820903194690
Äärelä, T. (2012). ”Aika palijon vaikuttaa minkälainen ilime opettajalla on naamalla.” Nuoret vangit kertovat peruskouluvuosistaan [“It means quite a lot what kind of look a teacher has.” Young prisoners talking about their experiences at a comprehensive school]. Rovaniemi: Lapin yliopistopaino.
Copyright (c) 2020 Sanna Ryökkynen, Raija Pirttimaa, Elina Kontu
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
NJVET is an open access journal, this means anyone can access, freely download and read the journal. There are no commercial interests for Linköping University Electronic Press or the Nordic network for vocational education and training (NordYrk) in publishing the journal. From 2021 NJVET publishes all articles under the Creative Commons License CC-BY 4.0.
The core idea of open access is that copyright remains with the authors. However, we publish with the agreement of the authors that if they decide later to publish the articles elsewhere, the publisher will be notified, prior to any acceptance, that the article has already been published by NJVET.
When publishing with NJVET, it is with the agreement of the authors that if they make their articles available elsewhere on the internet (for example, on their own websites or institutional websites), that they will do so by making links to the articles as published in NJVET using the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) numbers of the articles and acknowledge in the text of the sites that the articles have been previously published in NJVET.