Alienating curriculum work in Australian vocational education and training
(2015) Critical Studies in Education, 17 p. Article in Press.
Competency-based training (CBT) is a curriculum model employed in educational sectors, professions and industries around the world. A significant feature of the model is its permeability to control by interests outside education. In this article, a ‘Neoliberal’ version of CBT is described and analysed in the context of Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET). In this version of the model, a division of curriculum labour is instituted that, from the perspective of Neoliberal theory, allows the interests of educators to be limited in accordance with the belief that they will neglect the interests of students and other stakeholders if they have control over the whole curriculum construction process. But this version of CBT denigrates the expertise of educators by forcing them to set aside their own judgement about what is important to teach and implement a pre-existing picture of an occupation that may or may not be an effective representation. Empirical evidence is reviewed that suggests curriculum work in VET is indeed alienating for educators. Existing critiques of CBT are considered and found to have overlooked the specifically Neoliberal form of CBT in VET analysed in the article.
adult education; curriculum; Foucault; teachers’ work and identities; vocational education and training