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The didactic design of surveillance law in upper secondary VET instruction.

Conference contribution
Authors Martina Wyszynska Johansson
Published in Third International Legitimation Code Theory Conference, 1-5 July 2019
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Education and Special Education
Language en
Keywords LCT, Autonomy, VET
Subject categories Educational Sciences


The paper presents a case of knowledge recontextualisation (Guile, 2018) practices in one of the 12 national vocational programmes in upper secondary school in Sweden. The development of vocational knowing, versed in curricular terms, in vocational education and training (VET) has been previously described as regionalised (Shay & Steyn, 2016). Such regionalisation is about the variety of sources that vocational knowing constantly feeds upon, e.g., both academic and practical knowing. Thus the article contributes to studies of knowledge-building in the instruction of vocational subjects (Maton, 2014). The concept of autonomy codes is utilised to explore how knowledge can be repurposed, shedding light on the pathways of knowledge through knowledge practices in VET instruction (Maton & Howard, 2018). Students between 16-20 years in Sweden can study to become security officers by attending a vocational programme that is integrated with upper secondary school. Their training consists of instruction in vocational subjects delivered by regular teachers as well as in collaboration with the security industry and their trainers. Surveillance law is an important part of the instruction whereas managing surveillance law is a marker of becoming a security officer (Wyszynska Johansson, 2018). This article illuminates knowledge recontexualisation regarding surveillance law in the instruction of so the called Diploma project. The goal of the Diploma project, here delivered by regular vocational teachers, is to assess the students’ ability to perform recurrent work tasks. A secondary and selected data analysis is used here, based on focus group interviews with young students and participant observations of instruction for prospective security officers (Wyszynska Johansson, 2018). Wyszynska Johansson et al. (2018) have shown how mastering surveillance law enhances students´ experience of vocational becoming as security officers as service workers. The main result shows that surveillance law presented a malleable epistemic content that can be made to fit in instruction that aims for practicing pedagogised encounters (Wyszynska Johansson, 2018). These pedagogised encounters are framed as a tool for interaction-intense service occupations, e.g., security officers. Further, surveillance law during the instruction in a Diploma project underwent several moves on the autonomy plane. Firstly, surveillance law was introjected from outside, that is, from an occupation specific context delivered by the security industry instructors (introjected code). Then surveillance law was configured to fit a purpose of non-occupation specific school group work with little teacher assistance (exotic code). Accordingly, surveillance law was turned into a vehicle for practicing social skills for peer school group work, though framed in the instruction as preparation for service work. Lastly, through their assessment practices the teachers in a Diploma project brought surveillance law to enhance the students’ social skills for pedagogised encounters (sovereign code). Thus, surveillance law as vocational knowledge during the instruction has moved on the autonomy plane. This tour has started from the introjected code and moved to the sovereign code. However, during the group work, which was relatively independent and mainly student-driven, the students in small groups contributed to shifting law in surveillance into an exotic code position. Some teacherly interventions contributed to shifts from exotic code positions towards a sovereign code whereas others did not. In conclusion a pedagogical implication can drawn. As shifts on the autonomy plane may occur due to both teacherly and student intervention in classroom instruction, the use of group work in VET can be closely monitored. Closer monitoring of independent group work, not reported here, may be conducive to autonomy tours as opposed to stays in order to enhance knowledge-building in VET.

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