Relational pedagogy in a vocational programme in upper secondary school: A way to make more students graduate
In Sweden, many students start but do not graduate from upper secondary school despite preventive efforts. The reasons for students dropping out of school have been examined and opposed, but there is still more to be done. The overall aim of this study was to contextualise and understand teachers’ and students’ experiences and perceptions of relational pedagogy in a vocational upper secondary programme in Sweden. The theoretical framework was relational pedagogy to investigate theoretical knowledge of pedagogical relations. The data for this qualitative study was collected through two focus group interviews with 10 teachers and 10 individual student interviews. Directed content analysis was used to analyse the data in order to pay attention to the core concepts of relational pedagogy as a theoretical encoding scheme. The findings show that teachers and students find their working and learning atmosphere much safer and more secure compared to earlier; both groups mentioned relational pedagogy as promoting student participation, engagement, and motivation in school. This study contributes with knowledge of how vocational teachers and students perceive working with relational pedagogy to promote learning and school attendance, but there is still a need to find out more about how teachers’ relational competence is acquired.
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