The paradox of higher vocational education: The teaching assistant game, the pursuit of capital and the self

Paul H Smith

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)
    88 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    This article discusses the reasons offered by one group of paraprofessionals to explain their decision to study for a work-related higher education programme. It reports on an ethnographically inspired piece research that aimed to capture the initial motives that a group of teaching assistants had for studying for a Foundation degree at a post-1992 university. This group of students were largely female mature students, who were also overwhelmingly mothers with dependent children. It is suggested that Bourdieu’s concepts of field, capital, habitus and illusio can be utilised to understand why these learners become motivated to enter higher vocational education. Workplace change and the pursuit of capital are highlighted as being a catalyst for the fracturing of illusio, career switching and undergraduate study. Somewhat counterintuitively, virtually all the students indicated that they had decided to study for a qualification that was primarily designed to help them succeed in their existing employment role as a means of acquiring a new occupational role and version of self.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)188-207
    JournalEducational Review
    Volume70
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2017

    Keywords

    • Teaching assistants
    • Bourdieu
    • higher vocational education
    • student-mothers
    • paraprofessionals
    • foundation degree

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'The paradox of higher vocational education: The teaching assistant game, the pursuit of capital and the self'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this