The contribution of hospitality vocational education and training towards forming critical citizens

Oberli, Carlos (2019) The contribution of hospitality vocational education and training towards forming critical citizens. Ed.D thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This research aimed to investigate how vocational education and training in a private hospitality higher education institute in Switzerland form critical citizens through an emphasis on critical thinking skills. The study provided insights into students’ perspectives of critical citizenship and the value it may have for the students while pursuing vocational education and training. Furthermore, through interviews and classroom observations, the study investigated teachers’ pedagogic practices that enhance the formation of critically minded citizens. Moreover, curriculum documents were analysed to identify critical thinking policies and their ramifications for developing students’ critical citizenship. This study represents an important contribution to developing a better understanding of the impact of school curriculum and pedagogic practice: firstly, to identify gaps in the capacities of hospitality vocational education and training to form critical citizens, and, secondly, to find means to enhance students’ socially responsible competences and critical citizenship behaviour so that the hospitality sector can make a more meaningful and democratic contribution to a better society.

The central research question that guided the study was: How does vocational education and training form critical citizens through its emphasis on critical thinking skills? The findings show that most participants (both students and teachers) held similar opinions about the meaning of the concept “critical thinking” and of the application and usability of critical thinking beyond the classroom. Yet, when it came to understanding the purpose of thinking critically, the same participants argued for its importance as a skill that relates mostly to academic and theoretical dimensions. This paradox may originate firstly from a curriculum that does not promulgate critical citizenship as a component of the formal hospitality vocational education and training. A second source of this paradox might be the distorted views of pedagogies held by teaching staff, who believe critical thinking to be a tool to foster participative students during the lesson, and they see students’ critical thinking as merely instrumental for justifying student-led pedagogies, rather than as a central part of advancing critical citizen learning and initiatives and actions. A major purpose of education is indicative at the institute, teachers and students alike conceive. This major purpose combines an emphasis on critical thinking skills for developing personal agency with a responsible democratic focus on providing critical citizen education to build students’ capacity to act as agents of society.

Item Type: Thesis (Ed.D)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Vocational education and training, citizenship, critical thinking, critical citizen, vocational curriculum, vocational knowledge, vocational pedagogy, wider social context.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Kehm, Dr. Barbara M.
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: EdD Carlos Oberli
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-75169
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2019 14:38
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2020 12:18
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.75169

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