Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Are We Being Taught to Punch the Clock?: Politics and Situated Literacy in One Vocational High School

Jacqueline Darvin.

This study seeks to describe the ways in which both students and teachers use literacy in vocational classrooms. Its purpose is to describe, through ethnographic observation, student work samples and focused conversations with teachers, literacy practices and events that are "out of the ordinary" in most traditional academic high schools. The participants are vocational high school students and teachers who study and work in fields such as auto mechanics, plumbing, carpentry, cosmetology, fashion design and carpentry. The study explores the history and politics that influence vocational education and the powerful connections between situated cognition and situated literacies in vocational classooms. Research on situated cognition places an emphasis on problem-solving and is often conducted in real-world settings, outside of schools. The ultimate goal of the research presented here is to encourage questioning of what society views as "intelligence" and to support educators in viewing vocational learners as creative thinkers and literate members of our communities.


Jacqueline Darvin  (United States)
Teacher of English
Career and Technical Education
Nassau Board of Cooperative Educational Services

Jacqueline Darvin, a doctoral student in the Literacy Studies Department at Hofstra University, is a teacher of eleventh and twelfth grade English at Nassau BOCES Technological Center in Westbury, New York. She works with vocational education students and has published several articles about literacy in vocational classrooms. Two of her articles appeared in English Journal, the secondary journal of NCTE. Jacqueline is a recipient of the News 12 Long Island 2002 Educator of the Month Award.

  • Vocational education
  • Literacy studies
  • Situated cognition
  • Situated literacies
  • Problem-solving
  • Multiple intelligences
  • History
  • Politics

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)