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ERIC Number: EJ1190945
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Oct
Pages: 29
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0091-5521
Cultural Capital at Work: How Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills Are Taught, Trained, and Rewarded in a Chinese Technical College
Hora, Matthew T.; Blackburn Cohen, Chelsea A.
Community College Review, v46 n4 p388-416 Oct 2018
Purpose: Community and technical college student employability is a pressing concern in the United States and China. Policy makers focus on developing students' human capital in the form of credentials and cognitive skills. However, the focus on completion overlooks the role that noncognitive skills and contextual factors may play in student employability. Method: In this exploratory study, conducted among educators and employers in the manufacturing and biotechnology fields in a large eastern Chinese city, we use a cultural capital framework to address the following questions: (a) What forms of cultural capital are valued by educators and employers? (b) How are these forms of capital being cultivated in the classroom? (c) How do considerations of cultural capital influence hiring and workplace training? and (d) What contextual factors influence these phenomena? Inductive thematic analyses of interviews, classroom observation, and notes from factory tours with eight educators and two employers were completed. Results: This study revealed a shared view that both cognitive and noncognitive skills are essential. Results also reveal a cultural predisposition within Chinese classrooms to lecturing but also a growing use of active learning techniques, a commitment to general education, the importance of "cultural fit" during the hiring process, and job quality and the cultural devaluation of the skilled trades as salient contextual factors. Conclusion: Implications for research, policy, and practice are considered, particularly the need for all students to acquire both cognitive and noncognitive skills as well as a more nuanced and culturally informed perspective on student employability.
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China