A New Vocationalism

Article excerpt

In today's changing world, education is moving through uncharted waters. Although here are more questions than answers, one thing is clear: business as usual is no longer acceptable. In vocational education circles, there is a sense of urgency that we need to fulfill the vision of a "new vocationalism" by building a stronger link between education and work. The content of this "new vocationalism" needs to include integration of basic, academic and life skills.

At the same time vocational education leaders are attempting to design more effective education-work linkages, there are many who suggest we take a broader view of "work." In Issues in Education and Work, author L.A. Phelps says that if "work" is defined as a productive and meaningful human endeavor, one can envision activities which have social, personal, community as well as economic value. Phelps adds that "education for work emphasizes preparation for the work of families and family life, work in service and religious organizations, volunteer work, the work of citizens, as well as work in the traditional context of employment and economic productivity."

What are the implications for family and consumer sciences education? What is our place in vocational education as we near the new millenium?

The current emphasis on workplace "know-how" outlined in the SCANS and school-to-work initiatives will continue to present challenges. Likewise, the integration of academics and FCS education will need to be strengthened. In order to maintain professional integrity and be a part of vocational education in the 21st century, FCS educators will need to include in their curriculums lessons related to the multiple roles students will face in their lives. …

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