Subject-Integrated Teaching for Expanded Vocational Knowing and Everyday Situations in a Swedish Upper Secondary Health and Social Care Program
The aim of this study was to explore what subject-integrated teaching of vocational subjects, ethics and health care, contributed with in terms of vocational knowing. The case study was ethnographically inspired and followed a group of students (16 +) and their teachers in a Swedish Health and Social Care Program while they worked with a theme unit called Death for two weeks in autumn 2012. Data comprised observations, field notes, and audio recordings of the planning and teaching of the theme unit, informal discussions with teachers and students, handouts, a theme booklet, and student assignments. Analysis was based on concepts related to cultural historical activity theory, especially emphasizing rules, tools, actions, operations, and contradictions. Results showed three major objects emphasized in the teacher–student interaction and the tools chosen to support the subject-integrated teaching activity: vocational knowing related to vocational ethics, to everyday ethics, and argumentative skills. Manifestations of contradictions in the form of dilemmas related to the examples that teachers copied from a textbook. As these examples were mainly contextualized in everyday situations, and there are no formal ethical guidelines for nursing assistants on which teachers could rely on, teachers’ narratives were used to complement these examples. Students’ argumentative skills were emphasized and related to personal situations, in which ethical arguments for justification in vocationally relevant situations were made unclear.
Keywords: Subject-integration, vocational knowing, upper secondary level, vocational education, Cultural historical activity theory
Högskoleadjunkt, Fil. lic. Doktorand