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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Transforming Learning Cultures in Further Education

Grant reference: L139251025

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Conference paper/presentation details

TLRP: The power of myth when young men learn computer skills
Learning to use information and communication technology (ICT) appears to be a priority at all levels of education and training in the UK. When asked to justify the importance of ICT in the curriculum, many people accept an instrumental argument that ICT skills are vital for securing and retaining employment. This view has acquired the status of a myth in the sense that it is widely believed to be true and therefore guides decisions and actions. Whether or not the belief is ‘objectively’ true or capable of verification is less important than its widespread acceptance. One of the TLC learning sites recruits students with low level qualifications from school and provides them with an opportunity to develop their ICT skills. There were indications in both our quantitative and qualitative data that these students have little sense of agency in their lives but interviews in particular have shown that they subscribe to the myth that having ICT skills will lead to employment. Our cultural analysis of the site revealed some of the power of this myth in creating and sustaining the learning culture of the site. While the myth is supported and reinforced by significant others, including parents and college teachers, young male students may respond in a variety of conforming or challenging ways to their situation. Such responses raise questions about course and curriculum practices for teachers and managers in colleges.
Original Document

Primary contributor

Author M Tedder

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