ERIC Number: ED245105
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Mar-24
Reference Count: 0
Office Education Students and the Meaning of Work.
Valli, Linda R.
Research was conducted using an ethnographic method within a cultural reproduction framework to examine what it means to young women to be office education students in a comprehensive urban high school, and how those meanings are reproduced. The analysis is based on a year-long field study of a cooperative office education program in a midwestern urban high school, a vocational program that combines schooling and on-the-job training. The data were collected during the 1980-81 school year using participant observation at the school and worksites, formal and informal interviewing, and examination of curricular materials and school records. Findings were that, contrary to the literature, students did not view themselves as academic failures, did not dislike school, and did not have office career aspirations. Rather, enrollment in the program meant that the students were testing the world of office work, developing employable skills as something to fall back on, and accommodating themselves to the best and most likely wage labor options for women. The analysis also indicated that the meaning of work and career aspirations are misconceived as individual psychological variables. Rather, they arise from the cultural context, within which these students accept and reproduce the meaning of traditional sex roles in their vocational choice. (KC)
Descriptors: Career Choice, Career Development, Clerical Occupations, Cooperative Education, Cultural Context, Employment Opportunities, Females, High School Students, High Schools, Office Occupations Education, Sex Role, Student Attitudes, Student Motivation, Vocational Education, Womens Education, Work Attitudes
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (68th, New Orleans, LA, April 23-27, 1984).