The constraints of relevance on prevocational curriculum

Doherty, Catherine (2015) The constraints of relevance on prevocational curriculum. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 47(5), pp. 705-722.

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This paper reflects on how relevance has been invoked as a curricular principle, both by students and teachers, in curriculum documents and in curriculum theory, to explore its variously conceived parameters and conditions. By posing the questions ‘relevant to whom?’, ‘relevant to what?’, ‘relevant how?’ and ‘relevant when?’ this paper exposes relevance as both a curricular virtue and a curricular constraint. It draws on an empirical project undertaken in the prevocational curriculum offered in Australia’s recently extended compulsory schooling for students in non-academic pathways. Data vignettes offer windows into two settings to exemplify the different ways relevance can be interpreted, stretched or contested. Using Bernstein’s distinction between vertical and horizontal discourses and knowledge structures, the analysis identifies what is gained and what is lost when relevance, variously defined, serves as a principle for curricular selection.

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ID Code: 87219
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: prevocational curriculum, relevance, compulsory schooling, vertical discourse
DOI: 10.1080/00220272.2015.1069400
ISSN: 1366-5839
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Children & Youth Research Centre
Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Copyright Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Curriculum Studies on 01/09/2015, available online:
Deposited On: 03 Sep 2015 02:08
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2015 05:03

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