How to support and engage students in alternative forms of education and training? A qualitative study of school staff members in Flanders

Lore Van Praag, Rut Van Caudenberg, Ward Nouwen, Noël Clycq, Chris Timmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study focuses on how students, who for a variety of reasons struggle in mainstream secondary schools, can be supported and engaged by alternative forms of education and training to attain a (formal) qualification. Interviews and focus groups are carried out with school staff members of distinct types of alternative learning arenas in Flanders (northern part of Belgium): second chance secondary education, part-time apprenticeship track and part-time work-based vocational education. Our analyses reveal that, due to the selectiveness of mainstream secondary education, staff members in alternative learning arenas mainly struggle with the ways to develop inclusive curricula/practices and with the actual content of the curricula of their educational training or programme they are supposed to teach. Staff members struggle with putting into practice the fundamental aim to prepare socially vulnerable students for their future lives. Debates within the school team focus upon the relative importance of transferrable, specialist and social skills and competences. Results of this study are discussed to further enhance the professionalisation of school teams, and can be seen as the starting point to specify and develop the curriculum taught in both alternative learning arenas and mainstream secondary education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-611
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Education and Work
Volume30
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

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