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Grown-ups have careers : discourses of career and adulthood in four urban Vancouver high schools Benjamin, Amanda Joy 2006

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GROWN-UPS HAVE CAREERS: DISCOURSES OF CAREER AND ADULTHOOD IN FOUR URBAN VANCOUVER HIGH SCHOOLS by A M A N D A JOY B E N J A M I N B.A. , York University, 1994 M.A. , Concordia University, 1999 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL F U L F I L L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE D E G R E E OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Educational Studies) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A March 2006 © Amanda Joy Benjamin, 2006 A B S T R A C T In British Columbia, the career education curriculum from 1995 - 2003 was Career and Personal Planning (CAPP). The premise of CAPP was that if schools provided students , with generic and specific skills, these students would be more likely to find and retain careers and become successful members of an adult community. However, one of the problems with the rapid development of«career education programs like CAPP is a lack of discussion about the content and pedagogy of such curricula. With tacit inclusion of these programs, it is important to ask questions about whose values and interests are being served by career programs in schools. Accordingly, this research focuses on how programs like CAPP contribute to shaping both students' and teachers' perceptions of what it means to have a career and be an adult. The purpose of this research was to undertake a critical examination of the BC CAPP curriculum through document analysis, interviews with teachers and students, and classroom observations, in order to illuminate how career and adulthood were constituted. Four Vancouver high schools were chosen as the sites of this inquiry. In using a discourse oriented approach, this research analyzed how teachers and students talked. The findings revealed several prominent discourses in the CAPP curriculum and how these discourses reproduced and resisted ideological and hegemonic understandings of career and adulthood. This study outlines the various ways that CAPP was implemented across four schools, how jobs and careers were constructed in ways that privileged some post high school pathways, while at the same time differentiated others based on social class, and how career influenced understandings of adulthood. The conclusion highlights the need for career education that provides more information about possible post high school destinations as well as a critical orientation to the relationship between education, credentials and the labour market. This work has implications for curriculum developers and teachers of career education because it illustrates the values that are reproduced and resisted in career education classrooms. In particular, this study contributes to a larger discussion of how schools and curricula are implicated in reproducing class, gender and racial differentiation. iii TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ii Table of Contents iv Acknowledgments vii Chapter 1 - Career and Adulthood in Vancouver High Schools 1 Introduction 1 Background/Context of the Study 3 Research Questions 6 Conceptualizing Career 6 Conceptualizing Adulthood 9 Framing the Study 14 The History of CAPP . 17 Outline of Thesis 20 Chapter 2 - Research Design, Methods and Conceptual Framework 23 Research Design 23 Selection of Sites 25 The Schools 26 Data Collection Methods 29 Sampling of Participants : • 31 Data Analysis ; 33 Framing Critical Theory in Educational Research 34 Situating Schools as Ideological Spaces \ 38 Discourse Analysis 41 Looking for Discourses of Career and Adulthood in Vancouver Schools 44 Curriculum Studies 45 Summary . 46 Chapter 3 - CAPP Delivery in the Schools 48 The Career Fair 49 Cedar Valley Secondary School 51 The CAPP Conference _ _ _ _ _ 54 Classroom Observations 57 Career Preparation 58 Student and Teacher Perceptions of CAPP 61 On-Timetable Courses 62 Oak Hill Secondary School 63 Classroom Observations 65 The CAPP Workbooks ; 67 , Aptitude/Interest Testing 68 Student and Teacher Perceptions of CAPP 70 Pinetree Secondary School ' 72 Classroom Observations 74 Public Speaking and Deportment 75 CAPP Nuggets _ _ _ _ 76 Student and Teacher Perceptions of CAPP 78 Elmwood Secondary School - A Hybrid Approach 80 The Career Fair 82 The Real Game Series 83 Classroom Observations 84 Student and Teacher Perceptions of CAPP 85 Summary . ; 86 Chapter 4 - Two Contrasting Discourses: University Preparation and Job Preparation _ 90 Contrasting and Oppositional Discourses 91 Unpacking University Preparation ; 94 Cedar Valley j 95 Elmwood Secondary School 101 Job Preparation at Pinetree Secondary 109 A Blurring of the Discourses at Oak Hill 118 Summary 128 v Chapter 5 - Re/producing Career: The Schooling of Future Workers 132 Employability Discourse 133 "Following Your Bliss" and "Have a Backup Plan" 143 Discourses of Jobs and Careers 153 Further Tensions: Class, Gender and Race in the Schooling of Sameness 161 Summary 165 Chapter 6 - Discourses of Adulthood: Moving from Development to Life Course 168 A Stable Discourse of Development: Adulthood as Ages, Stages and Behaviour 169 Ages 170 Stages : 175 Behaviour 178 Resisting Adulthood 182 Career as a Stage of Adulthood ' 187 Connecting Adulthood to Career Education: Moving To Life Course 193 Summary 196 Chapter 7-Summary, Conclusion and Implications • 199 Summary of Findings 201 Limitations of Study • 205 The Current Changes to CAPP 206 Implications for Career Education in Schools: Policy and Practice 209 Future Directions for Research 212 The Game of Life 214 Bibliography 216 A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S There are so many people to thank. First and foremost, I would like to thank my committee. Specifically, I would like to thank my supervisor Dr. Shauna Butterwick, who supported and inspired me to work harder and to be stronger. She leads by example, both in her scholarship and in her role as mentor, and for that I am so grateful. I would also like to thank Dr. Tom Sork and Dr. Michelle Stack, who helped me to form and refine my work. Their encouragement made the process so much more rewarding. I would like to thank my friends and colleagues: I would like to thank Shauna Pomerantz, with whom I started (and now end) this journey. She is my greatest ally and the best of friend. She inspired me with her passion for scholarship and her way with words. I would like to thank Michelle Pidgeon, who encouraged me to write in ways that were accessible and to trust myself. Her friendship means a great deal to me. A special thanks to Anita, David, Jon Eben, Scott, Sarah, Dana, Marc, Anne, Todd, Monique and The Ponderosa F Troop. And to my family - who supported me in innumerable ways. I want to thank my parents. They set an amazing example of scholarship, teaching and learning. They were my most favourite and most vexing resource. They pushed me to think harder and deeper, and were the whole reason behind my desire to prove that I could and would be a grown-up - despite and because of them! To my siblings: Sarah - with whom I spent many a phone conversation discussing theory and ideas. Who awes me with her work ethic and inspires me to be a better academic. Jennifer - who was my morning coffee and the best part of my day while I was writing. She was my best cheerleader and copy editor extraordinaire. Her support was unwavering and her presence greatly appreciated. Adam (and by extension Johanna) - who kept me pictorially updated with wonderful images of family and whom I relied upon for keeping my writing and data safely stored away. Philip and Mike - the best brother's-in-law a girl could ask for. I would also like to acknowledge the moral support from my extended family, long time friend Erin, and my niece Mallory. I dedicate this work to my grandmothers. One who lives in my memory and in my heart, and who inspires me to be a better person. And for my Bubby, who still encourages me and is proud of the education I have received. Finally, to Jamie - who supported me through the last months of this journey. He copy-edited, chauffeured, washed dishes, dried tears and was my best distraction. For that you have my love and gratitude. C H A P T E R 1 - C A R E E R A N D A D U L T H O O D IN V A N C O U V E R H I G H S C H O O L S Introduction While sitting around a table with a group of friends a few years ago we happened upon a childhood game by Milton Bradley called The Game of Life™. The game simulated the course of an individual's life from birth, through school, to marriage and the buying of houses and other aspects of adult life. The game demonstrated the different career paths one could take in life and how money was an integral factor in this process. The result was that when we played the game we were led on a familiar and linear path around the game board and the winner was the person who accumulated the most wealth in the end. So as each of us spun the wheel of life we had certain (yet limiting) options open to us, and we excitedly moved through the spaces in our plastic cars with our plastic spouses and children. A t each critical juncture we made choices based on rules and the options available to us about the kinds of lives we wanted in this game. I was struck by the notion that each marker of the game was defined by what society usually deemed as a benchmark of successful adulthood like getting married, having children and buying a house. Career, however, was assigned based on luck and choosing the right path. The first and perhaps most critical choice that my friends and I were forced to make in the game was choosing whether to go to college or straight to work. This option was represented as a fork in the road; one route leading to financial success, the other to possible disaster. The career/job you were assigned depended upon this choice. Knowing which route to take could determine how well you did in life and whether you won the game. In playing this game with this group of university educated friends it seemed so natural to choose the longer route that took me through formal education. This choice was 1 both one of preference and one of predetermination. I believed that I had chosen my route because it was exactly what I had done in my own life, however, the choice was also predetermined because I was given two options - and choosing not to go to work was not one of the options in this game. I am not sure I really understood that I could make choices counter to what I have always expected of my own personal life course. But the competition was fierce - money, jobs, property were all of the things I needed to win in this game, and winning was possible i f I played the game the "expected way." When the game was over and we sat back to look at the kinds of lives we had just lived through the game, I was struck by a few things. I had always known that my route to adulthood, much the same way as I played the game, would take the path through higher education to a career. What I had to ask myself was when did I make the decision to go the university/college route? When did it become a foregone conclusion that I would take this particular road to adulthood? Was it the structure of the game forcing me down one particular road? Did I really have a choice? How did my understanding of successful adulthood shape how I played the game? What influence did my high school education have on the choices I would make? In the end, after winning the game and counting up my money, I realized that the game of life could be played in many different ways but that it was limited by the rules of the game board and the choice of either university or going to work. Moreover, I realized that many of us have important expectations about how the game of life should be played. The quintessential question asked of all young adults as they plan and prepare to leave high school is "What do you want to do when you grow up?" This question is loaded with so many meanings, not the least of which is what kind of adult do you want to be. High schools are not usually thought of as purveyors of adulthood - we usually think of them as 2 places that keep adolescents off the streets and engaged in some kind of learning process (Kincheloe, 1995). However, producing successful adults appears to have become one of the primary jobs of high schools. The understandings of success, along with understandings of adulthood, are both contested sites, in that they are socially constructed and contextual to the space in which they are utilized and formed. High schools are the training grounds for our future adults in that schools teach more than reading, writing and arithmetic. They are supposed to help adolescents make decisions about their futures (Jackson, 1990). High schools are directly concerned with teaching career education and the associated skills needed for finding and retaining jobs and careers. It has become the mandate of the school to teach youth how to successfully navigate the tricky road that leads to a career and adulthood. In this study I start to unpack some of the ways in which the concept of career is taught to adolescents in high school, how it becomes meaningful in career education classrooms and for learning how to become an adult. In particular, the purpose of this study is to critically examine the ways in which career education in four Vancouver schools reproduce class, gender and to some extent race inequalities, as well as the ways in which these reproductive tendencies are resisted. Background/Context of the Study The institution of the high school is an important starting point for this study. Schools are intricately linked to and shaped by larger societal forces. The utilitarian structure of schools helps to influence the ways in which teachers and some young adults come to know and have expectations about the world. Within this structure the location of the classroom (both ideologically and geographically) becomes essential when thinking about how teachers teach, and students learn about careers. Career education classrooms offer a unique 3 opportunity with which to look at how these societal forces influence how teachers approach their work, as well as how adolescents learn to become workers and adults in our society. Career education classrooms are an important site in this investigation as they serve to inform about the perceptions of career and adulthood that students and teachers are bringing into the school, and the ways in which this understanding of career intersects with the adult world that students are soon to enter. The proliferation of career education into public schools has happened at a staggering rate (Kazanas, 1981). Since the late 1990s and into the 2000s ever-expanding programs and curricula have been implemented in schools with the goal of preparing students to enter and succeed in the next phase of their lives (Hiebert, 1993). Career education consists of a wide range of activities, from specific work place skills, to community work experiences, to technical skills (Grubb, 1995; Steinberg, 1998). In British Columbia (BC), Canada, the career education curriculum from 1995-2003 was CAPP - Career and Personal Planning. Prior to CAPP, career education was covered as a sideline to the health education curricula though a program called 'Learning for Living.' The premise of career education curricula like CAPP was that i f schools provided students with certain generic and specific skills, these students would be more likely to find and retain careers and become successful members of an adult community (Heinz, 2001; Shanahan, 2000). The BC Ministry of Education described the mandate of CAPP. Students relate their classroom learning to the demands of the working world and the expectations of society. Students... are encouraged to show initiative and accountability in decision-making. They develop planning skills, including management, self-assessment, goal setting and finding support sources (Ministry of Education, 4 While this curriculum extended further into social areas like personal health and issues such as child abuse prevention, substance abuse and personal health issues, the focus of this study is specifically on the career education/preparation aspects of this curriculum. The premise of my study is to ask critical questions of career education curricula such as CAPP, about how career education is taught and how learning about adulthood is connected to adolescents' understandings of what it means to have a career. In schools there is an important correspondence between the attitudes and dispositions that are taught in career education classrooms that are presumed to be useful for adult activities such as work (Bowles & Gintis, 1976). My argument is that career education has become a taken-for-granted common sense part of the school curriculum. Since most adults must have employment to live in modern society, it follows that schools should train adolescents for the role of worker and consequently prepare them for adulthood - or at least that is the assumption. Fraser and Gordon (1994) remind us that "unspoken assumptions and connotations.. .can powerfully influence the discourses they permeate - in part by constituting a body or doxa, or taken-for-granted common sense belief that escapes critical scrutiny" (p. 122). Career education appears to have entered into this common sense realm. I believe it is crucial to ask particular kinds of questions of career education curricula and to disrupt the "normalcy" of teaching students how to be future workers and adults. Dismantling the common sense "good" of career education is becoming ever more important, as career education curricula are represented as a "last stop" or in some cases the "last resort" for preparing students to enter the adult world (Kincheloe, 1995). This is not to say that all career education curricula are "bad" or even unnecessary, rather my intent is to question whose 5 interests are served and how career education and its representations of adulthood can work in the best interest of today's students and tomorrow's adults. Career education is based primarily on the concept of work (Hoyt, 2001). Generally, adult members of society become contributing "citizens"1 who add to the economic structure of society. Employment becomes a central concept in trying to understand how schools are preparing students for their adult lives. The idea of a worker becomes a common sense term that inspires images of an adult person who makes a living by performing a task for which they are paid. So it is expected that adolescents need to start planning for the time in their lives when they will be required to choose the employment at which they will work for the rest of their lives and contribute back to society. Research Questions Several questions direct this study: • What explicit and implicit conceptions of career, adulthood, and their relationship were evident in the BC CAPP curriculum? How did some Vancouver schools deliver the CAPP curriculum? • How did teachers interpret and implement the CAPP curriculum? What were their views of the CAPP curriculum? How did teachers talk about career, adulthood and the relationship between them? • How did students engage with the CAPP curriculum? How did they talk about career and adulthood? What were the students' views of the CAPP curriculum in relation to preparing them for careers and adulthood? Conceptualizing Career It is important for this study to situate and explore the concept of a career. There are several different words used to describe employment in the career education literature, most significant are 'work,' 'job' and 'career.' Hoyt (2001) points out that the concept of work is 1 In this definition the concept of citizenship includes the idea of a contributing member of society (Scott & Lawson, 2002). 6 the "bedrock" of how we can begin to understand career education. Hoyt further argues that, "In career education, the word 'work' is defined as intentional effort, other than that whose primary purpose is either coping or relaxation, aimed at producing benefits for oneself or for oneself and others" (p. 327). This notion of work is broad and able to capture the work of caring and community building, but the benefits of work have been narrowed to "earning an income." 'Job' is often used to refer to employment that is either temporary or has less status. However, 'career,' in the language of career education curriculum, is often referred to as a profession or occupation that has economic status, in contrast to a job that is considered paid employment, or 'work' as an intentional effort and the means of earning an income. CAPP aims to teach students specifically about careers, with no explicit distinction between work, jobs arid careers. The concept of career is an important facet for understanding adulthood if successful transitions to adulthood are defined by career attainment and retention (Hogan, 1980). Blytheway (1992) suggests that career is often used in reference to an individual's passage into a limited social world, where there is an emphasis on the ideas of status, success and failure. Law (1992) contends that the concept of a career is undergoing many changes in meaning just as the nature of employment is also undergoing rapid transformations in our modern post-industrial world. Law argues that we must begin to understand career in its social and historical contexts because understandings of career are channelled by cultural images (like gender, race, class, sexuality and ability) as well as institutional and systemic forces. The career development of adolescents thus is greatly influenced by the policies that shape the school curriculum. Law argues that adolescents become the instrument of policy. 7 Thus it follows that in the shaping of students by career education policy, the concept of a career is reinforced by schools, curricula and in programs such as CAPP. Career education has often been looked at in ways that resemble a systems approach (Hyslop-Margison, 2000a). For example, Hyslop-Margison (2000b) suggests that the way career education programs have previously been evaluated comes from a systems management approach that has four basic stages of development: 1) selecting evaluation targets (what to measure and how); 2) the evaluation plan (how you will collect the data; 3) collecting and analyzing data; and 4) preparing reports (p. 2). The purpose of this approach is to determine whether the program being analyzed is effective. What this kind of systems analysis does not consider, however, are the larger social issues involved in the creation and administration of programs that are geared towards teaching particular values and ideologies. In asking questions about whose values and interests are being served by career education curricula it becomes necessary to look at these curricula in ways that examine theory and practice. Young (1998), for example, argues for the importance of what can be described as a critical curriculum theory - the critical aspect relates to theories about curriculum policies and practices which recognize the aim is both understanding and change. Furthermore, Young (1998) suggests that curriculum must be questioned from two perspectives: 1) how it is designed to enable students to acquire concepts and forms of understanding as well as how to apply it in different contexts, and 2) how the curriculum is organized to preserve vested interests and maintain the status quo. It is from this perspective that I posit the need to look at career education curricula from a critical perspective in order to uncover the ways in which it teaches students about successful adulthood, and the ways in which both of these terms are socially constructed. Moreover, I argue for the need to examine 8 how career education reproduces the already existing social structures. The implications of this theoretical approach will be explored in greater detail in the following chapter. The concept of career, as taught in schools, is upon first glance straightforward; it is 'going to work' or 'being employed.' Students must be prepared to become workers in our society. Thus, it is the role of schools to help students prepare for this work world. However, when we accept this instrumental understanding of schools as preparing workers, then we ignore the structural dimensions of schools. The result can be the belief that everyone ought to have a career throughout adulthood. The image of a generic worker becomes central when we think of career in these ways, as it presumes a generic employed adult worker, one who is white, middle-class, able bodied and heterosexual (Butterwick & Benjamin, 2006; Griffith, 1988). If we start to think about how we teach careers to this targeted worker we must therefore wonder about the values and expectations afforded to adult roles. Accordingly, the ways in which schools teach career education have implications for understanding what it means to be a successful adult in society. Conceptualizing Adulthood Becoming an adult in society is an important benchmark for determining success. It is often seen as a static place to which all adolescents are headed after their brief existence as youth. It is important at this point to define what it is I mean by adulthood, as it becomes an important signifier for the kinds of achievements incorporated in career education classrooms. Historically, much has been written on the construction of categories like childhood. From Philippe Aries (1962) to Neil Postman (1984), "childhood" is viewed as a social invention. The category of teenager, too, is a relatively new classification. According to cultural theorist Dick Hebdige (1988), the word teenager appeared on the scene in the 9 1950s and permanently drove "a wedge between childhood and adulthood" (p. 29) creating a new market called "youth." There have been many critiques of the construction of childhood and youth, however there have been fewer critiques of the construction of adulthood (Pomerantz & Benjamin, 2000). While many of the previous theorists agree that childhood and adolescence are important constructs, so too is the category "adulthood"; we often look at each of these categories in isolation from each other because adulthood is the most clearly defined and easily recognizable of all the "age" categories. Adulthood is hierarchically privileged over childhood and adolescence. It is assumed that adults have a greater capacity to work, and are able to handle crises that are emotionally difficult. In the field of adult education, developmental theories are often used to explain the process of becoming an adult. In these developmental theories there are usually clearly demarcated lines between adulthood/adolescence and adulthood/childhood. This timeline approach to understanding the life cycle highlights the process of becoming an adult - mostly because there are certain benchmarks used to assess the difference between adults and adolescents. For instance, "adults" are eighteen and can vote and drink alcohol. They have passed through such rites of passage as marriage, child rearing, moving out of the family home and finding employment (Erikson 1976; Levinson, 1978; Neugarten, 1976; Riegel, 1973; Schlossberg, 1987). For some individuals, in order to achieve adult status, they must ascend a developmental ladder that includes leaving home, getting married, having children and finding some form of employment (Pomerantz & Benjamin, 2000). The literature of adult development, although continuously expanding to describe different life courses (i.e. challenging heteronormative, sexist, racist, classist, able-bodied descriptions of life experiences), often provides a very limited understanding of how one 10 becomes an adult. In this dominant view, life is a linear progression where success is defined only i f an individual can traverse social and psychological expectations of how life is supposed to progress according to social expectations. Because of this linearity, conceptions of adult development have implications for how we think about "successful" adulthood reached only by attaining a particular social and economic status and following a series of linked, progressive and successive steps; just like the game of lifei The literature that explores the sociology of youth, in comparison, places a greater emphasis on the sociocultural aspects (i.e. location, historical timing and cultural changes) that affect this transition and the role of economics in the attainment of what is considered to be successful adult roles (Hogan & Anstone, 1986; Hogan, 1980). These theories focus particularly on the transition from youth to adulthood. Economics plays a greater role in sociological thinking, as this body of literature focuses on the importance of getting a job for the attainment of adult roles for adolescents. The works of Hogan and Anstone (1986) and Hogan (1980) are particularly noteworthy because of the weight placed on the process of getting a job and its relative importance in the growth and development of an individual. In this literature there is a stigma associated with the idea of unemployment. If students do not successfully transition to the adult world of work, they are assumed to be in a state of "arrested development" or unable to achieve successful adulthood. Getting a job and contributing to economic growth is part of a "natural" process of development that is reinforced in schools, the curricula, and in programs such as CAPP. In the sociological literature the issue of alienation has emerged as a common theme. For example, i f you do not meet 'social expectation,' then you become alienated from society. Thus the transition to adulthood represents a critical juncture in personal life history. 11 If this period of life is not traversed in a typical and expected way, these sociologists suggest there will be serious ramifications for later adulthood that could affect a person's ability to navigate life successfully (Hammer, 1996; Hogan, 1980). As with the literature of adult education, the sociological literature outlines a typical process of growth and development in society, which includes familiar and predetermined benchmarks and a clear trajectory to adulthood. To offer a critique of these traditional notions of development, I use the work of Walter Heinz (1999, 1991), along with other life course theorists like Shanahan (2000) and Becker-Schmidt (1991). These scholars offer a conception of life course that depicts the stages of an individual's life as having multiple transitions. Life course analysis situates the individual in the wider socioeconomic context, directing attention to the ways in which education and work are connected (Fames, 1996). The works of life course theorists mark a departure from classical ways of thinking about adult development and the transition from adolescence to adulthood because of the emphasis they place on the power of the economy and labour market to influence the life course. Heinz (1999) argues that the transition from education to work is rapidly changing in our post-industrial society. Given this rapid change in the economy and the constant transformation of work , adolescence continues to be highly problematic. The relationship between age, social roles and organizational participation between societies continues to shift and thus the argument is that it is necessary to rethink how this period of transition in the life course is viewed (Heinz, 2001). 2 In this case I am referring both to the ideological shifts in the kinds of employment available in relation to changing technologies and greater mechanization, as well as the expectation that an individual will have more than one job in their lifetime. 12 The life course for Heinz (2001) is constantly changing, making it difficult to chart a stable transition to adulthood. The result is that life cannot be looked at as a cycle or a series of events, as is represented in the adult education and sociology literatures, but rather the life course perspective suggests that we must look at life as a series of status configurations (Allmendinger, 1990). This means that the life course and the development from adolescent to adult must be resignified. Heinz (1999) refers to Mayer and Tuma's (1990) definition of the life course as "social processes" extending over the life span with multiple and interdependent trajectories while still acknowledging the institutional determinants of the transition (i.e. voting age, drinking age, driving age). I believe the definition of life course is much more useful than the previous description of life as a developmental and linear path because it allows for a more relational understanding of adulthood. The very change in the title shifts the orientation of how becoming an adult is understood, rather than a psychological view, the concept and language of life course is much less restrictive and allows for greater variability in experiences. Wyn and White (2000), in contrast to the work of Heinz (2000), argue that adolescents exert far less individualism than was previously attributed to them. They suggest that what is presumed to be agency and individualism in the life course is really just patterned behaviour due to the influence of social structures and the control these structures have in youth's lives. Furthermore, Wyn and White argue that research needs to be much more sensitive to the ways young people actively reshape their lives in ways which both reflect and feed back into what they describe as contemporary institutional arrangements. Thus, they argue for a conscious relationship between different dimensions of youth experience and social structural processes. This critique calls into question the amount of 13 agency an individual has in traveling the life course, although it does not discount its existence. It does, however, require us to consider some of the ways in which society works to suppress individual agency. The life course perspective and its critiques of traditional development theory provide the opportunity to look at the transition from youth to adulthood from a discursive perspective. Finding a career becomes the factor that most clearly defines and delineates when a youth becomes an adult. More so than any other development stage associated with this particular period of life, like leaving home, getting married or having children, getting a career has become the benchmark by which all adults are most clearly differentiated from childhood. Given the gendered, raced and classed character of the labour market, such conceptions will invariably place some individuals on the margins. Furthermore, i f this is how adulthood is represented by schools through the curriculum then does it do a disservice to students when their expectations of the adult world conflict with their experiences? How much does this view reinforce relations of inequality where adults must fit the role of economic producers in our society? The literature on the life course helps call into question the role school curricula and teachers play in presenting career as a classifier and reproducer of adulthood. Framing the Study This study starts with the premise that there are discourses of career and adulthood in schools that need to be examined in order to tease out the ways in which adolescents are both reproduced by society as well as actively resistant to societal expectations. It is important to look at how teachers and students understand the curriculum in terms of what it means to be a worker and an adult in our society. One way to achieve this understanding of career 14 education discourses is to examine how career in the CAPP curriculum is used to represent specific kinds of employment that have high status and signify success (Blytheway, 1992), and how CAPP addresses, or does not address, the gendered, raced, classed, able-bodied character of work. If students are able to differentiate between careers and job, and given the limited choices presented in schools, how does CAPP influence the kinds of work they see themselves having in the future? As I started to think about the nature of career education in Vancouver schools I wondered what the concept of career meant for students..Did it reflect, as Blytheway (1992) suggests, a kind of social status? Were students able to differentiate between the concept of a job and a career, and if they could, were the students and teachers affording a particular kind of status to the activities that they associated with these words? Career education curricula are directly involved in the teaching of skills that are deemed necessary for students to function in an adult world. Specifically, this means that schools play a critical role in providing students with skills that are intended to help them find jobs, careers, and to learn how to be adults. Career education programs like CAPP shape perceptions of what it means to be productive, successful adults. As a result, I am concerned with how adulthood is framed in career education; what language is used to describe it and how it is linked to understandings of career; and what kinds of discourses about adulthood and career are reflected in the CAPP curriculum. If career education is intended to prepare students for adulthood, then what does being an adult mean for the teachers and students in these BC schools? Along with understanding what it means to be an adult are questions about the meanings of successful 15 adulthood . So, i f we are trying to help students become successful adults, success becomes a condition that is often equated with the attainment and retention of a career and thus ascendancy to the adult world. Those youth who are unsuccessful at this transition to career are often considered stuck or in some kind of arrested developmental stage, and we have yet to ask i f or how school curriculum is addressing and constructing this problem. The discourses of adulthood found within the formal and informal CAPP curriculum is one focus of my investigation, as is a concern with discourses of career. Research points to a lack of discussion around how teachers and students talk about and perceive adulthood in career education curricula (Hyslop-Margison, 2000). More specifically, I set out to explore the role career education programs like CAPP play in reproducing or resisting understandings of what it means to be a worker and becoming an adult in society. Rather than a systems approach critiqued by Hyslop-Margison, my research addresses the lack of critique of the ideological functions of career education programs. My research asks how career education programs like CAPP shape perceptions of what it means to be an adult. Through a critical examination of documents, interviews with teachers and students, and classroom observations in four Vancouver schools, my research examines how career and adulthood are constituted in the B C CAPP curriculum. In this study I start to tease out the curriculum talk, teacher talk, and student talk on adulthood and careers in order to understand how careers and adulthood are represented in curricular texts, interpreted and implemented by teachers, and understood by students. A major goal of this study is to contribute to sustained critical discussions about career education and to direct attention to the need for career education curricula that equips students with a critical 3 It is important to recognize that both success and what it means to be an adult are highly contextual and socially constructed 16 understanding of adulthood and work. Additionally, the goal of this study is to challenge limited and constraining expectations of how successful adulthood is defined by the curriculum. The History of CAPP The CAPP curriculum was introduced into British Columbia schools in September 1995 and was based primarily on the Learning for Living curriculum (circa 1986), which was an extension of the Health/Guidance/Family Life Education curriculum. The history of health education in BC extends back to the formation of public schools and the expectations that schools were an important part of helping to "create" a healthy society. The implication is that a healthy society is something that can be taught in schools and has thus become the implicit role of the school to inculcate certain societal values that lead to a healthy society and successful adulthood. From the late 1800s schools were seen as an important venue in which to focus attention on health education and the concern for the health and welfare of children. The BC Ministry of Education describes the history of health education in schools as an important impetus behind programs like CAPP and other career education curricula. Being able to get and retain a career has become part of the rhetoric in schools around being healthy and thus an aspect of family life education. To clearly outline this connection, the Ministry of Education provided a historical overview of health education in schools that looked at the progression of this kind of curriculum from the late 1800s to the more current incarnations of the program (CAPP) that was in place from 1995-2003 (See Table 1). 17 Table 1: Health Education in Schools: Historical Overview Late 1800's- early 1900s-Industrialization and Urbanization • changing society • concern for preserving families and the health and welfare of children • leads to public health movement and progressive education movement 1880-1914 Public Health Movement • schools become a focus for protecting and improving the health of children • schools are now compulsory and represent a "captive audience" • schools under public control and access • earliest efforts included sanitation, hygiene, vaccinations, health inspections • some "moral overtones" • by 1914 - school nurse has a teaching role • by 1920 - compulsory hygiene teaching in schools • "How to be Healthy - text adopted an a number of provinces 1880-1980-Progressive Education Movement • a new philosophy of education which acknowledges educating the whole child • new school courses introduced that included health concepts; Domestic Science • Physical Training • Guidance 1980 - present National Comprehensive School Health Program • National advocates are Health and Welfare Canada and Canadian Agencies for School Health • Provincial Agencies - Directorate of Agencies for School Health (DASH) • 1988-89 Royal Commission on Education (Life Span Education) • Health and Life Management • inclusion of Safety/Accident Prevention, Mental Well-being, Healthy Living • HIV/AIDS concerns - Family Life Education Grades 7-12 • 1990 - Learning for Living K to 12 sent to schools still mandated as CAPP Summary courtesy of Ellen Hall (Vancouver School Board Personal Communication) CAPP was developed out of a need for a program that integrated several subject areas such as health, guidance, relationship skills, family life education, drug abuse prevention and career education (CAPP Curriculum Review Report, 2001). The idea was to create a cohesive curriculum in which to address all of these issues. The CAPP curriculum was 18 introduced into all grades, from Kindergarten to Grade 12, with the intention of assisting students in becoming "well-rounded, balanced individuals." The BC Ministry of Education believed that this curriculum would compliment other academic and vocationally oriented courses because of its focus on students' personal development and on how their schooling and extra-curricular activities relate to their future plans (CAPP IRP, Introduction). A CAPP integrated resource package (IRP) was developed for Grades K-7 and 8-12 with a greater focus on course requirements for the 8-12 Grades. The curricular expectations for the senior grades focused more specifically on relating: the learning in school to the demands of the working world and the expectations of society. It also provides opportunities for students to maintain, reinforce, and develop those skills, attitudes, and behaviours that will allow them to enhance their personal well-being throughout their lives (CAPP IRP, Introduction, p.2). The Grade 8-12 career education CAPP component was divided into three areas: 1) Career Skills Awareness which focused on developing students' understanding and appreciation of personal characteristics and how they relate to potential careers; 2) Career Exploration which focused on enabling students to take advantage of community resources in order to relate their learning and skills to education, career and personal roles in a changing world; and 3) Career Preparation in which students were to practice academic, teamwork and practical skills needed to be successful in the workplace (CAPP Review, 2001, p. 11). The course requirements for the CAPP 8-12 curriculum included the development and maintenance of Student Learning Plans beginning in Grade 9 as well as the completion of 30 hours of Work Experience during the Grade 11 or Grade 12 years. While the role of the Ministry of Education was to prescribe the provincial curriculum, it was the role of each school district td determine the most appropriate way to deliver this curriculum. How CAPP 19 was implemented varied across the province and with large differences in the instructional and organization models. Specifically, CAPP 8-12/Personal Planning K to 7 was first mandated in 1995. The CAPP portion was revised in 1997, Personal Planning in 1999, with the most current review being in 2001. As of September 2004, a course called Planning 10 has replaced CAPP 10-12 and there is a planned revision of Personal Planning K to 7 and CAPP 8/9 that is now underway to align with Planning 10. These changes are taking place across British Columbia. However, the history of CAPP in Vancouver offers an important vantage point from which to examine the kind of influence CAPP has had on the learning about careers that students have undergone. Thus, while the curriculum is being phased out, its ideology is still operating and imposing itself on the new curriculum that is being introduced and by logical extension on many of the students who were schooled under its program in Vancouver. Outline of Thesis Chapter 2 will outline the methods and theoretical framework of this study. It explores the methods used to collect my data and data analysis strategies. This section points to the implications of using critical theory as the framework for looking at schools as well as what it means to use discourse as a method of analysis. Finally, this chapter also looks at how discourses of adolescence, adulthood and career can be examined in schools. Chapter 3 examines how career education was taught in the four schools in which I observed. This chapter examines how each school implemented the CAPP curriculum, the significant CAPP activities unique to each school, and the teachers' and students' impressions of the CAPP program. Three approaches for CAPP delivery are identified: career fairs, an on-timetable course, and a hybrid of the career fair and course. 20 Chapter 4 examines two important discourses that emerged from the data - university preparation and job preparation. In exploring these discourses I start to uncover how CAPP is enacted by teachers in schools and received by students. If the CAPP program is offering only limited options to students about what to do post high school, what does this tell us about how schools are influencing students' understandings of what they should be doing once they graduate from high school? CAPP is shown to be reproducing the social class expectations. This chapter looks at the two major pathways that are presented as possible in schools and the ways in which they reflect perceptions of social class. Chapter 5 examines the discourse of career that emerged in schools. The first section explores the discourse of employability in schools and the ways in which skills were represented as both specific and attitudinal. This chapter explores some of the major themes and contradictions that emerged in my data including how students are counselled in competing ways in their programs. This chapter also addresses the language around the need to 'follow your bliss' when choosing your career, versus needing to have more than one route planned for post high school (i.e. having both a plan A and a plan B). The chapter further explores how students think about jobs and careers. Conceptions of jobs are shown to contain a social class bias whereas career is represented uniformly. This chapter demonstrates the professionalization of conceptions of career that were being taken up by students. Finally this section explores the ways in which class, gender and race emerged in contrast to the ways in which career discourses constructed sameness. Chapter 6 links the ways in which adulthood and career interact with each other. This chapter examines how adulthood and career are constituted through the CAPP classrooms and teases out the different discourses of adulthood that emerged in my fieldwork. The 21 developmental language of ages, stages and behaviours are explored in greater detail in order to outline the ways in which adulthood was talked about in static ways. The chapter also examines the ways in which students challenged these static conceptions as they spoke about maturity as more relational. However, career was presented as a primary definer of adulthood and was constructed in very linear and developmental ways. The final section of this chapter points to the need to move from a stable discourse of developmental theory to one of a malleable understanding of life course that accounts for multiple life courses. The work of Walter Heinz is pointed to as this chapter calls for broadening of understandings of adulthood and how career fits into the life course. In the concluding chapter I highlight my research findings and implications. This chapter locates this study in its current historical context amongst the changes that are currently happening to the CAPP curriculum, and asks what further research is needed in order to expand our understandings of career education in Canada. Moreover, I address the policy implications of this study. I highlight the importance of continued exploration of the role that career education plays in public schools and the need to look at the ways in which career education is integrally linked to identity formation for adolescents. 22 CHAPTER 2 - RESEARCH DESIGN, METHODS AND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK The examination of schools as ideological constructions is not new (Apple, 1990). Educational research has a rich history of looking at how schools, and the teachers and students who inhabit these spaces, can be looked at in critical ways. Some theorists, like Patti Lather (1991) and Henry Giroux (1997), would even argue that research should challenge "relations of dominance" and that through research practice it becomes possible to look at education in ways that both challenge hegemonic structures and at the same time work towards new and emancipatory understandings of how schools can work. Critical theory is a useful theoretical perspective in that it helps to provide a framework with which to begin to look at how power, hegemony and reproduction shape employment in our society. The work of critical theorists reminds us that knowledge is integrally linked to power and that the way this power influences social structures can greatly affect the ways in which ideology permeates society (Giroux, 1997). This chapter outlines my research design, methods, the use of critical theory as the conceptual framework for this study, and the theoretical significance of examining discourse in schools. In laying out this theoretical approach it becomes possible to look at how discourses of career and adulthood can be examined in schools, and how discourse can be theorized in schools. Research Design In order to examine Vancouver schools in ways that were consistent with a critical framework, I approached my research design as a modified case study that integrated ethnographic methods of participant observation and interviewing. The first aim of the study was what Merriam (1988) would call a descriptive case study. This study described how each of the schools interpreted and enacted the CAPP curriculum and designed what students 23 needed to know about getting a career and becoming an adult. This means that I provided a "thick" description of the BC Ministry of Education's CAPP curriculum in four Vancouver schools from January to April 2004 (Yin, 2003; 2004). The description of these four schools included a detailed look at the CAPP programs in the schools, accompanied by my interpretation of the meanings that resulted from the data analysis (Guba & Lincoln, 1981). My understanding of the CAPP curriculum recognizes that there are multiple realities that cannot be unified in a single social reality. My research design includes ethnographic methods that involved immersing in the culture of the schools through classroom observations and open-ended interviews with teachers and students. Specifically, my aim was to ask what it was that teachers were teaching about career and how adulthood was (or was not) a part of that discussion. I also asked what it was that students understood about career and adulthood in the context of their CAPP classes and programs. The other aspect of my case study is a critical analysis wherein I look at conceptual categories through an examination of discourse (Merriam, 1988). Critical ethnography uses ethnographic methods to describe the social constructedness of the world within a particular set of power relations and located in a broad social and political framework (Quantz, 1992). Simon and Dippo (1986) suggest that doing ethnography is engaging in a process of knowledge construction, while a critical approach implicates the researcher in moral questions about desirable forms of social relations and ways of living. Paul Willis (1977) published Learning to Labour: How Working Class Kids get Working Class Jobs, a critical ethnography in which student subcultures were examined in relation to broader society. In this work he demonstrated the ways in which ethnography could be connected to Marxist 24 theories as a way to understand schooling. This work was groundbreaking in that it radically altered the ways in which ethnographic research was thought about (Quantz, 1992). Other ethnographies, such as Robins and Cohen's (1978) Knuckle Sandwich: Growing Up in the Working-Class City, continued in the tradition ofWillis (1977) in their examination of the reproduction of working class values in adolescents. More recently the work ofWalkerdine, Melody, and Lucey (2001) in Growing up Girl: Psychosocial Explorations of Gender and Class, as well as the work of Fine, Burns, Payne, and Torre (2004) in Civics Lessons: The Color and Class of Betrayal, offer other ways to look at how ethnography can be used to examine the social and material relations of adolescents. It is from these traditions that this study evolves, and my aim is to theorize and interpret how career and adulthood are presented in schools and to examine the dominant discourses that inform how these terms operate in CAPP. Selection of Sites The research design began initially with the goal of looking at how CAPP was being taught in one Vancouver school and what teachers and students thought about career and adulthood. As I started to look at how CAPP was being taught in Vancouver it became clear that each school interpreted the CAPP curriculum differently and that there was in fact a vast difference in how each school implemented what they saw as the objectives of the Integrated Resource Package (IRP). This meant that I needed a wider sample in order to understand how schools were interpreting the curriculum and fulfilling the CAPP requirements. This necessitated a re-examination of my research design and an expansion of the number of schools, teachers and students at which I was looking. The result is that I spent time in four schools in Vancouver, and thus achieved a broader view of how CAPP was being taught in 25 school settings bounded within a particular school board, and each school's specific perception of students' learning needs. The specific sites of the study were determined once I had gained ethical approval from the Vancouver School Board (VSB) and the University of British Columbia (UBC). The ethics department of the V S B helped me obtain the names of CAPP teachers in the Vancouver area. Upon successful completion of the ethics review process, I contacted teachers and principals from secondary schools based on the kind of curriculum they were offering and geographic location in Vancouver. My aim was to try to look at schools that were located in different catchment areas across the city so as to obtain as much diversity as possible in my research data. After contacting many of the schools in the Vancouver area it became clear that schools were using a variety of strategies to teach CAPP. I also chose the schools where both the principal and the current CAPP teacher/coordinator were willing to allow a researcher in the school to observe their programs. Of the four schools in my study, two schools were located on the Westside of Vancouver and the other two were from the Eastside. I am cautious of essentializing East and West as having particular socioeconomic j differences, but an economic divide does exist and so I have recognized the possibility that each of these regions held a particular status and a perceived difference in social class, cultural diversity, and social trajectories. The Schools Vancouver is a multicultural city in coastal British Columbia (BC), Canada. The population is in excess of a million people and is home to many immigrant Canadians. The city, broadly defined, is quite multicultural with a 38% immigrant population in the greater Vancouver area (BC Stats, 2001). There are several major ethnic groups hailing from China, 26 Hong Kong and India, among others that are helping to define the culture of the urban centre. Within the city of Vancouver there are several catchments that classify school boundaries and define the nature of the city and the schools. Each school reflects its surrounding community and is influenced by perceptions of geographical location and the neighbourhood's social and economic identities. Cedar Valley" High School was a medium sized school with approximately 1,100 students and approximately 65 full time teachers. It was located in a middle-class neighbourhood, with a population of students that were expected to head towards postsecondary education. With cutbacks to public schools the principal was forced to condense CAPP into a career fair or risk losing arts electives which were important to the character of the school. The principal claimed that Cedar Valley had a reputation for low standards and a casual student body and that change occurred as a result of the community belief that the school should be more standards based. Thus, under her direction, the principal noted that the school had recently undergone changes and moved from a low-ranking school to a high one in the Fraser Institute Reports.5 The Fraser Institute rankings are highly problematic and based on questionable research methods, however, they are often taken up by schools as a way to demonstrate school growth and merit. Because these rankings do have material affects on schools' understandings of themselves and perceptions by local communities, I refer to the Fraser Institute ranking system as a way to highlight the social expectations of each of the schools. 4 Each of the schools has been given a pseudonym in order to protect the anonymity of the school. 5 The rankings by the Fraser Institute, a right-wing think tank, are often used to assess the success of schools. The Fraser Institute reports consider aspects like the results of provincial tests and class sizes in making their rankings. Thus, while their rankings are often used by the media to represent BC schools, it is important to note that their data collection methods reflect a particular agenda that is troublesome and does not adequately evaluate the strengths of schools outside aspects like class size, provincial exam scores, and the number of students to go on to university. 27 Oak Hil l High School was a very large, multicultural school with over 2000 students and 105 staff and students from over 35 different nationalities attending. Oak Hil l High described itself as a different kind of Eastside School, one that was working hard to shake the perception of a lower/working class student body. At the same time, teachers note that the school was still experiencing many problems of inner city schools, such as drugs and high dropout rates. The teaching staff at Oak Hil l boasted that most of its students were aimed towards further education, rather than a straight to work population. This was a school that prided itself on "beating the Eastside reputation." In contrast to Cedar Valley, The Fraser Institute ranking of Oak Hil l fell somewhere close to the middle, as neither high achieving nor very low. CAPP played a fairly significant role in the school and there were several designated CAPP teachers who taught a 2-credit on-timetable course. Elmwood High School was a considerably smaller school with only 500 students and 23 full time teachers. Elmwood was located in an affluent community in a wealthy area of Vancouver. The school prided itself on a strong commitment to academics and was ranked by the Fraser Institute as one of the top academic schools in the province. The teachers believed that the majority of students were expected to attend university upon graduation or at least some form of postsecondary education. CAPP was organized by a CAPP coordinator who plans a career fair and there were shared teaching duties for other CAPP activities. Pinetree High School was a large urban school located on the Eastside. It was known as a comprehensive school and this large diverse school had nearly 2000 students and approximately 100 staff. It prided itself on its diverse academic and technical programs as well as programs for at-risk students. There was a large multicultural population with a media perception that it had low socioeconomic status. Pinetree was a school, as noted by 28 some of the teachers, that often had a 'bad reputation' for having students who were not as academically inclined and recent school reports found this school in the lower half of the Fraser Institute rankings. This was a school that had a strong academic program, which offered a lot of choice for students about how to navigate their ways through high school. The CAPP program had a well-developed curriculum and an on-timetable course geared at senior students. Data Collection Methods I entered the schools in January 2004 and spent four months collecting data. The timing of data collection coincided with the school term in which the majority of courses and career fairs were being offered. The majority of the schools in the study had grouped their CAPP courses and fairs during this second term. I finished data collection in April 2004 when the majority of career offerings had been completed and the on-timetable courses were finished. In choosing data collection strategies the aim was to use more than one source of data in order to have a rich data set with which to work (Lather, 1991). The first strategy was that of participant observation. To collect that data I observed each of the four schools for as much time as was possible and allowed by the CAPP teacher. The amount of time observing also depended on the CAPP strategy in place in the school. For those schools using the career fair model of CAPP delivery, Cedar Valley and Elmwood, I observed during the schools' CAPP career fairs (in one school the fair was one day, and the other it was two days). I also was able to observe other CAPP activities in these schools for approximately 3-5 days at each school. This time enabled me to watch several lessons and course planning activities that were seen as integral to the CAPP program. 29 In the other two schools, Pinetree and Oak Hil l , I was able to spend between 10-20 days in each of the schools in the actual CAPP classrooms. Because each of these schools offered 2-credit on-timetable courses in CAPP, there was actual class time in which I was able to observe, although this time was still somewhat limited as a result of the short length of the course and the minimal contact hours. Regardless, these schools offered greater opportunity to immerse myself in the culture of CAPP in each school as I spent time in the classrooms. I was able to observe during several different lessons of the CAPP curriculum in order to see and hear how students interacted with the curriculum and how they talked about adulthood and careers, as well as the ways the teachers presented curriculum. These observations provided an opportunity to write detailed field notes, to collect any classroom materials that teachers were using to teach about career education, to get a sense of how CAPP worked in each school, as well as access to students with whom to talk and interview about their perceptions of CAPP, career and adulthood6. The second element of my ethnographic methods involved examining the lived, embodied and interpreted pedagogy of the curriculum (Young, 1998) through interviews with teachers and students. I conducted semi-structured interviews with the CAPP teachers and coordinators, as well as with students who were either currently in the CAPP classroom in which I was observing or who had some experience with the CAPP program at the schools they were attending. I was able to interview eight CAPP teachers and coordinators across the total of the four schools. Teachers and coordinators were chosen because they were currently involved in teaching or organizing the CAPP program and through their willingness to be 6 It is important to note that I did not focus my observations on the Personal Planning aspects of the curriculum, which were only prominently offered at one school. 30 interviewed. The student interviews were organized through the recommendations of the teachers and as a result of my classroom observations. My aim was to interview approximately five students per classroom or school. The number of students was chosen in order to get a small but diverse sampling of students. The sample was minimized due to the time constraints of interviewing more than 20 students across four schools, and also by approximating the number of students who were interested in being interviewed. I was successful with this goal in all but one school (Elmwood) where, because of the nature of the CAPP program, it was quite difficult to recruit students for interviews. The result was that only three students were interviewed at Elmwood. Students were generally invited during classroom time to participate in in-depth personal interviews where, after receiving ethical approval from parents or guardians, I was able to explore with them their views of the CAPP curriculum, and their notions of career and adulthood. The interviews with teachers and students lasted no more that 1 -2 hours, and occurred on school grounds (usually in the school library or an empty classroom). I audio recorded my interviews so that I could transcribe the interviews and worked to interpret the data in ways consistent with my theoretical framework. Sampling of Participants My study focused on CAPP students in high school and, because each school targeted a different age range for this curriculum, this meant that there was an age difference in the students that could be identified as potential interview subjects across the four different schools. The result was that at Pinetree Secondary the students who were observed and involved in the interview process were in Grade 12 CAPP, whereas at Oak Hil l Secondary, the students were in a Grade 11 CAPP classroom. There was an even greater age range in the 31 other two schools (Elmwood and Cedar Valley) because these schools did not have formalized classroom time devoted to CAPP. In these two schools I had to rely on teacher recommendations in order to recruit students to be interviewed, and as a result I found that the students who were interested in participating ranged in grade level from Grade 10 to Grade 12.1 consciously limited the interview subjects to students in Grades 10-12 because the schools specifically saw these grades as the most significant years for students to take career education programs. These years were seen as the most formative for helping to prepare students for careers and having to make career choices after high school, it was also the students in Grades 10-12 who were seen as preparing for graduation. While this kind of sampling was predetermined, I chose students who were either in the classrooms I was observing or based on teacher recommendations. As a result, my intention was not to claim that these teachers and students were representative of all teachers and students in Vancouver or BC. Rather my intention was to use purposeful sampling to enable me to gain a deeper understanding of social processes (Cuardez & Uttal, 1999) and perceptions of what it meant to be an adult for these groups of teachers and students. My approach to interviewing was to ask specific questions of teachers and students in order to get at some of the issues that emerged in the career education classrooms. My interviews explored how CAPP was experienced and the connection between teaching about career and learning about adulthood. It was important to ask teachers how they interpreted and delivered the curriculum, and talked about adulthood and careers in their classrooms, as well as to ask students how they experienced the CAPP program and how they made sense of the curriculum. 32 Data Analysis In order to assist in my analysis I used Atlas.Ti (version 4.2), a qualitative data analysis computer program. This software is designed to assist the researcher in organizing data into manageable sections by allowing the researcher to assign coded themes and key words to transcripts and field notes. This program was a useful tool in data analysis as it allowed me to visualize my analysis in three dimensional ways using my codes and themes to create networks and concept maps. This research framework adopts an overtly critical approach as it calls into question not only the data, but the researcher, the research design and the analysis of the data (Alvesson & Skolberg, 2000). In keeping with a critical approach, I worked at becoming a reflexive researcher in the process of data collection and analysis (MacBeth, 2001). This involved thinking about my research questions and how they changed throughout the process of conducting research, as well as my own ideological beliefs and how they might come into play during the process. I also had to question my own preconceived notions of what it means to have a career or to be an adult and how my own understandings affected the ways in which I listened and interpreted my research subjects. Although, as Pillow (2003) warns, reflexivity can be used to legitimate and validate research practices, I was therefore careful to focus on what she calls "reflexivities of discomfort" in order to continue to question my role as researcher and interpreter of data. I engaged several strategies in the course of my research practice in order to work at reflexivity. One of the first was an active reading and re-reading of my field notes and interview transcripts in order to assess the spaces in my interpretations where my own 7 C o p i e s o f i n t e r v i e w t ranscr ip t s w e r e o f fe red to research subjects after t r a n s c r i p t i o n o f the data, h o w e v e r none o f the pa r t i c ipan t s I s p o k e to w a n t e d c o p i e s o f the t ranscr ip ts . 33 personal bias might be slipping into the research. Another way in which I worked to foster this reflexivity was listening and re-listening to my interview tapes in order to uncover whether any new meanings surfaced that were not previously considered in my data analysis. Framing Critical Theory in Educational Research Understanding how to do research and from which perspective is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks of any researcher. It involves choices and limitations that can be confounding. The purpose of this section is to highlight the ways in which critical theory can help to examine curriculum and schools by using important concepts like ideology, hegemony, reproduction, and resistance as strategies for critique. The word critical, it can be argued, emerged from the Frankfurt School (Theodore Adorno, Jurgen Habermas, Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse) and was important for undermining the reproduction of ideology (Giroux, 1983). Ideology is a central concept in looking at curriculum from a critical perspective. The theories of these Marxist scholars help to establish thinking about a critical social consciousness that can penetrate existing ideology. Giroux (1983) argues that the Frankfurt school provides "a discourse and mode of critique for deepening our understanding of the nature and function of schooling..." (p. 72). This discourse provides the foundation for asking the questions, what do schools teach, and whose interests are being served? The concept of ideology has become a cornerstone of critical theories, as it provides an important standpoint from which to analyze the way the world works. Althusser's (1971) conception of ideology provides an important starting place. For Althusser, ideology is found in the material practices of daily life (in Stanley, 1992). McLaren (1989) further explains that ideology is "the production and representation of ideas, values, and beliefs and the manner in 34 which they are expressed and lived out by both individuals and groups" (184). Ideology, in this understanding, refers to the production of meaning in the way the world is viewed. Aronowitz and Giroux (1993) suggest that ideology has two meanings when applied to an educational context, 1) the theory refers to a set of material practices through which teachers and students live out their daily existence, and 2) ideology has a material existence in the rituals, routines and social practices that both structure and mediate the day-to-day workings of schools (p. 72). McLaren (1989) even suggests that ideology accounts for the intersection of meaning and power in the social world. Ideology offers an important way to look at the relationship between economic institutions in society such as the school. Althusser (1971) even went so far as to refer to institutions as ideological state apparatuses, which suggests that institutions function to oppress and subjugate the working class. Apple (1990) and Giroux (1983) both look at how the content and form of curriculum is ideological in nature because it is the ideas and culture of the dominant class that are found in the formal and informal school curriculum. McLaren (1989) points out that ideologies are not just constraining, they also enable empowerment. Pinar, Reynolds, Slattery and Taubman (2000) note that it was Michael Apple (1990) who first looked at hidden curriculum in the 1970s in a way that pointed to the concept of hegemony. Hegemony, a term taken from Antonio Gramsci (1971), is the process of domination by which the ruling class controls the working class through the use of force and ideology to reproduce class relationships by shaping human consciousness. What this assumes is that the hidden curriculum works in such a way as to reinforce basic rules of schooling. This reinforcement leads to an internalization of this hidden curriculum by 35 students and establishes and legitimizes certain kinds of knowledge in an unconscious manner. Jane Gaskell's (1992) work highlights the process of hegemony in her study of vocational teaching in one high school. She suggests that the classroom is actively reproducing the social relations of the workplace. Paul Willis's (1977) work is also an example of this approach as his study of working class adolescents speaks to the ways in which working class culture is reproduced, while at the same time acknowledges the possibility of resistance to the status quo. This work speaks to the ways in which schools both produce and reproduce the hegemonic structures of society. The concepts of reproduction and correspondence are significant for understanding the critical nature of curriculum. Bowles and Gintis (1976), in their work Schools in Capitalist America, regard schools as functioning to serve the economic needs of society. Thus, schools prepare students to enter the current economic system because of the correspondence between school structures and the structures of reproduction. What this means is that if the correspondence principle is correct, then students will develop certain personal demeanours, self-images and social class identifications in schools that are crucial for transitioning into the world of work (Bowles & Gintis, 1976). Apple (1979) and Giroux (1981) then built upon this idea of correspondence to suggest that schools are really reproducing the class structure of the workplace (Liston, 1986). Reproduction often refers to "texts and social practices whose messages, inscribed with specific historical settings and social contexts, function primarily to legitimate the interests of the dominant social order" (Giroux, 1997, p. 87). In terms of education, reproduction theories have often been used to describe the ways in which schools provide 36 different groups of people with different "forms of knowledge, skills and culture that not only legitimate the dominant culture but also track students into a labour force differentiated by gender, racial and class consideration" (Giroux, 1997, p. 119). It is important to note that there are many critiques of reproduction and correspondence theory, one perspective suggests that these theories lack a cultural analysis, while others suggest that these theories are mechanistic and missing a theory of agency (Apple, 1980; Giroux, 1983; Strike, 1989). The work of Pierre Bourdieu (1977) also adds an important dimension to this discussion as he argues that social institutions reinforce specific sets of behaviours and dispositions that function to reproduce the dominant ideology in society. Aspects such as dress, physical and verbal mariners, preferences, and behaviours are what Bourdieu would call cultural capital. These attributes are beyond the physical grasp of consciousness, thus they are the hidden aspects of the established dominant order. These are attributes that a person must possess if they are to be socially successful. Cultural capital is not accessible to all. For example, those students who already possess this prior knowledge are at a distinct advantage to those students who lack the "proper" attitudes and dispositions. Resistance theories, in contrast, take into account a notion of agency. Theories of resistance posit that mechanisms of social and cultural reproduction are never complete and are always in opposition (Aronowitz & Giroux, 1993). For example, resistance in an education setting would suggest that students play an active role in challenging the oppressive nature of schools. Thus, students are engaging in what Aronowitz and Giroux (1993) describe as oppositional behaviour. While reproduction theorists assume that society and capitalist modes of production are imposed upon students, resistance points to schools as contradictory spaces where students are both enacting and enacted upon. What this means is 37 that the culture of the school is not solely determined by society, but that students have a role in shaping the culture of the school. While the move towards accounting for agency and resistance in students seems positive, there are several important critiques of resistance theories that point to the lack of attention paid to issues of class and gender, and that acts of resistance may still be tied to the interests of the dominant ideology in schools. Additionally, resistance theories do not account for students who may recognize the dominant ideologies and still not choose to resist them (Aronowitz & Giroux, 1993). Although there are serious questions raised about resistance theory, the position that students are agents marks an important departure from correspondence and reproduction theories. Situating Schools as Ideological Spaces Schools are important social organizations in society. Simply put, schools are designed to teach children the skills needed to become functioning members of society. They do more than just teach reading, writing and arithmetic. However, they also play an important role in the development and formation of our social structure and the ways people learn to be members of that society. Moreover, the work of teachers within schools is greatly influenced by social structures and thus it is important to recognize the ways that the teachers within these schools are both reproducing and resisting these societal forces. The structure of schools is both implicated and complicit in the reproduction of dominant ideologies, through structures such as streaming and tracking, the kinds of knowledge which is deemed "official", as well as race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability differentiations (Wotherspoon, 2004). 38 Schools need to be thought of as institutions, or as Giroux (1997) would describe them, "ideological and political terrains out of which the dominant culture in part produces its hegemonic 'certainties'" (p. 133). What this means is that it is important to remember that schools help to reproduce dominant ideologies. If schools are ideological spaces it makes sense then that research on and in schools needs to start looking at, and understanding how, they are "implicated in the production of subjectivities and recognize how existing social forms legitimate and produce real inequities which serve the interest of some over others" (Simon, 1987, p. 176-77). Critical theory offers an important way to look at the relationship between institutions such as schools and larger society, because of the ways in which power intersects these spaces. Giroux (1983) points out that school "functions as a system of representation that carries meanings and ideas that structure the unconscious of students" (p. 81). Apple (1990) and Giroux (1983) highlight how the content and form of curricula are ideological in nature because it is the ideas and culture of the dominant class that are found in the formal and informal school curriculum. It is from this starting place that my research methods and analytical approach considers schools as ideological institutions and attempts to address and situate schools in the wider context of the political dimensions of curriculum. What kinds of questions need to be asked in order to get at some of the ideological and political aspects of schools? Giroux (1979) suggests several questions in order to generate "interpretive understanding and purposive learning" (p. 252). Most significantly he suggests the need to view curriculum as a study in ideology (also see Apple, 1990). Giroux points to several specific questions that are directly concerned with production, distribution, 39 and evaluation of knowledge that are linked to issues of control and domination in larger society. • What counts as curriculum knowledge? • How is such knowledge produced? • How is such knowledge transmitted in the classroom? • What kinds of classroom social relationships serve to parallel and reproduce the values and norms embodied in the "accepted" social relations of the workplace? • Who has access to "legitimate" forms of knowledge? • Whose interests does this knowledge serve? • How are social and political contradictions and tension mediated through acceptable forms of classroom knowledge and social relationships? • How do prevailing methods of evaluation serve to legitimize existing forms of knowledge? (Giroux, 1979, p. 252) Each of these questions point to many of the issues highlighted in understanding curriculum as a political endeavour, particularly because these questions help to ask whose interests curricula are built to serve. Several of these questions are useful for this study of career education curricula in BC. One of the aims of my dissertation will be to pay attention to the ways in which ideology permeates the CAPP curriculum. One of the goals of critical educational research is to ask questions of a system that many of us grew up in, work in, and have taken-for-granted. There is a lot of debate in the public realm about schools. However, one of the most important questions that any educational researcher can ask is what is the nature and function of a school? Peter McLaren (1989) points out that schools have the power to oppress and to empower, while Tanner and Tanner (1990) describe schools as the most formative social agency. One thing is clear, schools are involved with'preparing young people to enter an "adult" world. Whether it is academics, vocational education or career education, the function of schools is to train and prepare students for whatever the future might hold. Schools hold another possibility, that of a counter-narrative to the linear thinking about how students travel through the system. 40 Connell (1993) argues that schools can challenge the hegemonic structures of society; curricula and other aspects of schooling can challenge the status quo. Discourse Analysis Understanding discourse (both dominant and subordinate) is essential to this study and is based on an understanding of how our social worlds are inscribed in and expressed through language (Bove, 1990). Discourses, for Foucault (1972), shape the object that is being spoken about through grids and hierarchies that aid in the institutional categorization of people. Power relations are inscribed in discourses as knowledge, and power relationships are achieved by a construction of "truths" about the social and natural world (Luke, 1995). Creese, Daniels and Hay (2004) use the work of Sarangi and Coulthard (2000) who view discourse as: a means of talking and writing about and acting upon worlds, a means which both constructs and is constructed by a set of social practices within these worlds, and in doing so both reproduces and constructs afresh particular social-discursive practices, constrained or encouraged by macro movements in the overarching social formation (p. 192). For Creese, there are two main points to consider, 1) that discourse both reflects and constitutes a social context, and 2) it draws attention to the role language plays in reproducing particular ideologies (see also Fairclough, 1997). Discursive practices refer to the "rules by which discourses are formed, rules that govern what can be said and what must remain unsaid, and who can speak with authority and who must listen" (McLaren, 1989, p. 188). Discursive practices do not just produce a discourse but they also embody meanings. If knowledge is socially constructed, culturally mediated and historically situated, then the dominant discourses assert what is thought of as knowledge and truth (Cherryholmes, 1988). 41 In one sense, discourse is both a social practice that constitutes the social world and is constituted by other social practices (Phillips & J0rgenson, 2002). What this means is that language should be looked at within its social context and, moreover, it is important to examine how discourses function ideologically. As Phillips and J0rgenson (2002) suggest, "discursive practices contribute to the creation and reproduction of unequal power relations between social groups" (p. 63). Thus, there are ideological affects of discourses that are important sites of study. Phillips and J0rgenson (2002) also connect discourse to ideology and hegemony pointing to how discursive practice can be seen as an aspect that contributes to reproduction of the order and discourse of which it is a part. Kincheloe and McLaren (2000) remind us that the role of critical research is to come to understand how language is not a mirror of society, but rather an unstable social practice which shifts depending on context. Thus, language is infused with power and is not neutral, nor is it able to objectively describe the real world. Using a critical perspective helps to look at how language is not "simply about the world, but serves to construct it" (Kincheloe & McLaren, 2000, p. 284). Discourse analysis, using this perspective, serves to look at the ways in which language forms, regulates and dominates. In looking at discourses there are sets of tacit rules that regulate what can and cannot be said, as well as who can speak, who can not, who is given authority, who is rendered "other" and which social constructions are rendered valid (Kincheloe & McLaren, 2000). Thus, there are certain kinds of knowledge that are legitimized in an educational context; research that examines discourses looks at how the multiple meanings of language and how discursive power regulates and represents hegemonic or ideological messages. A critical approach requires me to pay attention to power dynamics. 42 With a critical approach to research it is important to recognize that a discourse analysis is a political act - its intention is to uncover hidden power relations that contribute to inequality (Luke, 1995). A discourse analysis constitutes a political analysis in its attempt to interrupt and call into question everyday common sense. Furthermore, Luke (1995) argues that there are specific steps for integrating a critical discourse analysis with a sociological analysis of education. These steps include: 1) looking at the value of ideology in textual analysis in order to denaturalize texts and uncover representations of the social world; 2) making transparent to readers and listeners the ways in which texts position and manipulate them; and 3) understanding that texts and discourses do not have equal effects in the world (p. 19-21). While forms of discourses are clearly normative, it does not mean that they contribute in the same way to the construction of social subjectivities. This means that the job of discourse analysis is to disarticulate and to critique texts as a way of disrupting common sense (Cherryholmes, 1988). For example, the work of Kenway, Willis, Blackmore and Rennie (1994) focuses on the discourses that are designed to enhance girls' post-school options and how girls write, read and rewrite these discourses. Her findings note that girls are positioned by the discourses found in school and that when we start to disrupt the ways these discourses are read it becomes possible, perhaps, to challenge gender dynamics in schools. The CAPP curriculum offers an appropriate starting point from which to explore the discourses of career and adulthood. My analysis of the CAPP curriculum focuses on the language used to describe career and adulthood, pointing to the ways in which both career and adulthood are reproduced or resisted in CAPP. 43 Looking for Discourses of Career and Adulthood in Vancouver Schools In my research there are two significant discourses that I focus on, those of career and adulthood. Similar to the work of Nancy Lesko (2001), whose research describes a discourse of adolescence as being part of a dominant set of assumptions and ideas that affect and influence all adolescents' lives, my query is that the discourses of career and adulthood have become part of a taken-for-granted set of assumptions in schools about the ways in which a "normal" life course is travelled. A l l adolescents are subject to the ideas and expectations of adulthood, and along with this expectation of adulthood is that of having a career; one of the main defining factors of adulthood. While there will be cultural differences in the ideas and expectations around both adulthood and career across Vancouver and in other major Canadian cities, the majority of adolescents have some kind of idea that society has particular expectations around the meanings of both adulthood and career, even if the localities and particular moments may vary (Lesko, 2001). A n analysis of the discourses of career education provides an opportunity to unmask power relations in schools. Luke (1995) suggests that it is possible to document large patterns and to question how schools help to construct the discourses like success and failure, rules and knowledge. It is with this aim that I start to look at what career and adulthood mean for Vancouver teachers and students. In my research a critical approach helps me to question the ways in which discourses of career and adulthood are embedded in the everyday practices of the classroom and the career education curricula. The purpose of analyzing the discourse of career education from a critical perspective is to disrupt common sense and taken-for-granted assumptions (Cherryholmes, 1988). Some of these assumptions include notions of who is worker, what skills are, and what schools 44 should be teaching. Career education and skills training in schools are often thought of as "good" things to be doing. What is not examined in this common sense orientation is the potential for career education to reproduce societal inequalities and how these practices ignore issues of gender and social class and assume equality of opportunity (Coombs, 1994). Education is not an equal playing field and through a critical analysis it is possible to disrupt some of the "common sense" assumptions of equality. Curriculum Studies This study is informed by a critical orientation to curriculum policies and practices, with the aim of understanding how power is infused in the curriculum. Young (1998) suggests that curriculum must be questioned from two perspectives, 1) how it is designed to enable students to acquire concepts and forms of understanding and to apply it in different contexts, and 2) how the curriculum is organized to preserve vested interests and maintain the status quo. These questions offer an important lens with which to look at CAPP. Bove (1990) explains that we must ask questions of any discourse or cultural practice: "How does it function? Where is it found? How does it get produced and regulated? What are its social effects?" (p. 54) Another important dimension of a critical approach to examining curriculum is noting key words, which Fraser and Gordon (1994) describe as being based on unspoken assumptions that can influence the discourses that they permeate. Thus, I recognize that key terms are used to describe social life and are active in shaping that social world (see also Raymond Williams, 1976). This is meant to disrupt common sense thinking, mainly how adulthood and career are perceived and taught, by situating the curriculum within a social, 45 cultural, and historical context that includes issues of gender, race, class, sexuality and disability. My intention is to investigate both the content of curricula of career education programs and how teachers and students started to understand how they are positioned by career education curricula. My belief is that these kinds of curricula are built to teach adolescents how to become adults and enter the work force and to work in the best interest of the economy. What this means is that curricula can influence identity formation. One of the identities fostered by such curricula is that of a working adult. What it means to be an adult in our society is greatly influenced by institutions (i.e. Churches, governments, media) like schools and accordingly the school curriculum. Summary This chapter serves to outline the theoretical and methodological approaches taken in this study. The first part of this chapter highlights the site selection, data collection methods, and analysis strategies employed by this study. The second aim of this chapter was to highlight my theoretical framework and to point to the importance of critical theory as a lens with which to begin to examine how power, ideology and hegemony influences the curriculum talk, teacher talk and student talk on adulthood and careers. My study uses discourse as a way to look at the meanings which are embodied by the participants in my study and through the CAPP curriculum. This inquiry seeks to illuminate how programs like CAPP influence teachers' and students' expectations of adulthood and future careers. A major goal of this study is to continue to spark critical discussions about career education and to direct attention to the need for career education curricula that equips students with a critical understanding of 46 adulthood, as well as to challenge limited and limiting conceptions of successful adulthood. The following chapter explores in more detail how each school teaches CAPP based on observational data and the documents that I was able to collect from each of the schools. 47 C H A P T E R 3 - C A P P D E L I V E R Y I N T H E S C H O O L S 1 This chapter begins a close look at the schools that were the sites of this study. The aim of this chapter is to provide a detailed ethnographic description of the sites (Lather, 1991) and to examine how each of the four schools delivered CAPP. The methods of CAPP delivery included: The use of a career fair/conference as the major school wide CAPP activity with other added on CAPP activities, an on-timetable course in which students.were enrolled in either their Grade 11 or 12 year, and a mixture of the previous two in that the school offered both a career fair and a mini-course in which all students were enrolled. These were the approaches that existed in the four schools in my study from the late 1990s until the most recent incarnation of CAPP, which was phased out by the Ministry of Education in 2003/2004. The first aim of this chapter is to provide a description of what CAPP looked like in these schools. The other purpose is to explore how the students perceived the CAPP programs, as well as to examine the goals and teaching strategies enacted by the teachers of the CAPP programs. The four schools in my study provide examples of how CAPP was sometimes delivered in Vancouver schools8, although it is important to note that this became apparent after the research had been completed. Understanding the delivery and content of each of the CAPP programs starts to uncover several significant aspects of CAPP in Vancouver, the first being that each school has its own understanding of what was required to meet the provincial mandate for career education, the second was that the schools (and teachers involved in CAPP formation) had a particular understanding of what the government required of these 8 This information is based on an informal telephone survey of Vancouver schools and confirmed in a telephone conversation which the CAPP coordinator for the VSB. 48 programs, combined with a particular belief about what it was that best suited the needs of their students. The following sections will examine the significant CAPP activities at Cedar Valley, Oak Hi l l , Pinetree, and Elmwood. Each section will provide a description of the CAPP program, a look at some of the significant CAPP activities unique to each school, and the opinions and thoughts of the teachers and students about the program. The Career Fair The career fair is a fairly well-established career education activity in many Canadian schools (Dykeman, Wood, Ingram, Pehrsson, Mandsager & Herr, 2003). It is seen as a chance to provide students with a variety of experiences in a very short period of time. However, the career fair model can also be thought of as analogous to a buffet, or shopping mall. It affords students the opportunity to shop around the various career possibilities with the presumption that students will know what they want to do after hearing stories from experienced workers. The premise of this kind of program being that students use the career fair as an opportunity to explore careers so that they might find the "right fit." In a review of the literature that looks at the role of career education in schools, there is very little discussion of the use of career fairs in the delivery of career education. One study by Bloxom and Bernes (2003), which examined 225 Grade 12 students in Southern Alberta and what it is that students thought they needed from career development programs, only mentions career fairs in passing. What they found was that of all the career education activities the school was offering, students felt that career fairs were only somewhat helpful (one of the lowest on the scale of career education activities) in relation to the other activities, like lectures or seminars, that were available in their schools. 49 Career fairs are sometimes thought of as a way to be accountable to the community, or even as an early intervention strategy or way of introducing students to the community and the choices they have to make. Dykeman et al. (2003) describe career fairs as an introductory intervention, which they see as "designed to awaken a student's interest in their own personal and professional growth" (p. 274). Career fairs are introductory in that they offer a chance to sample a little bit of what a career might mean, and Dykeman et al's (2003) research argues that career fairs are somewhat limiting because of the temporal nature of the activity. The temporal aspect is significant because it is important to recognize that career fairs are usually a one-time offering meant to peak the interests of students. Along with temporal nature of career fairs, it is necessary to ask who benefits from career fairs. One suggestion is that career fairs work to the benefit of employers, and in a review of online career education websites, there is a fair amount of discussion about how career fairs are excellent opportunities to recruit workers (or students to educational institutions). The BC WorklnfoNet (, a website sponsored by the Province of BC and the Federal Government, is intended to help youth to think about career opportunities. This website clearly demonstrates the idea of career fairs revolving around finding workers rather than as exploratory for students, as one of the feature articles talks about how career fairs have many benefits for potential employers. It highlights how employers can use career fairs to market their organizations and promote opportunities, and even to pre-screen potential future employees. There is a recruiting aspect to this understanding of career fairs. If career fairs are thought of as having a buffet or shopping mall approach, then the responsibility for career education falls upon students who are supposed to choose from the 50 myriad career options laid out in front of them. One of the interesting findings in my study was that the schools that focused on career fairs used a wide variety of activities as part of the fair/conference, and some of these activities had very little to do with helping students to decide their future path, although some could be loosely defined as being related to citizenship in schools. As a result of my discussions with the CAPP coordinator at the VSB and a telephone survey of schools, it became clear that only four schools in Vancouver were officially using some form of career fair as part of their CAPP activities. These schools also included other CAPP activities such as counsellor pullout sessions for advising students. Many of the schools in Vancouver had. a variety of activities that made up the whole of the CAPP program, of which the career fair was just one aspect. I am classifying Cedar Valley as using a career fair approach because of the prominence the career fair held for this particular program. Although there were other activities, most of the CAPP requirements were met through this one activity. In the BC Ministry of Education's 2001 review of its CAPP program, career fairs were listed as one of the least liked instructional activities by students, while the most desired instructional activities, in order from top to bottom, were, 1) guest speakers, 2) group work, 3) discussion/debates, 4) videos/multimedia, and 5) research (including internet) (Thompson & Hartley, 2001, p. 128). Out of 16 possible instructional techniques, career fairs were listed as the 8 t h most desired of instructional strategies, which included aspects like lectures and journaling along with the previously listed top five. Cedar Valley Secondary School Cedar Valley Secondary School was housed in an older brick building and located in a fairly wealthy area of town. The catchment area had a relatively low number of families 51 living under the poverty line. Low-income is designated by Statistics Canada as having more than 40% of the neighbourhood in the low-income bracket (Heisz & McLeod, 2004). The City of Vancouver Census (2001) indicated that 10-15% of families in this area are considered to be low income. From my observations, the school was something of a maze with a combination of the old brick schoolhouse, along with some new additions that stood in stark contrast. There was constant construction at this school and it appeared to be bursting at the seams with students who were in need of larger spaces and more updated classrooms and facilities. The walls were covered with many years of graduation pictures that demonstrated the rich history that this school played in the local community. The student body was somewhat homogenous with two dominant ethnic groups of Caucasian and Asian students that were mainly middle-class. My first introduction to this school was the main office and the accompanying principal's office. On my first day there I was greeted by the staff and then ushered into a meeting with the principal so that she could find out more about what I would be researching in her school. The principal took the opportunity of this meeting to offer me some background on her school and then offered an explanation around why the school had developed this particular CAPP program and how it fit the needs of the students and the mini-school arts program (an embedded program in which students specialized in artistic courses such as band or drama). Cedar Valley was very focused on standards and the principal took pride in the fact that her school had been excelling and improving its reputation for academic study. CAPP was not seen as an important component of the curriculum, rather a time in-between regular courses where students were given a break and the opportunity to do something different. 52 The principal described Cedar Valley as a small school in which electives (such as band or jewellery making) were important and this focus on electives was a main influence on the way in which CAPP was offered at this school. Cedar Valley's courses included an array of fine art and music offerings that were part of the draw to the school. The career fair was the primary method of delivering CAPP to students in Grades 8-12. The administration and teachers at Cedar Valley, in order to preserve their electives, chose to fulfill the CAPP requirements by holding a two day mini-conference in which students had the opportunity to attend sessions with various professionals in the community. The career fair served as a way for students to start determining what it was they wanted to do when they finished high school. At that time, the principal hoped that CAPP would be revamped because she felt it Was not very useful for her students and hard to get the teachers to "buy into" the current program. The principal believed that the teachers were not interested in the CAPP program and that they viewed the program as someone else's responsibility. The principal wished the career fair was more of a school wide event with the full staff interested in the program. There was one half-time teacher, Ms. Jones, who organized the CAPP career fair for the main school. Her role in CAPP was part-time; she spent the other part of her day as a home economics teacher. She had volunteered two years ago to be a member of a three-person team that was involved in planning the CAPP conference. While I was collecting my data, Ms. Jones had been the sole CAPP coordinator, a role that she seemed to regret a little because of the vast amount of work in planning the career fair. Ms. Jones appeared wistful in that she wished she had delegated more of her career fair duties rather than trying to plan the whole conference on her own. She said the reason she became the CAPP coordinator was 53 because, "They asked me... [and] I do believe in CAPP, I think it's a great opportunity for kids and I like how we do it here." Similar to the school's CAPP career fair format, the arts based program had a greater focus on the fine arts in its conference sessions, with its own CAPP coordinator, Ms. Birch. It was Ms. Birch's first year as the coordinator and she noted that ".. .our student population and our program is growing. It started off with I think about 60 kids in it and we're now almost up to 300, so we are probably the largest mini-school in the city and so it was a huge undertaking this year." As a part-time CAPP arts coordinator and a part-time English teacher, Ms. Birch described her role in CAPP as trying to make it relevant to students. The CAPP Conference The Cedar Valley CAPP conference was held during an intersession, a space between the second and third terms, after exams were completed and before the final term began. It was scheduled in this way in order to offer CAPP in a space where students would be able to focus specifically on the CAPP activities, because they were not studying for exams or needing to have homework completed. The conference was meant as a bit of a break from the regular pattern of school, a time to stop and think about their futures without the regular pressures of the school year. Nancy 9, a Grade 10 student describes CAPP in this way, "We always look forward to it too, like I mean we get to do different things, and it's kinda like -1 think it's really good that at Cedar Valley we do it outside of class time." There were two versions of the CAPP conference running simultaneously, one for the larger school, and the other for the mini-school, which was the arts-based high school program. 9 Al l students and staff were given pseudonyms of their own choosing. 54 The conference structure appeared somewhat unique to Cedar Valley, although the basic format was one of a career fair, with several other added-on aspects. The CAPP conference was a two-day event in which students attended keynote lectures as a large group, and then broke into smaller groups to attend sessions put on by various professionals and organizations that were thought to be useful for students as they started to plan their futures. The CAPP Conference Passport was the document used to both ascertain student attendance at the CAPP sessions, and to record what students thought they learned, liked or did not like about the session. The passport was a little yellow booklet that had blank lines and questions associated with each of the conference time slots. Each student was expected to turn in the CAPP passport at the end of the conference and the CAPP coordinator made sure each passport had been completed. As the CAPP coordinator, Ms. Jones looked at the passports to ensure students had filled in the session information and to ascertain i f students actually attended the conference. The passport was evaluated on the basis of participation and reflection on the various sessions that students chose to attend. The passport described the CAPP Conference as focusing on a variety of topics "that will help students to broaden their understanding of possible future career choices and themselves." The CAPP conference sessions from the main school program included a keynote address from a well known C B C broadcaster, sessions from educational organizations like the Tourism Training Institute, the Vancouver Film School, Vancouver Community College Drafting program, Agricultural Sciences at the University of British Columbia, the University of British Columbia Health Sciences, John Casablanca's (make-up, studio arts, and fashion arts) and Fitness Group (personal training gym), as well as pastry chefs, and a life coach. Other sessions were focused more on the personal planning aspect of the 55 curriculum, as there were sessions on landmines (from the Red Cross), early psychosis intervention, organ donation/transplants, Hostelling International (student travel), fencing, conflict resolution, youth volunteer corps, yoga, Pridespeak (on homophobia) and a session on globalization. There were also several personal development sessions aimed at helping students think about their futures: a session on getting your career in focus, provincial exam preparation, and meeting with grads of the past so that former students could share their experiences of leaving high school and moving on to postsecondary education. Many students also had the option of field trips or all day instructional sessions. For example, the ESL/Visa students went to Science World while other students went to the law courts, toured Triumf at U B C , or the New Media Innovation Centre. One group of students had the option to go snow shoeing or skiing on local mountains, while several other students had the option of taking a certificate program like CPR, or Superhost, where an instructor came to the school and held workshops over the two days so that students could earn their certification. The arts-based version of CAPP included visits from dancers, makeup artists, string quartets, film crews, directors and producers, and highlighted careers in the theatre, movies, music and in writing. Physical activities like Yoga, Tai Chi, Capoeira dance/martial arts and personal training where also built into the arts version of CAPP. The students experienced keynote lectures on creativity, and what it meant to pursue a career in the arts. The arts program was a small group within the larger school, and a much-coveted place to be. Students expressed a great deal of interest in spending time with members of the arts community. In my interviews with students, several expressed surprise at how difficult it could and would be to have a career in the arts. Ms. Birch pointed out that this year's CAPP 56 conference had focused greatly on those people who had made careers in the arts, and that next year's conference would be more geared towards art as lifelong learning, meaning that it was possible to enjoy the arts for the whole of your life and not just as a career path. Classroom Observations My observations in this school consisted of 5 blocks of CAPP that were specifically aimed at Grade .10 course planning. Outside of the career fair, the other major aspect of CAPP at this school was course planning and personal planning seminars. Students were given time with guidance counsellors to talk about course planning and further education trajectories. Course planning happened on a pull-out basis, meaning that time was taken out of other regular subjects (like English) in order for the school counsellor to spend several sessions advising students about course planning and the kinds of choices that could affect their future career plans. The guidance counsellors played an important role in this school around career planning, and were often available outside of class time to guide students on aspects of career planning, or even to help administer some of the career inventories available such as the Holland Hexagon or True Colours. 1 0 With the encouragement of the Grade 10 Guidance Counsellor, Ms. Smith, I had an opportunity to observe three different classes of Grade 10 students as they started to think about what careers they wanted, and as they planned the courses they would be taking in their last two years in high school. Course planning was presented as essential for preparation if they wanted to go to university or head to college. In introducing the course planning, Ms. Smith spent a good deal of time talking about university requirements and what courses 1 0 The Holland Hexagon and True Colours are standardized career aptitude tests that were intended to help students to uncover their personal strengths and aptitudes. The aim of these tests is to help students recognize what careers and jobs that match with those aptitudes. 57 would help students to get into the academic programs in which they were interested. The students in those classes were primarily concerned with two things when looking at university programs, 1) how long would they take, and 2) how much money they could earn when finished. Course planning seemed to happen within one classroom period with students spending a great deal of time figuring out prerequisites for future courses they would like to take. Career Preparation Cedar Valley had a variety of activities used to meet the Ministry of Education's CAPP requirements. Another important CAPP activity in this school was the one-hour Career Preparation assembly geared for the Grade 10 students in the school. The Career Preparation program at Cedar Valley was very large and busy. It had students taking time out of the term to do job shadowing and to spend some time in workplaces in order to help them think about what kind of careers they might like in their futures. This program was separate from CAPP, although at this particular school the Career Preparation Coordinator and the CAPP Coordinator often worked in concert. The CAPP Coordinators included a school-wide session in which students who had taken the Career Preparation program could address their i classmates about the benefit of taking this work experience program and the kinds of job shadowing that were available to them. The presupposition of this program was that spending time in the workplace could help students to decide whether or not they were really interested in having the career that they were observing. These hours were separate from the 30 CAPP hours that all students must have before graduating from high school, although those students who completed the Career Preparation program had their CAPP hours included in the 100 Career Preparation hours. The Career Preparation Coordinator spent a great deal of time 58 recruiting students in Grade 10 to participate in the program and helping those students already enrolled to find job placements. The Grade 10 Career Preparation assembly was introduced to students as an opportunity to talk about a special program that could be taken in Grade 11 and 12. The teacher in charge described it as a chance to really "focus on graduation" and "make sure that you can go where you want to when you finish high school." In this presentation, she specifically referred to university and to getting a job. Career preparation was an optional program, and was introduced to students as a "chance to see what things were all about." The program was offered up as a way to obtain guidance that could help students think about what they wanted to do post high school. After this brief introduction, four senior students were asked to relate their personal experiences of the Career Preparation program. One at a time they talked about the kind of job shadows they had been on during their 100 hours of Career Preparation, and how this helped them in terms of trying out careers. One student described her "try outs" as kayak instructor, physicist, TV extra, and a job in recreation. The kayak instruction was chosen because it would be fun whereas the physicist was chosen because she was serious about this being the kind of career she wanted. In the end she said that being a physicist was something she could really see herself doing after the job placement experience. Career Preparation was also presented as a way to rule out what you did not want to do. For example, one student spoke about wanting to work with animals, but after a placement at a doggy day care decided that was not the kind of work she would like to do. Another student spoke about having tried out eight different job placements, like working for the SPCA, as a TV extra, a freelance writer, working at Kidsbooks, as well as at the local 59 aquarium. She talked about being able to be anything you want to be, and career preparation as "cool, because it lets you try it all out." Interestingly, only one student spoke about trying out a job in the trades. He had the opportunity to work briefly as a mechanic, although later had moved on to try out life as a stockbroker, and he thought the program was a good way to get a summer job. The assembly continued with the Career Preparation Coordinator asking why students should consider taking career preparation, outlining how it really helps to "refine what you already think you want to do. It helps you to get motivated in school when you know what career you want, and it helps you to meet people who followed a career path." Career Preparation was also described as helping students to learn work skills and interviewing, and helping those students who had failed or were struggling with academic courses, because it was a 4 credit off-timetable course. It was suggested the course could be used as extra assurance for those students who were looking towards graduation. The other major aspect of the Career Preparation assembly was the introduction of the VSB Apprenticeship Program. It was described as a program geared towards a handful of students for which the program could work, like those students who were interested in mechanics. The Apprenticeship Coordinator started by saying that there were currently 38 students in trade programs across Vancouver. Jobs in the trades were introduced as a booming field with not enough people entering, and as a work option available in Career Preparation. Students were also warned that this program was not suitable for everyone, but that they should keep an open mind to trades as a way to find a job. Trades were described as a stepping off/jumping off point that could lead to another career goal. The introduction to the apprenticeship program was quite short, and as the assembly ended I noticed quite a few 60 students getting in line to speak with the Career Preparation Coordinator, while the Apprenticeship Coordinator remarked that no students had stopped to see him. Student and Teacher Perceptions of CAPP I had the opportunity to interview 5 students from Cedar Valley along with both CAPP Coordinators and the Grade 10 Guidance Counsellor. I spoke to three students from one of the Grade 10 classes and one student from each of Grades 11 and 12. The Grade 10 students tended to be mixed on whether they liked the career fair format of CAPP; Nancy thought that CAPP was something "we all look forward to, like I mean we get to do different things...." Vanessa on the other hand, also a Grade 10 student, answered no when she was asked if she liked CAPP and went on to talk about what she did not like. "I don't remember all the courses I took. I'm trying to think. Well maybe one of the speeches was kind of boring, and not.. .1 didn't really care very much." The Grade 11 students were much more vocal in their dislike or likes of the program. Mike felt that it was a complete waste of time, although Galadrial liked the arts version of CAPP because "some of it is just a lot of entertainment." While these students were not representative of the whole school population, they offered quite a range of responses to the CAPP experience. The teachers had a more upbeat view of what CAPP was offering students. Ms. Jones thought that CAPP was "giving students some tools. I guess discovering who they are. Because they can't make those decisions, they have a lot coming at them...." Both Ms. Jones and Ms. Birch (CAPP arts coordinator) talked about the need to make CAPP relevant to the students, and both coordinators felt that CAPP had been a "huge success." However, at the same time Ms. Jones noted that, "Well, I'm sure you've heard that CAPP is ' C R A P ' or whatever they say.. .and it is too bad, because there are some very valuable parts to that." 61 Both of the coordinators believed that the career fair had value for the students. Ms. Jones said, "I like our conference because it does give them an opportunity to maybe look at something they didn't [before]." Ms. Birch also agreed, suggesting that ".. .a big part of me knows that this is something that means something to the students." Although she did acknowledge that the career fair model was used out of necessity in order to keep the other parts of the school schedule running the way the staff would like it to, meaning they were able to keep a greater diversity of courses in the timetable. On-Timetable Courses This next section addresses the most common form of CAPP delivery based on my informal survey of Vancouver CAPP programs, which was the use of an on-timetable course to teach CAPP. This approach to teaching CAPP was found at both Oak Hi l l Secondary and Pinetree Secondary, and in a limited way at Elmwood Secondary. The majority of schools in the Vancouver region offered on-timetable CAPP courses for Grades 11 and/or 12. Approximately 13 schools in this region used a course as the method of CAPP delivery for the senior grades, making courses the most common way that CAPP was delivered. In Vancouver, the majority of these courses were taught as part of the elective program within the timetable as a 2-credit course that was often paired with a 2-credit fine arts or elective in Grades 11 or as an off-timetable course in Grade 12. Only two schools did not pair CAPP with an elective and in those schools CAPP was a stand-alone 2-credit course. Career education courses are often built on the premise that students know "little about career options, their own talents, and what it is really like to work, and what preparation is needed for the kinds of jobs and further education that will set them on a career path" (Vischer, Bhandari & Medrich, 2004, p. 135). The purpose of career programs like 62 CAPP was to increase the occupational relevancy of schools (Marginson, 1999). Although Gray (2004) argues that this was not always the case and suggests that the debate harkens back to the work of John Dewey (1959), who argued that schools should impart a more liberal democratic education. However, more recent proponents of career education argue that when schools offer courses like CAPP they become more relevant for all students, particularly those who find little value from the traditional academic curriculum (Gray, 2004). Programs like CAPP reinforce the role of schools as preparing students for life, and this includes preparation for work. What follows is a description of how career education was being taught in two of the Vancouver schools that were using on-timetable courses. Oak Hill Secondary School Oak Hil l was one of the biggest schools in Vancouver, and one of the most multicultural. Oak Hil l was located on the Eastside of the Vancouver in a middle to lower class catchment area, with approximately 27% of the school catchment area coming from low-income households (City of Vancouver Census, 2001). My first introduction to this school was the very large and bustling principal's office, where I was directed to the classroom of the teacher who was willing to have me observe the CAPP program.^The school was multileveled with several corridors, and at first seemed like something of a maze. The walls were covered with advertisements about student clubs and various grad events, particularly the senior prom. The students appeared to be from very mixed racial backgrounds and mostly congregated in the hallways. The CAPP program was well-established at this school with each grade level having different expectations in terms of meeting CAPP requirements. Prior to taking an on-timetable course in Grade 11, Grade 8 and 9 students received CAPP on a pullout basis, 63 meaning that they were taken out of their regularly scheduled classes to attend a CAPP activity or for school counsellors to come into the classroom. Usually these pullouts involved course planning with guidance counsellors or some kind of personal planning session on aspects like suicide awareness, drug or alcohol prevention or sexual education. CAPP came into full effect in Grade 11 where students were required to attend the formalized class from the beginning of February until the end of June. Oak Hil l met its CAPP requirements through these Grade 11 classes. There were two CAPP teachers at Oak Hil l during my time in the school and both of the teachers came from the business education department. The teacher who invited me into her classroom was Ms. Mason. She was an experienced CAPP teacher with more than 26 years of teaching and was one of the influential forces in the shape of CAPP delivery at Oak Hi l l ; she described herself as helping to define what CAPP meant for her school. I spent time in Ms. Mason's classroom where I had the opportunity to observe some of the classes that were directly concerned with learning about careers. Ms. Mason spent her day split between teaching business education courses and as an advisor and helper to the graduating class, along with her CAPP duties. She described the process of becoming a CAPP teacher as needing to fill teaching blocks. "Same way everybody else did practically. Here you're missing a block, we're giving it to your department. Here you go." Ms. Mason works in close cooperation with Ms. Moore, the school's Career Information Assistant (CIA), and together they developed the schools CAPP program. Ms. Moore's role as the school CIA focused primarily on servicing the Grade 11 and 12 students. She helped the Grade 1 l 's in their CAPP courses by delivering standardized career tests like True Colours, which she believed aided students in identifying careers that 64 fit with their personalities. Ms. Moore was also integrally involved in helping students to learn how to write resumes, cover letters, thank you letters and interviewing skills. As the school CIA, Ms. Moore was the postsecondary liaison and spent time with students during the CAPP course helping them to go through postsecondary course calendars and figuring out course prerequisites for academic programs. Another important aspect of Ms. Moore's job was a thriving apprenticeship program, for which she was responsible for helping students find placements. When I first met Ms. Moore she showed me her files on students in the apprenticeship program, noting that she had 13 students currently in apprenticeships within the community. Although she was integral to the working of career education at Oak Hil l , Ms. Moore's time was split between two schools, which meant that her time to work with students was quite limited. These limitations had caused her to give up much of the work she used to do in CAPP classes. Ms. Mason's is the only one who I've done and I'm doing True Colours with [teacher name omitted] classes next week. But there are some things we have to give up, like the career fairs and a lot of the classes. At [school name omitted] I've done some True Colours and I feel that being cut in half has done a real disservice to the kids. Together Ms. Mason and Ms. Moore made an important team at Oak Hi l l , as they worked towards what they thought was needed for students in CAPP. Classroom Observations I was afforded more access to this school than I was to the schools that had career . fairs, particularly because there was a larger amount of time where students were in the classroom. I was able to spend 8 separate blocks of classroom time in Ms. Mason's CAPP course. I was invited into the class particularly on the days when career planning was being 65 discussed. Many of the sessions I did not attend were related to personal planning aspects like stress management, eating disorders and other social aspects that were included under the rubric of the planning side of things. There were other special events that I chose not to attend because they were separate from the regular CAPP classroom and unrelated to aspects of career planning, such as a visit from a local police officer to speak about drug prevention and a lecture from the Heart and Stroke Foundation about the effects of smoking. The classroom time that I did have was integral to understanding how CAPP worked as it was i particularly focused on helping this group of Grade 11 students to start to develop career skills like building resumes and cover letters, as well as an important focus on career aptitude testing. The CAPP activities at Oak Hil l included a mix between career education and personal planning and public health kinds of information sessions. Some of the career related classes focused on aspects like job skills for the future, and discussing what kinds of jobs were available for students. Other career related activities ^ included spending time with Ms. Mason, looking at postsecondary course calendars and websites, and helping students to figure out course requirements for postsecondary education and for graduation. The other major career related activities at Oak Hi l l included learning how to write a resume, cover letter, thank you letter and how to apply for part-time jobs. The personal planning component was quite important at this school and much of CAPP time was taken up by guest lectures from places like the BC Lung Association, W C B on worksafe, healthy dating relationships and dating violence, suicide prevention, substance abuse, eating disorders, and other aspects of having a healthy lifestyle. Throughout the term, 22 classes focused on the personal planning activities, in contrast to 14 classes which were focused 66 specifically on career planning, aptitude testing, course planning and postsecondary opportunities. Ms. Mason expressed to me that the personal planning side of the curriculum was considered very important to this school, particularly because of the perception of these students as being "Eastside" and therefore more "at-risk." The CAPP Workbooks The on-timetable courses were based on two workbooks, one on career planning and the other on personal planning. These booklets were jointly prepared by Ms. Mason and Ms. Moore. Both teachers took great pride in the creation of these books, and were very clear that these workbooks were not to be shared with other schools unless prior permission was granted. The use of these CAPP workbooks was an important part of how Oak Hil l met the BC Ministry of Education's defined CAPP requirements. Ms. Mason was the developer for the Personal Unit workbook that all the classes used, while Ms. Moore was the developer of the Career and Personal Planning Guide. The CAPP workbook included activities on True Colours, workplace safety, secondary school apprenticeship programs, cover letters, career cruising, postsecondary research, student financial planning, a look at postsecondary schools and websites, the career preparation student form, the 30 hour work experience form and the telephone numbers of several job and employment lines. While the CAPP workbook was not followed exactly step by step in a linear progression, students were expected to bring the workbook with them to class, and at different times the book was handed in so that the teacher could check to see that homework was completed and grades were assigned. The outline of the personal planning unit described the objectives for the course as having 10 aspects for career development, 1) a student learning plan, 2) how you see 67 yourself, 3).occupational interests and aptitudes, 4) occupational research, 5) postsecondary research, 6) resume, cover letters, interviews, do's and don'ts, job search and networking, 7) legal rights as an employee, 8) workers compensation bureau - "work safe," 9) ethics in the workplace, and 10) stress caused by change in the workplace. The personal unit had three main objectives, 1) healthy living, 2) mental well being, and 3) abuse prevention. While this workbook was not handed in to the teacher, it was used as a resource for several different lessons in which students could follow along in the book to what the teacher was presenting in class, or students would fill out an activity sheet during the class time. The workbooks provided a variety of activities as well as little snippets of wisdom that the teachers hoped to pass along. For example, in the CAPP workbook there were five main areas that were highlighted for young people with little or no work experience, 1) hospitality, 2) office work, 3) labour, 4) retail, and 5) recreation. The intention was to point out to students some of the areas that they could get jobs if they were in need of employment without having much education or experience. There were also poems, quizzes and tips about how to have healthy relationships. The workbooks provided several far reaching resources such as help phone lines, a listing of Canadian postsecondary institutions, along with scripts for calling potential employers and hints about the kinds of questions students might be asked in an interview. Aptitude/Interest Testing One feature of the Oak Hi l l CAPP curriculum was the aptitude and career testing part of the program. Several days were spent exploring the personalities of students and how they might help students to choose careers. In two classroom blocks students spent time on the website and another site called The 68 purpose of these classes was to have students look at future career trends and to help them decide which careers they were most suited to. Students were given worksheets that would help to ensure that they were staying on task and actually using the websites to think about careers. While the students seemed to enjoy being outside their regular classrooms and using the computer lab, many of the students complained about the activity as they were doing it. The teacher spent much of the class policing the students to make sure they were not using email or searching the web for other kinds of information. While I was observing in that class, the teacher encouraged me to walk around and speak to students about their experiences with the website. In speaking informally with students, many complained of having to "waste" time looking on websites when they either already knew what they wanted to do, or did not like the kinds of results they were getting. One student was quite dismayed with her computerized results because she did not find a career she was interested in. The student felt that perhaps i f she already knew what she wanted to do, the results of the quiz would be different. The other aptitude/personality test that was significant in the school was the program True Colours. Two blocks of class time were afforded to the program with the intention of having students identify how their personality traits could lead to jobs. After answering a series of questions, students were assigned a colour that was representative of their personality traits. I was encouraged to participate along with students, and once the colours were assigned I was placed in a group of students who had the same colour, of which there were only three of us who were green. After being placed in the colours, Ms. Moore then introduced each group to the kinds of jobs that might fit the personality traits of the students with those colours. The jobs associated with green were attorney, computer scientist, 69 professor, judge, marine biologist, legal assistant, anthropologist and FBI agent. The green group consisted of myself and two students who had recently immigrated from China. The two students both expressed concern at the results of the personality testing, as they could not see themselves ever becoming FBI agents. In fact, one student was quite upset at what she felt was the ridiculousness of the career options, and expressed concern that she really wanted to be a doctor and that was not presented as an option under the green personality type.11 Student and Teacher Perceptions of CAPP Consistent with my research design, my aim was to interview five students, which I was able to accomplish because of the time that I. spent in the classroom. A l l five students came from Ms. Mason's Grade 11 CAPP class. Similar to the students at Cedar Valley, the students at Oak Hi l l were mixed in their reactions to CAPP. While most of the five students noted that CAPP could be very important for students, they often felt that it was more important to someone other than themselves. For example, Ella said, "I think it's really a great course for people, but not so much for me. Because it's not, a lot of things that they teach, I already know and I've already been involved in that stuff and like that. And it just becomes work. You know what I mean?" Zara liked the course, she said, "Yeah, I like it because we learn all these things," although she wishes the course were less work. Gemini, did not like CAPP because, "probably it's just like kind of confusing for me. Like, I get frustrated when we have to do those activities. I'm kind of like I don't know what I want to do so it's kind of harder for me." Timmy further critiqued the CAPP class. I I One of the major ironies of that classroom observation was that I was the only member of the group that recognized what I thought would be my future career option. With professor given as an option, I really had to wonder how much of my preconceived expectations of my own life influenced the results of the True Colours program. 70 I think work needs to be done on the course. I can't really think of much to do, but from experience it's not fun. It's not something I look forward to and like. I don't walk out of there thinking good thing we learned that today. You know? I think work needs to be done to improve it, but I don't know what would be needed. Overall, student reaction to the program was mostly negative, based both on student interviews and classroom observations. Students felt CAPP was a waste of time, although many of them could see how the activities might be useful later in life. At Oak Hi l l the teacher perceptions of the CAPP program was that it was essential to students' development. Ms. Moore spoke about CAPP as giving students "an all over." Meaning that students were given a broad understanding of what career and postsecondary options they had. Ms. Moore believed that attitudes towards CAPP had changed. "I think the mentalities changed. At the beginning, I used to hear CAPP called CRAP.. . .I 've seen a difference over the four years being here." Ms. Mason talked about'the role of CAPP as being about career explorations and personal planning and that CAPP offered the opportunity to standardize the curricula. She described the important aspects of the curriculum as "all of it. I don't think we do anything superfluous. I think we have, i f anything, too little time to do what we want to do. I run out of time every time." Ms. Moore suggested, "I think career exploration is a huge part of it, because these kids have never ever seriously done it. It's the first time they're starting to think about, ok, what am I going to do when I leave here." This was in contrast to what the students said, however, as they felt that they had been thinking about careers for quite awhile. A h important way in which both Ms. Mason and Ms. Moore viewed the school and their teaching of CAPP was through a division characterized by Eastside and Westside. The Eastside of Vancouver has been historically characterized as having students who were poor 71 or lower income and working class versus the Westside in which it has been assumed that students come from affluent families and were headed towards university. Both Ms. Mason and Ms. Moore made reference to this perceived divide, as they described their jobs as turning "Eastside kids into Westside kids." One of the ways they saw this happening was through the number of students who were planning on attending postsecondary, and by helping students to achieve those opportunities. Pinetree Secondary School Of all the research sites, Pinetree Secondary was the school in which I spent the greatest amount of time. This school was large and bustling and housed in a relatively old building. Pinetree Secondary was located on the Eastside of Vancouver and, along with Oak Hil l , was considered to be in a low-income and mostly immigrant area of town. Pinetree's catchment boundaries, as designated by the VSB, intersect several lower income neighbourhoods in Vancouver. These neighbourhoods averaged a relatively high percentage of low-income families at a level between approximately 30-37% of the population in some of its catchment areas (City of Vancouver Census, 2000). Pinetree was designated by the VSB as an inner-city school, and there were several important programs running at the same time in this school, including a significant technical education program, a program aimed at-First Nations students, as well as an academic stream. As with the other schools, my first introduction was to the principal's office, where I was officially introduced to the principal and asked to sign in whenever I entered the school grounds. The school runs CAPP solely as an on-timetable course that was focused primarily 1 2 However, while I acknowledge that there are perceived social class differences in Vancouver in regards to East and West, I am cautious of essentializing these areas into poor versus rich. Thus, in my analysis, I work with Statistics Canada definitions, which classify neighbourhoods by family income. In Vancouver, 19% of the population was designated low income in 2001, with many of these families clustered in the Downtown Eastside ( 72 on Grade 12. When CAPP was introduced into the school several teachers banded together as a group to develop the curriculum. Mr. Christie was an important part of Pinetree's CAPP program. He was part of its beginnings in this school and he continued to teach it up until the term in which I was observing, after which he was retiring from teaching. Mr. Christie described the creation of CAPP in his schools. When they were introducing the course, five years, I don't know when it was. A number of years back, they, the administrators at the school said this is a course that we're going to offer and it's going to be a ten-month course. How are we going to do it? And there was a core of teachers, [name omitted] was one, myself, and some other folks, I can't really remember. And we kind of came up with what we thought would be a good curriculum. And because it was a ten-month course, we kind of went well, my God, what are we supposed to teach in ten months. What kind of curriculum, because there's no book, there's some guidelines from the government, but no books. So this man, [name omitted] who is a physics teacher.. .he basically.. .1 guess he sort of hammered it out.. .look we've got to do and he hammered it out with the colleagues, myself being one. At Pinetree, as with the other schools, CAPP was greatly influenced by the teachers who took the responsibility for teaching and planning it, and therefore the course often reflected the interests of these teachers. Mr. Christie refers to this in more detail. And so we ended up with a ten-month CAPP curriculum, and if it wasn't for [name omitted] it probably wouldn't be the shape that it is. [Name omitted] is a motivational speaker, sometimes as well. And he's.. .he likes Zig Zigler, he likes these Tony Robbins types of guys and he had a whole package with tapes all from motivational things, life skills, this is how you make yourself become a better person. And we basically used that as a kind of framework and we fit it in where we thought it was appropriate. And of course every teacher's got their own specialty and he taught things that he felt comfortable teaching, like memory, study skills. And I taught things that I thought were important, attitude, appearance, presentation, and believe it or not the automobile.... While as a group they decided on a general format, each individual teacher focused on other aspects like motivational speaking, life skills and aspects of how to make someone a better person. The curriculum had evolved out of this group of teachers' ideas about CAPP and, 73 while it had changed over the years to reflect newer topics, each of the teachers tended to follow a similar pattern, with all Grade 12's taking the course the semester before they graduated. During the period of my data collection there were several CAPP teachers in the school, but my time at Pinetree was spent specifically with Mr. Christie, thus my representation of CAPP at this school reflects his particular "take" on the curriculum. This was the school to which I was granted the most access, largely because of the willingness of Mr. Christie, who allowed me to spend time in his classroom. Mr. Christie was a geography teacher with 27 years of teaching experience. Classroom Observations I had the opportunity to observe 17 blocks of CAPP that were split between two different Grade 12 classes both taught by Mr. Christie. In this school, I had the opportunity to get to know the students quite well and was able to build a rapport with my interview subjects. There were various points throughout this class where I was included in the discussion or asked to help out with various teaching duties - in one instance I was asked to mark quizzes that the students had just completed. I had an opportunity to circulate more in this classroom and had many informal conversations with students, speaking to them about the activities that were underway. There were quite a few students in Mr. Christie's classes that had frequent absences, and they were told publicly that they were currently failing the class because they had not handed in assignments. A few students expressed interests in academics while others were vocal about their lack of interest in these subjects. In the classroom, there were divisions among groups of students, and these groups did not have much interaction with each other. 74 The curriculum in Mr. Christie's class was quite varied. Some of the activities were similar to the CAPP activities in other schools, like resume building, writing cover letters, business cards, as well as job interviewing skills. Mr. Christie also used aptitude testing in the form of the Holland Hexagon, and lectured on the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey (1990). The final culminating assignment included a mock job interview that was videotaped. Students were to come to the classroom individually, and run through a mock interview with the teacher. At this time there was a review of students' portfolios, which included resumes, cover letters, and a real job application for a local ski hill. Mr. Christie spent a great deal of time providing examples of how to do resumes or business cards in lectures. Students were then given assignments to reproduce documents such as resumes, cover letters, business cards and letters to organizations. The students were then assigned grades for these assignments that became a part of the grade they received in their CAPP class. There were also different kinds of seatwork that included activities such as drawing out a network of contacts or writing out the 100 things you would like to do before you die. In one activity students wrote out the epitaph they would like to have in their gravestones. Public Speaking and Deportment There were other aspects of this curriculum that were quite different from the other schools, such as public speaking or presentations. The latter activity was called "Bring and Brag." Students were expected to bring or do something that they could share with the other students and students were evaluated on their public presentation. Other activities involved interviewing each other or a special activity called "The Box", where students would put 75 questions in a box and each student in turn would take out a question to practice public speaking. The questions could be on any topic, the purpose of the task being to deliver a clear and well-spoken opinion. This activity often elicited comments and evaluations from the teacher on students' attire and physical presentation. Mr. Christie often encouraged students to dress and groom in a "professional" manner. The students at Pinetree seemed to really like the interactive nature of the course, as students were often asked to stand up and give impromptu presentations on various topics. Students were often rewarded for looking and speaking "nicely" (i.e. wearing nice clothing, getting a hair cut, or having a "nice smile"). After one presentation by a female, Mr. Christie commented on how she had taken pride in what she was doing and had smiled nicely while, she was speaking. There were many discussions in this classroom around what kinds of behaviours would help students to be more successful as they started to look for jobs. Many of these jobs seemed particularly related to a perception of social class. For example, students were warned that "ghetto speak" would stigmatize them when they were looking for jobs in the future, and that they should make sure that they do not embarrass themselves during public events with potential employers. CAPP Nuggets Mr. Christie personalized the CAPP curriculum in his classroom by adding in a component he called CAPP nuggets. These nuggets were very specific to Mr. Christie and contained pieces of "wisdom" that he thought all young people should know. For example, there were lessons on table manners, how to dress (which formal attire or suit to wear for which occasion), how to shine shoes, how to tie a Windsor knot on a tie, and how to sew a 76 button. Mr. Christie would use the nuggets as an opportunity to step outside the regular classroom lessons and to demonstrate 'how' to do what he felt were the markers of adult life. In the class on table manners, Mr. Christie set up a table with formal dining dishes and cutlery. Mr. Christie then went on to describe which fork, glass, and plate would be used for each dinner course, as well as how to position napkins, handle eating and the kinds of questions one might be asked by a waiter in a fancy restaurant. This lesson was used as an example of a meal you might share with a potential employer or date, and that these circumstances required particular behaviours that are indicative of a high class culture. The students were very engaged with this lesson and asked a variety of questions. In another lesson, Mr. Christie brought in small sewing kits as well as buttons and pieces of cloth. For this lesson Mr. Christie demonstrated the process of sewing a button, and then had each student in the classroom follow in kind. As students were sewing, he circulated around the classroom to check and make sure that each student had the hang of it. Many of these nuggets contained a very masculinist and classist approach, as these were lessons that pertained very specifically to the boys in the classroom. For example, the use of men's clothing in the section on choosing formal attire, tying a tie and the shining of shoes were all masculine activities. These were lessons that the girls in the class were required to be a part of, and yet there was no feminine attire brought into the classroom as an example. The girls were asked to speculate about how these lessons might translate to their gender. There was also a parental aspect to these nuggets as they were attributes that Mr. Christie thought that a parent should pass down to their children, or in one case, he spoke of his role as being a mother to these students. In this way, Mr. Christie felt he was acting as a 77 parental figure for his students, but he also felt that these were the aspects that made his curriculum unique, and kept students interested and engaged in the class. The most looked forward to CAPP nugget for the students, and the one that was unique to Mr. Christie's own interests, was the unit on how to buy a car. This was the most substantial nugget that Mr. Christie had to offer, both in the amount of time spent and the relative importance to the students. Thus, several weeks of the course were devoted to this unit, and students were lectured on aspects of how to buy and maintain a car, a skill that Mr. Christie thought was very important for adolescents to learn, as well as something that they were not getting at home. Student and Teacher Perceptions of CAPP I had the opportunity to speak with five students from the two Grade 12 classes in which I was observing. The classroom dynamics in Mr. Christie's class were different from the other schools in which I had the opportunity to observe during class time. Here the students saw the role of the teacher as having a great deal to do with what they were learning in the classroom. Mr. Christie often made it clear that this was the most important class that students would take as it was the one that would teach them how to get a job. The students in both of Mr. Christie's classes seemed to either love, or really dislike, his approach to teaching. Nava describes Mr. Christie's class. Mr. Christie, he's a funny teacher. Weird guy, there's no one like him. That's for sure. We talk about him and what he says and things and stuff and why my friends said. He really gives you a lot of words of encouragement. He doesn't...he puts you down but well not in any way.. .he doesn't mean it. He's joking around and when it comes down to being serious he kind of lifts you up and gives your words of encouragement. Mary Jane felt that the whole reason she liked CAPP was because of Mr. Christie. She believed the teacher played "a really big role." Kea, on the other hand, talked about not being 78 able to relate to Mr. Christie, and how the teacher needed to talk about more than "him and his wife" in order to get at more real world aspects in CAPP. Most students at Pinetree tended to like the CAPP class but indicated that this was as a result of the teacher. Nava explained that, "I love CAPP. Everyone loves CAPP. A l l the kids, they all like CAPP. They say this class is fun and this class is hilarious. The subject here, it's awesome, they love it." Mary Jane said, "CAPP is a cool class," but she also noted, "Well I think the teacher's important, and I think Mr. Christie's funny and stuff.. .1 just like it because it's interesting, because I'm going to use what I learned and that's my favourite part about it." Kea, on the other hand, was not as satisfied with the CAPP program and vehemently declared his dislike for the course. He said, "...but it's just stuff that doesn't seem relevant to anything. Just doesn't seem relevant to anything important." Although Kea did acknowledge that there were some crucial things learned in CAPP, there was a very clear personality conflict between Kea and Mr. Christie that culminated in a public confrontation during my time at the school. Other students like Berwin found it hard to describe anything they liked about the course, and he particularly disliked the fact that it was mandatory. However, most of the students I spoke to agreed with Alexandra, who described herself as liking the course, but again the teacher was very central to her interest in the course. She said, "Yeah, I like CAPP, and he likes what he does." Mr. Christie had a clear idea about the purpose of CAPP in his school. "[It's] to prepare these kids for a job" and "It's a job getting course." Interestingly, Mr. Christie expressed a similar belief to the CAPP teachers at Oak Hil l , in that part of the role was to help Eastside kids know that they can be just as good as Westside kids. "I like to think that because we're here in an Eastside school, I'd like these kids to know that they can do just as 79 well as kids on the Westside schools with the right attitude. Don't go into things with a chip on your shoulder." Mr. Christie saw the role of CAPP as helping students to get their "foot in the door." Elmwood Secondary School - A Hybrid Approach The final school in this study was Elmwood, and this school provided a different view of CAPP delivery because it used a combination of the two approaches by holding both a career fair and a mini-course to meet the requirements of the CAPP curriculum. Homeroom teachers taught some CAPP activities and all the students attend a career fair for a half-day in second term. The career fair was smaller than the one at Cedar Valley, and the course offering was less formalized than the ones at Oak Hil l and Pinetree. In this study, Elmwood illustrated a third approach to CAPP. Elmwood Secondary was a smaller school with approximately 400 students. It was housed in a fairly new building on a large school grounds. This was a highly academic school located in a fairly affluent area of the city. The surrounding community has a relatively small number (10-14%) of low-income families (City of Vancouver Census, 2001). In my first introduction to the school, the principal was unavailable to meet with me so the CAPP Coordinator became my liaison at Elmwood. This was a school with a high level of student involvement; there were often members of the student government in the hallways selling foods, like donuts and sandwiches, over the lunch hour. This school had tried several different formats of CAPP, none of which seemed to satisfy the needs of teachers and students. CAPP was seen as somewhat irrelevant at Elmwood, as the majority of the students were expected to attend university and it was 80 through further education that these students were expected to find their way into their future careers. Ms. Brown was the CAPP teacher-leader who organized the CAPP curriculum at Elmwood. She was a relatively new teacher with only 6 years of experience, and like many new teachers she was assigned to teach a wide variety of courses such as English, Biology, Typing and Physical Education. She volunteered for the CAPP position when the regular' teacher took a leave ofabsence and there was a need for marks to be collated. Ms. Brown stepped in to fill the void, and as one of the new teachers on the block, she saw it as opportunity. Ms. Brown enjoyed the work so much that the following year, when the position became available, she applied and was given the job. She does, however, note that not many people wanted the position. "I'm a new teacher, thinking 'great let's go'for it.' So that's how I got into it, I applied for the position as the CAPP teacher-leader. And there we are, and I got it. Not a lot of people want that position." One of the primary functions of the CAPP teacher at Elmwood was to plan and organize the career fair. Ms. Black, an experienced French teacher and a willing volunteer for the CAPP program, assisted Ms. Brown in the organization of CAPP, helping to plan a variety of the CAPP activities that were part of the daily curriculum of the school. Ms. Brown described the CAPP program when she arrived at the school as focused on questionnaires that were given in homeroom classes that explored students thinking about what kinds of careers they would like to have, and the writing of resumes. She worked to change the CAPP program so that it involved both a career fair and individual grade packages that students completed during their advisory periods - which was time allotted in home room to discuss advising issues such as course planning (although she does note that 81 this was somewhat problematic as advisories often had a mix of students from different grades). This version was called CAPP-in-a-Box. The activities in the CAPP-in-a-Box workbook included lessons on writing resumes, cover letters, as well as exercises on personal and ethical issues. One such lesson asked students to describe and draw a picture of their personal support web. Other activities included word crosses, and information on volunteering and travelling. CAPP-in-a-Box also included guest speakers who would come in to introduce students to their careers. Students who had experienced this previous form of CAPP found it problematic because of the mixed grade advisories. This meant that students were completing different workbooks and had • different needs from a career education program, which some students found less useful for their learning. The Career Fair During my time at Elmwood, the CAPP program was centred on two aspects, the career fair and a new program called the Real Game Series. The Elmwood career fair was a half-day event that offered a variety of sessions for students to attend. There were a variety of professionals and educational organizations from the local community invited to speak, and students could choose from a range of sessions such as a discussion on careers in trades, to one that was called "What can you do with a B A ? " Other sessions included Visits from professionals or educators in the fields of communications, film and media, law enforcement, the fire department, travel and tourism, psychology, as well as a specialized session on writing a resume. The students chose three different sessions to attend in the early half of the day. In the afternoon the senior students played "capture the flag" while the junior students went back to their classes. Thus, half of the day for senior students was spent outside playing 82 a game akin to football. Ms. Black described the relationship of this activity to CAPP as helping students further their leadership skills, as they were responsible for all of the planning and running of the game. The Real Game Series The most significant CAPP activity at Elmwood was the Real Game Series. This program ran halfway through the year and was a role-playing program that was geared specifically towards Grades 9 to 11. The Grade 12 students were not included in this program; instead the school chose to use a course called Leadership 12 that required students to take a leadership role in the school community. In some cases, students were asked to assist teachers who were teaching CAPP for the younger grades and to be leaders in their classrooms. Other students helped to plan major school events like the career fair. For the rest of the students, the Real Game Series had students role-play the different pathways and gateways of a person's life. Some of the activities included discussions about the instability of the labour market, how to change jobs, and how to get job qualifications. The Real Game Series was seen as having more flexibility than the previous CAPP-in-a-Box, as there were lessons already prepared for teachers and options on the kinds of activities that the teachers could use, from role-plays, to real life scenarios. Ms. Black felt that these were the kinds of activities that teachers would feel less hostile towards. She had described her fellow teachers as being quite resistant to the former CAPP-in-a-Box version of career education in the school, particularly because of the lack of time and help teachers were given in order to implement the program. Both Ms. Black and Ms. Brown felt that the teachers liked the Real Game Series considerably more, but that part of this was due to help 83 from senior students who were playing leadership roles in the younger classes and were coming in and running some of the lessons. The Real Game Series was implemented during the mini-school program (a short course that was held weekly on Friday afternoons), where CAPP was covered over the second term for 12 hours in what were approximately 12 classes. These 12 classes included a variety of activities such as wellness days, the career fair, and what Ms. Black described as all of the extras, such as senior students attending various university and college presentations, and physical activities such as skiing at Whistler. Classroom Observations This was the school at which I had the least amount of access, due partly to the ways in which they offered the CAPP program, and the timing of my research. It was also due to the very busy nature of the school. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend one block of the twelve CAPP classes that were offered because of the timing of classes and limitations placed on me by the school. Many of the classes were already completed by the time I was allowed access to the school. As a result, I was able to attend the career fair, which took up the last few classes while I was at the school. The one CAPP class that I did attend was with a group of Grade 9 students. In this class the students looked at the day in the life of a particular professional. Each student had been assigned a particular career (for example, parole officer, a restaurant manager, or an architect), and given a monthly budget that included income and taxes. Students were asked to think about which aspects they liked, and did not like, about these jobs. Students were then asked to think about life as being in a state of transition, and what they might do if they were fired. The teacher then proceeded to "fire" a few students from 84 their current jobs. Students were asked to identify which of the skills listed on their professional identities were transferable to other jobs, and whether they saw themselves needing to get more education or whether they could get a job with the skills they already had. School was described as offering more choices, and a way not to get bored with the jobs they were given. When one student who was fired said, "I'm dead now -1 have mortgage payments," another student was glad when the lesson ended and screamed out, "Yea! We can be kids again." Student and Teacher Perceptions of CAPP I had greater difficulty recruiting students to interview in this school, mostly because of my lack of contact; I had to rely on the help of Ms. Brown, who was able to help me find three students, in each of Grades 10, 11 and 12. These students had some clear ideas about what they liked, or did not about the CAPP program. Emily was the most vocal about her dislike of the CAPP program. "CAPP is ineffective. It's difficult to require teenagers who generally don't know who they are to try and think about really difficult life decisions that may affect their future for years to come. It fails because it's also considered a waste of time." Emily believed that CAPP had a noble intent but that the way in which it was currently presented was ineffective. Georgia 1 3 also disliked the CAPP program at Elmwood. He called the program "bogus," and he felt that it was "kind of hard to have somebody tell you, this is what life is going to be like in the classroom, you have to go out and experience it." His opinion of the program was that "it was actually pretty bad." Karen, while not finding anything particular that she liked about the program, described it as just "ok," and that there 1 3 Georgia was a 17 year old male student in Grade 11 who chose a feminine pseudonym for himself. 85 was not much to like about it. She said, "I found really little because it was such a short term for CAPP." Both Ms. Brown and Ms. Black were aware that students tended not to like CAPP very much. Ms. Black, however, defended the program. "I think too that you hear all the negative. The people that are negative will say the negative things, right, very vocally. But I heard on various Fridays after CAPP, different teachers' rave about something that happened and like write it down so we know, so we can say this is for next year." One of the problems identified by Ms. Brown and Ms. Black was the ability to get some of the other teachers "on-board"; they felt that i f that could happen, the "kids would really get something out of it." It appeared that the teachers liked the Real Game Series. Both Ms. Brown and Ms. Black felt that it created an important community spirit in their school, as all of the students in the school were working on CAPP at the same time, with the Grade 12's mentoring the younger students through the Leadership 12 course. However, the students are not yet embracing the program. Both Ms. Black and Ms. Brown saw the program as helping students to prepare for later life by giving them options, helping students to develop plans, as well as contingency plans in case things did not work out. Summary The preceding was a description of how CAPP was instituted in each of these four schools, with some descriptions of what the curriculum entailed, as well as what the students' thought of the program and some of the basic goals of the teachers. Traditionally, career education has mostly been considered a positive thing, but with few questions asked about the ideological roots of such a curriculum. My study attempts to shed light on questions such as whose interests are being served by career education, and whose values are being taught? 86 From my discussions with the VSB CAPP coordinator, on-timetable courses were the most common form of career education in high schools, with other activities such as career fairs, course planning and Career Preparation playing a secondary role. Career programs like CAPP are built around the premise that "young people should conduct their search and choice in a methodical, reasoned manner" (Sheppard & Shoop, 2003, p. 231). My findings from the four schools in my study indicated that there was a great deal of variability in what career education was offering. In some cases students were encouraged to think about careers, but were not really provided with the tool in which to search or choose what it is they wanted to be when they finished high school. In other schools, students were encouraged to think about jobs they could get now, but not really about future careers unless they required postsecondary education. Courses, Sheppard and Shoop (2003) argue, are supposed to help students in the process of acquiring, synthesizing, evaluating and reducing the array of job possibilities. But each of the schools had a different idea of what a course should be doing in order to help students think about their futures, and the teachers and coordinators had a great deal of influence on the focus of the courses. At Oak Hil l , the course covered a great deal of personal planning aspects as well as some job skills, whereas at Pinetree, the course contained a great deal of 'real world' and behavioural aspects that would lead to 'good' deportment. At Elmwood, the course was supposed to be a simulation of the work world to which students seemed to have a difficult time connecting. The career fairs in this study offered a great deal of variety around the kind of activities that were being offered, although some of the most popular sessions and activities had very little to do with finding or choosing a career. Both Cedar Valley and Elmwood 87 offered students the opportunity to do sporting activities like skiing or capture the flag. The career fairs became a stop out time; they were different from the daily working of the school and thus, it was difficult to hold students' interests. Course planning became an important factor in two of the schools (Cedar Valley and Oak Hill). In these cases, course planning was the place where students had to make immediate decisions in order to plan out their academic program for the following year. There was immediacy for students in course planning where they were required to know what they wanted to do next or risk shutting off options to certain postsecondary institutions and programs. Course planning in both of these instances involved looking at university calendars in order to make decisions about the kinds of courses needed for particular academic programs. Pyne and Bernes (2002) suggest that we need more programs like CAPP in order to help students understand what it means to have a career and an occupation. They argue that courses like CAPP need to happen at even earlier grades. The reaction of the students in my study, however, was quite mixed. What students liked about CAPP (or did not like) was quite variable. For example, students at Cedar Valley liked that it was a break from the regular academic grind, whereas students at Pinetree really liked the role of the teacher and the ways in which he was perceived to be offering 'real world' skills. Students at Elmwood and Oak Hil l were much more negative in their assessments of CAPP, as they saw it as repetitive or unnecessary for the kinds of future pathways they saw themselves as having. Almost uniformly across the schools, teachers saw the programs as useful and important, while their students were much more critical of the kinds of offerings and whether they saw what they were learning as relevant to their own lives. The teachers played an 88 important role in the unique nature of the CAPP programs at each school. Each of the teachers and coordinators brought their own understandings of what career education should offer to the students. My findings also highlight that each school had distinctive aspects, such as the career workbooks at Oak Hi l l , the CAPP Nuggets at Pinetree, the Grads from the Past at Cedar Valley and the Real Game Series at Elmwood. There were, however, some interesting contradictory messages. For example, the pedagogy at some schools did not match the kinds of posters on the walls or the messages received from school wide assemblies. Still, there is very little research on the implications of career education courses beyond a listing of what instructional strategies students preferred (Bloxom & Bernes, 2003; Thompson & Hartley, 2000), and very little analysis of what might make it useful or not for students. The next chapter takes a closer look at two of the prominent discourses about career and job preparation and how they reproduce particular understandings of what to do after high school, illustrating how ideology permeates the delivery and teaching of CAPP. 89 CHAPTER 4 - TWO CONTRASTING DISCOURSES: UNIVERSITY PREPARATION AND JOB PREPARATION The aim of this chapter is to provide a discourse analysis of the CAPP curriculum and to look at what emerged as two significant discourses embedded in the courses and career fairs that made up the various versions of the Vancouver CAPP program. Understanding the discourses embedded in the CAPP programs opens up discussion about how students come to know about career education and to form and be formed by teachers and curricular expectations of what it means to obtain a career. This chapter explores the two significant discourses within the CAPP program, that of university preparation and of job preparation. My analysis of these discourses looks at the intersectionality of the themes that emerged in my research data. If we can develop an understanding of how and where discourses of career education are formed, it is then possible to work towards shifting how we understand career education in schools (Lesko, 2001). Both university preparation and job preparation represent a particular outlook held by schools and teachers with respect to the purpose of career education for their students. The ways in which these discourses played out was influenced greatly by perceptions of socioeconomic status (Willis, 1977). If the CAPP program was offering only limited options to students about what to do post high school, what does this tell us about how schools are influencing students' understandings of what it means to have a career and to become adults? The first section of this chapter explores the ways in which these two discourses work in opposition to each other. The following sections start to unpack the university preparation discourse found at Cedar Valley and Elmwood, the job preparation discourse found at Pinetree, and the hybrid discourse that emerged at Oak Hil l . The purpose of this chapter is to 90 speak to the ways in which these discourses are reproducing the social class expectations of students based on the teachers' assumptions about trajectories post high school. Contrasting and Oppositional Discourses As I started to analyze what was happening in these four schools in regards to CAPP, it became clear that teachers and students have two main expectations of trajectory post high school. What emerged in my data was a discursive positioning of students in a space that either put them on track to go to university - from which a career is seen as inevitable, or into a job - that was not seen as a route to a career but rather a next phase of life for high school students. Evans and Heinz (1994) describe this process in terms of transitions, in which the school to work transitions of youth tends to typically be one of four streams, 1) the academic mainstream, leading towards higher education, training and education, and professional occupations, 2) training and education leading to skilled employment, 3) other forms of education and training leading to semi-skilled employment and 4) early labour market experience of unskilled jobs, unemployment and short-term remedial training schemes (p. 148). These four categories can be collapsed to two main routes: students are expected either to go to further education, or to go to work. The work of Andres (1993) highlights the increasing influence of credentials on the choice to go to postsecondary education for Canadian students transitioning from high school. The discourse of university preparation that I found in the schools is representative of this trend. The transition from high school is perhaps one of the most significant life events for adolescents (Andres, Anisef, Krahn, Looker & Thiessen 1999; Chisholm & Du Bois-Reymond, 1993; Wyn & White, 1997). In my study this transition was often presented as a binary of either going to further education or getting a job, with one pathway being 91 privileged over the other. Binaries often work to construct complex classification systems that help us make sense of the world (Foucault, 1970; St Pierre & Pillow, 2000). Within these binaries, meanings often become fixed because only two choices are offered. Part of my analysis seeks to reveal how the meanings associated with going to university or getting a job became fixed in career education classrooms. University preparation and job preparation were often positioned as oppositional to each other. As Marsh (2000) points out, using Derrida's (1967; 1974) notion of binary, these opposites are used to make sense of the world (See also Davies, 1997). These binaries are apparent when examining the university preparation discourse at Cedar Valley and Elmwood, and the job preparation discourse at Pinetree. In contrast, Putnam (2001) suggests that rather than reinforcing polarities and binaries, it makes more sense to highlight the tensions between shifting voices or ideologies found in spaces like the CAPP curriculum. These shifting voices became ever more apparent at Oak Hil l in which there was a greater interplay between the two discourses. Fraser (1989) found oppositional discourses in her exploration of welfare policy, noting the malleability of the language in the construction of these oppositions and the fact that these oppositions often go unchallenged. She argues that oppositions occur when hegemonic discourses are challenged from within. While I am not suggesting that the university and job preparation discourses in the CAPP program challenge the hegemonic structure of schools, I will later argue that students displayed some resistance to being positioned by these discourses in fixed ways. It is, however, important to examine these discourses as providing limited routes for students post high school and thus operating hegemonically in career education classrooms (Kincheloe, 1995). In the CAPP curricula, students either need to go to university, or get a job. Even when there is tension between the 92 discourses, such as was found at Oak Hil l , there is still a very clear pathway that is privileged based on social class expectations. University preparation includes the discussions and language around preparing students for postsecondary education. University is a particular space or location that is influenced by structural aspects such as social class, race, gender, sexuality and ability (Giroux, 1997). University preparation also includes colleges and institutes that students are encouraged to pursue. Within the discourse of university preparation, teachers and students speak of the large social capital acquired through this pathway (Bourdieu, 1990). College was noted as a postsecondary destination but university was the first choice of the majority of teachers and students when they talked about postsecondary options. For students, job preparation stood in opposition to university. This discourse stressed the importance of providing students with "real world" skills or sometimes "life skills" that would help them to get jobs and to become contributing members of society immediately after completing high school. Job referred to a particular kind of paid employment, one that was introductory to the labour market and not regarded as a sustainable career option: Social class becomes an important link to this understanding of job because, as Wyn and White (1997) point out, the majority of young people who finish high school and enter the labour market tend to find low-skilled, short-term and often dead-end jobs. In CAPP, I found there were marked differences in teachers' expectations of students heading for jobs compared with those who were expected to enter into postsecondary education. Many of the CAPP teachers had strong sensibilities regarding where students were headed (i.e. either to university or to work). Schools, under Ministry of Education guidelines, were supposed to be teaching about careers and future possibilities. There were primarily two 93 pathways presented as possible in the schools. This leads to the main question of this chapter: In what ways are these pathways ideological, hegemonic and reproducing class structures in schools? To answer Bove's (1990) questions: where are the discourses found and how are they produced and regulated, each of the following sections detail the ways in which each of these discourses was enacted in the CAPP programs and talked about by teachers and students. Unpacking University Preparation The idea that schools should be preparing students for further education is not a new one. Research by Krahn (1991) suggests that Canadian youth are staying in school for longer periods of time. His study from the late 1980s found that 77% of high school graduates in three major Canadian cities chose to continue their education. Wyn and White (1997) suggest that for many Canadians, education has become a drawn out process wherein the majority prolong their education because educational credentials offer a point of entry into what they describe as the "primary labour market of professional, well-paid and relatively secure jobs" (p. 106). A n American study by Hurley and Thorpe (2002) found that the majority of high school juniors believed they were headed towards four year college degrees, while only six percent of students surveyed thought that they were going straight to work. This study, while acknowledging that it is American based, points out the dominant expectation that all students should attend some kind of postsecondary education. In this study, university preparation was the dominant discourse, as evident in the curriculum materials, teaching strategies and teacher and student interviews. 94 Cedar Valley CAPP curriculum at Cedar Valley, as was described in the previous chapter, was primarily based on a career fair system. The career fair at Cedar Valley was an example of the university preparation discourse because of the content of the career fair (a large number of speakers were from local postsecondary institutions) and the temporal nature of the activity (Dykeman et al., 2003); a one-time offering meant to peak the interests of students about particular kinds of careers by offering visitors from local institutions. This approach was found in the schools where the emphasis was on career education for further education; introducing students to career possibilities so they could plan their future postsecondary needs. Another aspect of university preparation found in the career fair was that a large number of the careers represented in the sessions had college or university prerequisites. Moreover, many of the career fair sessions revolved around introducing students to different university recruiters whose intent it was to encourage high school students to attend their institutions (Bloxom & Bernes, 2003). In my observations at Cedar Valley, it became clear that the career fair was particularly geared towards occupations requiring a university education. In sessions with local university students and professors about how to get into their particular programs, the Cedar Valley program presented students with specific career options that required university training. This structural influence on students' transition choices was noted in several key pieces of research, including the work of Wyn and White (1997), and Anisef and Axelrod, ' (1993). 'Careers' are positioned as the best destination or goal and any other destination becomes subordinate. In that silence in the curriculum, students learn what the preferred route to adulthood is through university, and that other choices are seen as second best. 95 There were many spaces within the Cedar Valley career fair in which the university preparation discourse was evident. For example, one of the best-attended sessions invited graduates from the past to come and speak to the senior students about their experiences post high school. Almost all of the five panellists talked about going on to postsecondary education, with only one panellist choosing a more unconventional route of attending a specialized private airplane pilot school. During this session the teacher/moderator asked the room of approximately 50-60 students, all in Grade 12, to raise their hands if they planned to go to university after high school. A l l but 13 students put up their hands. The teacher then proceeded to ask those few students who did not plan to go to university to explain what they planned to do. Five of those students said they planned to go to local colleges like Langara, another five students described themselves as not wanting to go to school at all, indicating that they would most likely choose to travel - a choice that often just delays attending postsecondary. Of all of the students in the room, only three identified themselves as not knowing what they wanted to do upon graduating from high school. In this discussion those students became the 'other' as any choice besides university was outside the norm. In this instance, university becomes ideological; it is the normative understanding of what all individuals must do after high school (Giroux, 2002). The expectation of attending university dominated this session, and many of the questions asked of the panel revolved around the costs of university, and the grade expectations. This was just one example of how the university preparation discourse was enacting itself at Cedar Valley. The other curricular aspect in which the discourse of university preparation became central was the use of course planning as a CAPP activity. Cedar Valley Secondary used its in-class CAPP hours to do course planning with students. The Grade 10 CAPP classes I 96 attended were run by Ms. Smith, the Grade 10 guidance counsellor, who helped students plan their courses for Grades 11 and 12. At Cedar Valley, CAPP has become a large part of what guidance counsellors do. In these classes, students were given the opportunity to look at postsecondary school calendars and were encouraged to decide upon university programs, and then to make sure they were signing up for the proper courses in their Grade 11 and 12 years. Students spent a great deal of time asking questions about what was needed to get into university, and the various routes that one could take to get there. Those students who were concerned about low grades were encouraged to think about using the local colleges as a route into university. This has become a common strategy in B C for those students who do not achieve high grades. Andres (2001) found in her study that students were encouraged to take one or two years at a college and then to transfer into university. Interestingly, one of the major concerns that appeared to influence students' "potential" career choices was the number of years it would take to complete the necessary postsecondary degree, as well as the number of years heeded to begin working in that chosen career. Here a temporal issue emerged as a significant element for choosing a career, as students were gauging how long they would have to spend in postsecondary education in order to be trained for particular careers. Several of the students from Cedar Valley, a primarily middle class school, wanted to know how much university time they would have to put in to get a professional degree, and they were not at all concerned with the urgency of finding employment. Many of the teachers at Cedar Valley based their understanding of the career preparation needs of their students on perceptions of the neighbourhood and its social class. Social class is one of several significant influences on how we come to know our social 97 world (Gaskell, 1992). While it is difficult and problematic to separate out social class from other social conditions, the language of class and neighbourhood was used by the teachers at this school to represent why CAPP was offered in particular ways (Wyn & White, 1997; Davies, 1993). For example, Ms. Jones described her students as being primarily steered towards university preparation. I think in this neighborhood, most of them are expected to go on to university. Some sort of postsecondary. Do they know what they want to take there? No. I don't think so. I think some, again, there are a few that are very, very clear but I think they were clear before they took CAPP. It was assumed that because this school was located on the "Westside" of Vancouver, these students were most likely to want to go to university, or their parents would make them choose that route. Ms. Smith, the Cedar Valley Guidance Counsellor, also referred to the geographic influences. If it's not university, it's college. It's something. I mean, this community has high expectations of their kids to go to higher education. I would say very few go straight to work. There are some who go traveling for a while with the idea of coming back to school. I can't give you a number, but it's huge. Every year, like my last Grade 12 class 2 years ago, and it's just phenomenal. The teachers at Cedar Valley expected that their students were heading towards a university education. This reference to class was also raised in the work of White and van der Velden (1995), who examined the relationship between social class and perceptions of criminality. They spoke about the ways in which perceptions of social class can lead to lowered social expectations for students. Most of the students articulated a sense that they were supposed to go to university. Vanessa, a Grade 10 student, expressed a clear preference for the university route, not really caring about which university she would attend, as long as she was able to get into one. "I 98 have no idea which university to go to, or college. I don't know. Hopefully I ' ll get into university." For Dim Sum 1 4 , also a Grade 10 student, it was likewise very clear that he would go to university. He spoke about his choices in terms of a hierarchy of educational options. "I want to go to university. Yeah, I think that's going to be my first choice and if that doesn't work out, college. And if that doesn't work out then going and looking for a job. Going and looking for a job if everything else fails." Dim Sum also expressed a desire to go to an American university (specifically Harvard) because it would offer him more prestige than a Canadian university. Both of these students outlined a similar hierarchy of postsecondary institutions. Vanessa wondered i f college was where those students who were not successful ended up. "I always thought that college was for people that weren't as decided. Isn't that true? Or is college for people who don't graduate?" Nancy, another of the Grade 10 students, made a clear connection between CAPP and university preparation as she said, "It helps you get into university which will help you get a career. So then you can sort of pursue it more long in university." For many of the students at Cedar Valley, an important aspect of CAPP was helping them to figure out which university was the most appropriate for their interests. Mike talked about his other classes where teachers also emphasize university preparation. "And she just talks to us about universities and what we're going to do. What careers we are going to go into and stuff like that." For Mike, U B C was his university of choice. "It seems to be a good school from what I hear. It is just something I've always planned to do." This is similar to what Hurley and Thorpe (2002) found in their study. While many students cannot explain why they have chosen to go university, they often cannot imagine why they would choose not to go. Grayson (1999) 1 4 Students chose their own pseudonyms. 99 reminds us that students' socioeconomic status and parental education has a great deal to do with students' desires to attend a postsecondary institution. While most of the Grade 10 students referred to attending university as a foregone conclusion, for one Grade 11 student, Galadrial, attending university was not her goal. She described the difficulty she faced in challenging the norms, and how she began to understand that maybe she did not want to go to university. ".. .now I'm not going to go to university, I'm going to go to college and do something completely different." While Galadrial understood that she could choose a career that did not involve university, at the same time she talked about the pressure she experienced from her teachers about keeping that option open. She described how a teacher encouraged her to keep an advanced placement English course in her timetable for Grade 12 so that she would still have the possibility of going to university. Yeah, and like for me I was like recommended into AP English next year and I wasn't sure i f I wanted to take it because I didn't want to add too much to my load considering I wasn't going to go to university. And I had some people talk me back into it, so I'm going to do that and I think it will be good, and it will definitely, even i f I don't go, I mean I write a lot, it's a really good skill to have. While Galadrial understood that college would probably be a better choice in terms of her career aspirations, she also saw the value of the English course as keeping her options open in case she changed her mind and did decide to go to university. The university preparation discourse dominated the CAPP program of Cedar Valley; as evidenced by the teachers' expectations of their students and in the students' understandings of how to make choices about their lives after high school. Although as Galadrial's story illustrated, there was some resistance to this hegemony. The career fair model at Cedar Valley, together with course planning sessions, helped to reinforce the 100 worldview that university was the best route to a future for the students who attended this school. Elmwood Secondary School Elmwood Secondary was the other Westside school which had a career fair as part of its CAPP offerings. This school demonstrated similar expectations regarding university preparation in the curriculum and in teacher and student interviews. The career fair, although a much smaller version than the one at Cedar Valley, offered similar sessions on a variety of career and job opportunities - most of which required postsecondary education. This discourse was also evident in my classroom observations and in the interviews with the CAPP teachers and students. At the Elmwood career fair, I attended two sessions; Careers in the Trades and What you can do with a B.A.? The differences between these career fair sessions offered an important vantage point with which to examine the university preparation discourse. The Careers in the Trades session was a fairly well attended session, with approximately 20-25 students in the room. The guest speakers, both tradespersons working for the VSB, talked about a perceived shortage of skilled tradespersons. They urged students to consider that this was a good time to become involved in the trades as technology was always changing and developing and, as a result, trades would be a challenging career. They spent some time outlining the route a student could take in order to become involved in the trades. However, when the students in the classroom were asked how many would consider the trades as their future careers, very few students put up their hands. The two guest speakers changed gears at this point, pointing out how trades were a good basis for later university study because they could help students to raise the money in order to go to university. At this moment, in this 101 session, trades were presented as a stepping-stone to something else, a chance not to stagnate after high school. Furthermore, the presenter encouraged students to think about the "skills" that that they could learn from trades that would be transferable to university, such as computer skills and mathematics. In contrast to the session on trades as a career, the session on What can you do with a BA? was very well attended, with close to 40 students in the classroom. When asked if they wanted to go to university, the majority of students put up their hands. Of this group, five wanted to go to U B C , one to a school in the US, as well as several other students who expressed interest in various other Canadian universities. Many of the students who attended this session asked the guest speakers how they might use the B A as a springboard into other professional programs like medicine, law and economics. The speakers spent a great deal of time pointing out the kinds of jobs that students can get with a B A . Interestingly, this discussion positioned the B A as an extension of career exploration, a way to help students to determine their career paths. "Why choose the arts? It is a good place for those students who don't know what to do. They can do research and talk to people in the field." Students in this session wanted to know what kinds of jobs they could get with a BA, and the speakers offered a long list of options including: desktop publishing, technical writing, educational programming, policy analysis, grant and proposal writing, publishing, urban planning, financial services, marketing and sales, fundraising, publicity and promotions, organizing other people (volunteers), website design, corporate communications and social services delivery. The speaker encouraged students to think about a B A as a way to build skills "during university because it's hard to get a job." Some of the key skills that these presenters outlined included oral and written communication, creative problem solving, 102 research and analysis, adaptability and flexibility, intercultural awareness, and technology skills. In this example, university becomes a place in which students are prepared to become workers. In both career fair examples, university was positioned as the ideal pathway to getting a career. For the session on trades this was demonstrated in the way in which the presenter switched gears to talk about how trades could lead into a university education, whereas the session on getting a B A talked about the use of a degree to gain employability skills. Grayson (1999) argues that some students are predisposed to going to university, particularly if their parents had attended university. The career fair sessions at Elmwood appeared to have this presupposition both in the topics offered to students and in the ways in which the presenters tailored their discussions to the student body. Along with the career fair, the CAPP on-timetable classes illustrated the dominance of university preparation. While I only had the opportunity to see one class at this school, the class I did attend was very illuminating. Ms. Brown, the CAPP coordinator and teacher, was teaching a CAPP class to a group of Grade 8 students. The purpose of the lesson was to practice writing resumes, and to think about the transient nature of work. Jobs in this lesson were described as being in a state of transition, because workers might get fired, and lives might change. When the teacher asked the students whether they would go to college or university, more than half raised their hands. The teacher then continued her lesson, indicating that education and training were important because losing a job was a scary process and that sometimes you had to go back to school to get more training in order to change jobs. 103 While the lesson was specifically looking at transitions, along with the idea of getting married and having children, going back to school to learn something else was emphasized. While the intricacies of the labour market were explored in this classroom, the only option offered to students about how to deal with labour market instability was to go back to school. Students were encouraged to consider transferable skills, what skills were needed to make these transitions possible, and how upgrading education was a good way in which to gain more skills. The lesson that Ms. Brown was teaching included several activities. The students were given a circle worksheet, representing the circle of life. In five-year segments, students had to describe their future. In this circle, students were to designate when they started primary school, when they started high school, where they were now, what age they would be in college, university or training, what age they would leave home, what age they would have children, and what age their children would be when they left home. Students were also encouraged to include things like traveling and job loss. Significantly, going straight to work after finishing high school was not presented as a next step in the sequence of events, although going back to school for more training was included. In the students' worksheets, university was given a significant chunk of time on the lifelines, with the teacher encouraging students to allow enough time for the kinds of programs they might be interested in attending or if they might want to return to school at another stage in their lives. One of the interesting parts of my observation in this classroom was the material posted on the classroom wall. Several students had made posters that described some of the successful people in careers, listing all the different careers people could have in law, science, dealing with money, sports, business, services and self-employment. The meaning of 104 success was also illustrated in the posters. Making lots of money, being happy, working hard, achieving dreams, having a job you like and getting paid well, having a dream, being organized and doing your best in any situation, having a good financial life and attaining a high social rank were listed as ways of thinking about success. These posters illustrated how this group of students was thinking about their future roles as workers. How the Elmwood teachers spoke about their students also reflected a university preparation model of career education as the dominant orientation. I spoke with two teachers in a joint interview: Ms. Brown, the career fair organizer and CAPP teacher for the junior grades, and Ms. Black, a more senior CAPP teacher who focused more on the older CAPP students (specifically those in Grade l l ) . 1 5 Both of the teachers described Elmwood students as being quite driven. And with our Applied Skills 8 class, one of the little hobbies they write about is where do you see yourself 5 years from now, 10 or 15 years from now? And there was this huge majority who figured they were going to be in an Ivy League college in the States. And I don't know. They're pretty driven Grade 8's. As Ms. Black continued to think about the trajectory of her students, she noted that students still had four more years to think about career and adulthood, which is the span a normal bachelor's degree takes to achieve. Here again perceptions of social class were important, and the students were viewed as driven by academics and driven towards a certain trajectory. Not only were students heading towards university, they were assumed to be heading towards elite institutions. 1 5 Interestingly, Ms. Black pointed out that the Grade 12 students were exempt from much of the CAPP program because they were considered to need more time to focus on their academics and it was assumed that they had already made decisions about postsecondary and what they wanted to do for their careers. 105 Ms. Brown also talked about the high achieving nature of the school, noting that the majority of students were heading to university. Is it 90%? It's very high for university and the rest, some will go to colleges and then some don't have plans to go on. Some of them just have such high skills in technology or whatever, that they just get a job right out. They're working right away so. Some of the kids were making more in the summer than our salary was during the year. Ms. Brown also referred to those students who were not going to university as heading into extremely lucrative jobs such as the high tech industry where they could succeed without formal education because of either family connections or an aptitude with technology. The presumption of social class was again apparent in this understanding of the student population. Those students from a higher socioeconomic status are expected to achieve more and to attend university (Grayson, 1999; White & van der Velden, 1995). Like the teachers, the students also spoke about university as the primary pathway from high school. For Emily, a senior student, the purpose of the career fair was to guide students towards postsecondary education. Yep, the best sessions always get filled up fast, the fastest. So one of the professions I remember was like law enforcement. That was ok, but it's also nice because in that session I realized that law enforcement was not the path I choose to take. It was all right, people bring in like, visuals and sometimes graphs and everyone likes to talk about money but it's usually not the most important aspect of it. Other ones that I went to, Psychology is one that was really interesting. The fields of psychology, it seems like there's space for what you want to do, and there's also, in this school especially, there's a very heavy emphasis on postsecondary either at U B C or other schools and so it's all sort of focused on what you can take in university and what you need from university to go on to being a lawyer or doctor or psychologist or like a radio host or an actress. Emily was keen to share her experience of the CAPP program and the ways in which CAPP was influencing students in her school. At the time of the interview she had already been accepted to an American liberal arts college. She understood that the primary function of her 106 school and the CAPP program was to help students get ready for further education. "Elmwood High is excellent for preparing you for university, but I don't know what else they could do. I guess just, they make schools in all of Canada seem very.. .they help you fly to university a bit more." Georgia also talked about the inevitability of going to university and his family's role in making that decision. When asked if he was going to university, he responded, "Yeah, yeah definitely, because I think just's accepted in my family that I'm going to university, and that's probably what I want to do but at the same time it's not really fair to people who don't and it would be nice to know about other options too." Georgia also talked about the role of the school and teachers in urging students to head towards university. Well, in terms of just pushing you to get into college or university. They basically assume that everyone wants to go on to university. If I went to my teacher and said I don't want to go to university, they'd look at me and go, what are you talking about? So they kind of steer me in that direction and I don't know, my friends, they all have mixed opinions. I tell them about what I'm thinking about and some of them are like, yeah you want to go into music, you've got talent, that's good. And some of them go why, you're really smart you can be a doctor, or something. Georgia felt that Elmwood Secondary did a very good job preparing students to go into postsecondary, but offered very little for those students who wanted other occupations like piano tuning or logging. This singular focus on student trajectories was something that disturbed Georgia. Actually the one criticism that I would have too, of this school in particular, because it's a brainy school so it's got a lot of...most people want to go into university. But then you talk to people in the halls and there's a lot of people like, I'm not going to U B C . I'm just going...I know one guy who's graduating this year and becoming a piano tuner, and there's another one that went into logging. Not all the people are just going off to U B C and I think this school in particular prepares you more for U B C and not so much life in general. 107 While Georgia was particularly critical of the way his school was pushing students towards university education, he also described his career choices as law, physiotherapy or pharmacy, which were clearly university oriented pathways. While Georgia talked about the kinds of subjects he would be able to dabble in while at university, he also understood that only 5% of students from his school would not go to university after completing their high school education at Elmwood. This was not that much different from the teachers who saw the number as closer to 10%. Georgia's resistance to the construction of university as a singular pathway is important to note here. While he saw himself as wanting to attend university, he acknowledged that this position could be problematic and "othering" for some students. Although, while Georgia understood the fixed way in which university is structured, he did not see himself as choosing an alternate pathway, and significantly, all of his career choices have postsecondary requirements. Karen, who was the youngest of the three students at Elmwood, wanted CAPP to teach even more about universities and what was needed to get into them. For Karen, CAPP was preparing students for arts or sciences (the only two options she saw available to students at universities). She felt that CAPP needed to do more to address her questions about what she could take at university, how long the programs would be, and what she would need to take in high school in order to be accepted into a university. Karen expressed a belief that she would need a university education. "I just feel I need to go to university because high school just isn't enough. Because I find there is so much more out there that I do need to learn." This statement is an interesting contrast to Karen's career interests, as she would like to be a baker. She did not comment on how a university education might lead her in a different path from that career choice (Anisef & Axelrod, 1993). For Karen, university was a 108 necessity to the extent that she was unwilling to consider a baking program at college as an alternative. University had a very structural reality for Karen. Regardless of her career choice, she saw a university education as a necessary step in her life course. This speaks to the ways in which university was constructed for some students as fixed pathways. This pathway was reinforced by the school curriculum and teachers, as well as by other dominant social institutions in society such as the family and the labour market that expect workers to have a degree. This detailed look at both Cedar Valley and Elmwood Secondary schools served to highlight how, for these two schools, university preparation discourse dominated and permeated the curriculum, the teachers' expectations of students, how the students saw themselves in the future and their experiences of the CAPP program. The dominance of university preparation is not surprising, as I came in with the expectation of seeing evidence of this discourse. What surprised me was the extent to which some of the students were critical of the privileging of university, but also the ways in which they felt they had to conform to that role based on school and teacher expectations as well as that of their parents. Job Preparation at Pinetree Secondary The language around job preparation has become increasingly important as high schools are looked upon as places to learn skills for students who are not headed to postsecondary education. The concept of a life skill is an important term in the rhetoric around job preparation, as many Canadian provinces have taken up the language around skills and life skills as a career education initiative (Butterwick & Benjamin, 2006; Griffith, 1988). Life skills are thought to be those aptitudes that a person has that aids in successful navigation of the social world. Stuart Conger (1981), a key figure in the development of life 109 skills curriculum in Canada, defines life skills as "the utilization of appropriate and responsible problem-solving behaviours in the management of personal affairs" (p. 305). More recently, life skills (and along with them employability skills) are based on the belief that there are generic or core skills all workers must have, regardless of their specific jobs or work contexts, to survive in the new economy (Butterwick & Benjamin, 2006). The notion of life skills permeates the job preparation discourse because the language of skills has become so central to the CAPP curriculum in some schools. The teachers in this study from the schools in which job preparation was dominant spoke about the skills students needed to learn and students also identified skills as something they needed to learn. The history of life skills in schools is not unproblematic. Alison Griffith (1988) explored the rhetoric around life skills she found in Ontario schools arguing that the public education system tended to use life skills as "an ideological process embedded in administrative concerns about student 'attitudes' and student 'discipline'" (p. 198). From her perspective, life skills in schools are a set of understandings, which organize individuals' lives in relation to the labour process. In other words life skills are part of teachers' vocabulary, illustrating how they view what is relevant to students and what is a perceived gap in the regular curriculum. This is particularly salient for those students who are presumed to be lacking, such as students from lower socioeconomic areas. Mr. Christie was a prominent figure in the story of CAPP at Pinetree.16 When introduced to Mr. Christie and his CAPP classroom, he very specifically informed me that his 1 6 The prominence of Mr. Christie in my discussions reflects an important influence on my data collection. One of the reasons was that I spent the greatest amount of time observing in his classroom. Another important aspect represented an important dilemma about how to tell his story. There were aspects of this teacher's pedagogy that I did not personally agree with and yet at the same time he was a very popular and important teacher to his students. In my treatment of Mr. Christie I try to show both his pedagogy and some of the more troubling aspects of his role as teacher, while at the same time allowing for the possibility that students were learning important lessons from him. 110 course was much more about "real world skills" and not about university and college preparation. Somewhat ironically, the CAPP class was held in Mr. Christie's geography classroom and his walls were decorated by posters that talked about the kinds of careers students could get with a geography degree, all of which would have required some sort of college or university training. But of all of the teachers, Mr. Christie had the clearest vision 1 that what his students really needed were the skills of how to get a job. For Mr. Christie, the aim of the course was "to prepare these kids for a job. It's not to prepare them for university. It's not to prepare them for going to any other schools. It's a job-getting course. Whether it's the career they're going to have in seven years or a part-time job they're going to have on Friday. It's a job-getting course." The purpose of the CAPP class at Pinetree reflected a very work-oriented understanding of what students were supposed to be taking with them from a career education classroom. Mr. Christie was determined to teach students that they could do anything they set their minds to when it came to getting jobs. He talked about the kinds of skills and attitudes that he thought students would need to know in order to get jobs. One of the essential skills, he felt, was confidence. "It's important that they know they can do it. It's important to know that the future is something they've got control of and if they can just have the 'I can' attitude, they can do just about anything." The right attitude was very important in this classroom. In many ways, this construction of CAPP was very much about fostering social capital, and providing students with the key attitudes and dispositions needed to be successful in the workforce (Bourdieu, 1990; Bowles & Gintis, 1976). Mr. Christie worked to foster social capital in his students when he described the kinds of dispositions and behaviours he wanted to teach his students. "I want them to be 111 groomed properly, physically, and attitudinally. They've got to have that 'can do' attitude." In a study of the CAPP curriculum, Hyslop-Margison (2000) found that the term '"skills' employs a discursive move or language error; in reality, what is listed for the most part is not a set of skills, but rather a map of attitudes, values, dispositions and beliefs" (p. 9). These attitudes were something that Mr. Christie believed important to foster in students. For example, in one class, Mr. Christie told his students that work should be fun and less of a job and more like recreation. At the same time he told students that those who were not working were couch potatoes and the result would be to have an "ass this size," and that it was important to "get off your butt and exercise your body." Mr. Christie also viewed CAPP as preparing students for the adult world, something that he saw parents as not doing. This finding was evidence of a deficit model that was constructed in this classroom that saw the role of the teacher as filling up students with missing information. Although Mr. Christie said that he believed in his students, at the same time he saw his job as making up for the aspects that were lacking in their home lives. Nancy Lesko (2001) argues that adolescents are often positioned as having deficits and not having the characteristics society requires, hence the emphasis on the transition to adulthood. This orientation is an interesting counter to university preparation, which was much more focused on helping students to decide which university career paths were available and leading to the best careers for students. Hyslop-Margison (2000) points out that the rationale provided for the inclusion of these perceived lacking skills includes no substantive moral argument as to why certain attitudes (like a positive attitude toward change) are important. 112 The focus on job preparation and the language around life skills was particularly evident in those schools on the Eastside of Vancouver and in Mr. Christie's classroom. He believed that CAPP should teach the life skills that would help students to become adults. Not to be afraid to go out there. Once they're past high school, once the bells have stopped ringing. CAPP kind of gives them in some ways some armour and some weapons to go out into an adult world and operate as adults. CAPP is a good guide. It's almost like Preparation 8, which is a course to help kids from the transition from elementary school to Grade 8 because they need this transition. CAPP is helping with that transition. Some parents don't prep kids at all, absolutely no preparation. They don't even talk about what's to do next year. The kids are leading the parents. So I'm just helping the kids, all of them. Mr. Christie pointed to the necessity of the CAPP curriculum if the students were passing that information on to their parents. At one point in the interview, Mr. Christie pointed out that many of his students were going home and teaching their own parents the job skills they had learned in the classroom. Thus, he saw his role as not only teaching his students but passing his knowledge on to families, which coincided with Mr. Christie's belief that the majority of his students came from an immigrant population which he described as "good solid Eastside." An interesting aspect of Mr. Christie's curriculum, where life skills and a deficit model became central, was the "CAPP nugget." The nuggets reflected Mr. Christie's belief that his students lacked the life skills that they were supposed to be getting at home. From table manners, to choosing a suit, to sewing a button or how to tie a Windsor knot in a necktie, students were asked to learn the skills that Mr. Christie presented as necessary for living in an adult world or becoming successful at a career. These were things that Mr. Christie believed students were not learning at home from their parents. It originally started off as a survival thing, especially when we had ten months of CAPP, how do you fill those periods? I mean, that's a long, long time to 113 teach CAPP with the same kids, and so part of the survival was having these little nuggets. Little things that I think would be useful for adulthood, and some of them proved very popular, and some of the kids say, oh good, a CAPP nugget and some little trivial thing. Actually, do you know what it was a lot of it? It's stuff my Mom taught me when I was about to leave home, she said, ok, you've got to watch this. It was my Mom that gave me the talk about sexual activity, you know you be careful and it wasn't my Dad and my Mom showed me how to iron a shirt and she said come here, this is how it's done. So I guess in some ways I'm a mother to these kids. The CAPP nuggets and the focus on life skills, in this sense, allows the teacher to take on the role of wise judicious parent in teaching students the skills that they will need to become successful in life. Mazawi (2005) speaks about the ways educators frame and pathologize the schooling experience in his study of Bedouin Arab children in Israel. Mr. Christie framed his students in similar ways based on perceptions of social class. Mr. Christie expected his Eastside students to need to learn job preparation and work behaviours because they were not getting this guidance at home. This presumption of deficits speaks to the ways in which structural aspects of society are reinforced through the process of schooling (Gaskell, 1992). Thus, the job skills emerged as discursively significant in the values that were being instilled and enacted through this schools CAPP curriculum. Deportment was another important aspect of Mr. Christie's CAPP curriculum. By deportment, I am referring to the ways in which students were asked to dress their bodies and their attitudes based on what was considered to be "professional" or work ready. While I spoke about deportment in the last chapter, I continue this discussion because of the ways in which schooling deportment was an important aspect of what Mr. Christie viewed as a job skill. If we think about job or life skills as being personal attributes, as Griffith (1988) describes, then deportment becomes one of those skills akin to positive attitudes and behaviours. It is also possible to consider these attitudes and behaviours to be kinds of social 114 capital that are being fostered in the classroom, which have both a class and a cultural bias. Several activities in Mr. Christie's classroom focused on deportment. For example, students were asked to do a fair amount of public speaking and presentations with the goal of enhancing their speaking skills and deportment. Another example was an activity in which students were asked to prepare a five minute presentation on something in which they were well versed. Students demonstrated a variety of skills such as how to French braid hair, how to make a Pina Colada, how to build a Potato Launcher and how to choose a squash racket. Another important aspect in terms of deportment was the physical embodiment of a worker that students were expected to inhabit in the classroom. Mr. Christie was particularly harsh in his assessments of how students looked and what kinds of hairstyles they had and the kinds of clothes they were wearing. He often criticized male students for hair that was too long or clothing, like men's tank tops, he considered inappropriate. On the other hand, students were rewarded with praise when they were smiling nicely during public presentations. The focus on clothing was emphasized in the activity that looked at different suits men should wear and for which occasion; in this class Mr. Christie brought several suits for show and tell. The masculine and cultural bias was evident in this lesson; there was little discussion of what women should wear for different formal occasions (Connell, 1995). Students in this school also saw the role of CAPP as teaching about job preparation. Mary Jane explicitly described the CAPP course as teaching her about life skills and getting jobs. Well, in CAPP you learn a lot of... Well with my teachers you learn a lot of life skills and that's what I like about CAPP. Because its things that we need to know for when we get out of high school, even when we're in high school. There's a lot of stuff that I didn't know about getting jobs that I could have done. And I'm kind of like...oh, well....dun like now I can use the class to my advantage. Because it's cool, and um...yeah. 115 Alexandra also described what they were learning as being beyond job preparation and into the realm of life skills. "It's not totally rooted around careers. It's also the steps you take to get there. Like today, the shoe shining and stuff like that and he's going to teach us about maintaining your own vehicle. He goes beyond that, it's more life skills as well." When pushed about what she meant in terms of life skills, Alexandra said: I think just.. .life skills I think? What he does is he also does a lot of character building, and I think that's really important. At the beginning, I'm sorry, you weren't here the whole way through. In the beginning he did a lot of, I think, personality defining. And like, who you are, who you want to be, not just in terms of career but as a person, and I like that a lot. And life skills just.. .life skills to me is a lot of people skills. And he worked on that a lot. Life skills for Alexandra involved being able to interact with people and to know who you were as a person. This conception of life skills is similar to what Griffith (1988) described in her Ontario study where life skills tended to refer to behaviours that were to be fostered in career education. The students at Pinetree also spoke of other job skills that they were learning, including how to be interviewed. For Nava: CAPP has helped me get a job because interviews are the first thing. If you can't pass your interview, you're not going to go very far and that's the main step. That's the big step. And I think CAPP teaching about interviews and talks about the whole big mock interview thing was a big thing for me, and I'm taking it seriously and hopefully I ' l l get positive feedbacks. Nava agreed with Mr. Christie that the purpose of the course was for "preparation towards getting a job. Yeah, it's not the schoolwork that's preparing you. I think it's a preparation course." This was just one of the specific skills that students described when they talked about what they were learning at Pinetree. 116 Mary Jane also spoke about learning the skill of interviewing: "How to act in interviews. And he's really.. .like I've been to interviews where they ask me questions and I'm totally stumped. And I'm just like.. .and so he really prepares us." Berwin believed that learning about job skills was the best part of CAPP. "What part do I like the best? The best? How he's helping us to get the job. He's saying, ok, I'm going to help you get the job, this is what you need to know, this is how you should dress, and this is the information that we should know." Students saw these skills as helping them to step into work, which interestingly seemed to be a very separate world from university, which the students rarely talked about in the classroom or in their one-on-one interviews. This highlighted the ways in which job preparation was represented as a binary pathway. Life skills at Pinetree Secondary took on particular meaning for the teacher and students; it referred to people skills, job skills and deportment. This orientation to career education evokes a particular understanding of what students should know when graduating from high school, based very specifically on the presumption of socioeconomic status and immigrant parentage. There was a notable absence of discussion about university and college preparation in this CAPP classroom and it sets this school apart from the other schools in this study. At Pinetree it seemed that those students who were planning to go to university would know or find that information themselves. In contrast, all Pinetree students needed to know how to get a job. While at the previous two schools, the expectation was that students would go to university to find a career. At Pinetree, the expectation was that most students would go straight into jobs. These jobs could be either part-time or jobs that would be the basis of lifetime employment. Berwin described it best; when asked whether CAPP was preparing 117 him to get a career, he said, "Not so much. Just really he's focused on getting the job. Getting the employment. A job or career depending on the situation." While the language of job preparation was evident to some extent in the other schools in this study, Pinetree was very specifically centred on the discursive construction of job preparation. Both the teachers and students positioned life and job skills as more desirable than university preparation; pointing to the way in which the rhetoric was being reproduced in this school. In this way, job preparation becomes hegemonic, or part of a common sense ideology (Gramsci, 1971), as it made sense to both the teachers and the students that this was what they should be learning about, to the exclusion of other pathways such as university. For Mr. Christie, job skills were the centre of his pedagogy as he strived to instill these "attitudes" in his students by defining job preparation as something they did not already have and were not likely to get at home. Likewise, the students seemed to understand that what they were learning was specifically related to their futures and the jobs they could envision for themselves. Most of the students appreciated this approach and felt that it was essential to their futures. A Blurring of the Discourses at Oak Hill In much of this chapter, I have illustrated the binary pathways of university preparation on one hand, and job preparation on the other. However, there was one school in my study that did not fit so clearly into this divide. Oak Hill 's CAPP program was an interesting mix of university preparation and job skills. While university preparation was emphasized by both the teachers and students, job preparation skills were also presented to students as important. In essence, university preparation became another way to prepare students for jobs, because of the delay in choosing jobs afforded by attending university. 118 The inclusion of both university preparation and job preparation was significant -particularly considering that, like Pinetree, the teachers at Oak Hi l l saw their students in a disadvantaged position due to their social class locations. At Oak Hil l , as Ms. Moore described it, one of the goals was to provide Eastside kids with the same opportunities as Westside students. Vallas (1990) points out that there is a need for historical research on the role that the language of skills plays in the process of social class formation. Why is it assumed that Eastside (working class) communities are more in need of skills than the Westside students? Oak Hi l l provided a unique way to look at the tension between the university and job preparation discourses. Ms. Mason, the teacher, and Ms. Moore, the Career Information Assistant (CIA), claimed that they were providing students with a job preparation or life skills orientation in their CAPP program. For example, Ms. Moore described CAPP as teaching "them that learning is lifelong, and that they'll always be learning. We think that that is important. If we can prepare them for a lot of life skills in a lot of ways." The language used by the teacher reflected a job preparation for life skills orientation, in that the teacher was encouraging students to think about skills as important for their adult lives. However, the content of the course (that which was directly related to career planning) often reflected a university preparation model. For example, while speaking to students about lifelong learning as a job skill, Ms. Mason suggested that students should think about themselves as lifelong learners because as adults they would always be taking courses. She warned students that i f they did not continue to do further education, they would get left behind. "You will have a difficult time getting a job if you don't keep up on your schooling and courses that 119 you can take for professional development." Thus, while life skills were important, acquiring education was presented as a more essential life skill. If a skill, as Grahame (1983) points out, is something that can be learned or mastered, then there are moral features around understanding the concept of a skill and life as a set of "learnable skills" (Griffith, 1988). Several of the classes focused on what could be technically described as a learnable skill (Hyslop-Margison, 2000; Griffith, 1988). The job preparation classes looked at applying skills to careers, doing resumes, cover letters, interviewing and thank you letters. This skills development portion was similar to Pinetree's understanding of the kinds of skills needed to get jobs. Job preparation for both of these schools involved the act of going out and finding a job, from application to interview. Much of the pedagogy at Oak Hil l involved lessons that were about fostering these attitudes towards getting a job and going to university as the route to a job. This positioning of students in between job and university preparation further highlighted the temporal aspect of university as delaying job choices. During one classroom observation I was witness to a discussion around what students needed to know about applying for university. Ms. Mason asked students to put up their hands if they were going to go to college or university. Going straight to work was not presented as an option, and it was during this same class that the teacher described working at McDonald's as the only option that students would have if they did not go to college or university. While the teacher described her pedagogy as not shepherding all of her students towards university, her language in this lesson reflected a university orientation. Those students who did not go to college or university would work at McDonald's, which conjures an image of the lowest class job, but those students who went to university could wait to decide what it was they wanted to be. When Ms. Mason made 120 reference to what would happen if students did not go to university, they laughed, and part of this laughter was an understanding that McDonald's was the lowest form of job available and considered undesirable (Klein, 1996). Found in this tension between job and university preparation was a sense of 'bootstrapping,' or the idea that i f students just worked hard they could have the possibility to go to university. Dwyer and Wyn (2001) point to a similar finding in their study as they link the way aspirations can be greatly affected by external forces such as teachers, but also to how teachers are influenced by those external forces. The threat of working at McDonald's highlights the meritocracy found in this school, as the sense was that if students could focus on CAPP lessons they should be able to achieve the goal of going to university (Wotherspoon, 2004). This was reflected in the rhetoric pointed to earlier of teaching Eastside students to be Westside ones - the presumption being that Westside students go to university. Accordingly there was a large proportion of classroom time put aside for postsecondary research. The postsecondary research day that I observed was used to help the Grade 11 students determine which university or college they wanted to go to and whether they would have the required courses (and the grade point average) that they would need to get into the programs and institutions in which they were interested. Students were taken to the career centre where they spent the class looking at various institutional calendars, and were encouraged to look through the scholarship binder to see what kinds of scholarships for which they were eligible. Students were given advice about other possible routes to getting into university i f their grades were not high enough, many expressing concern about grade percentages needed to get into the various university programs. The only alternative options 121 discussed during this lesson were going to Vancouver Community College and apprenticeships, which were described as "saving" a few kids. Notably, those kids in need of 'saving' were described as coming from difficult backgrounds such as the example Ms. Moore gave of a First Nations student who had found a successful apprenticeship. In this example, college and apprenticeships became a place of 'othering'; they were where students who do not fit the dominant ideology end up. Pope-Davis and Coleman (2001) speak about the racist, gendered and classist history of guidance counseling and the ways in which career counseling has discriminated against students from diverse social locations. Expectations based on students' backgrounds have traditionally worked as a reproductive force, as First Nations students, and those students who come from lower socioeconomic status families, or based on aspects such as gender, sexuality or disability, have been traditionally counseled away from pursuing further education and career options that are perceived to be harder or more difficult to obtain (Pope-Davis & Coleman, 2001). In my interview with Ms. Moore, it became clear she regarded university as the preferred post high school route, despite her claims that CAPP showed students several options. For example, when asked what it was that CAPP prepares students to do, she answered, "I think CAPP gives them an all over, and I think it should be giving them an all around idea. Because I don't think we should say, you should go to university. You should go to college. You should go to work. I think they need td see all their options. I think we need to prepare them for all options." As she started to expand upon this statement, university was positioned at the top of the hierarchy. We need to show them that this is how you go to university, and this is how you go to college. And from college you can go to university i f you don't have the grades. I think a lot of kids need to know that. A lot of kids need to know that maybe this year, college or university isn't what you want to do, but 122 there's nothing to say that the year after you can't do it. So we emphasize that too. You may not be ready to go right after high school, but there's nothing to say that you can't go the next year, or the next year. And we tell them that learning is lifelong, and that they'll always be learning. We think that that is important. If we can prepare them for a lot of life skills in a lot of ways. The last statement was significant because of the type of learning she was privileging, which was going to university or college and getting a degree. Ms. Moore spoke about the various ways in which it was possible to get into university and then described how this learning was a life skill. However, life skills were also an important concept for Ms. Moore, and when pushed a little further about what she meant by life skills, she said: Life skills to me means...what I would give to the student.. .life skills, options, lots of options. Because i f you try this and it doesn't work, you can always try that. And success, you're going to have failures, but you're also going to have lots of success, set your goals. Goal setting. I think goal setting is hugely important, you know, like options, success, motivation. Sometimes not even ability, you know. It's not about being able to do it. It's about wanting to do it. And I think if we can emphasize things like that to students, to give those students who maybe are lower level learners, hey I don't have to go to university. I think sometimes too much emphasis is put there, way too much, you know. It's like that's not quite what you need to do. There are several important points that need to be looked at in the previous quotation, the first being her reference to goal setting, which assumed that students would have control in how they set up their lives; which ignored many of the structural aspects that influence students' opportunities (Coombs, 1994). The other assumption that needs to be explored was her presupposition that not doing well in academics makes you a lower level learner. So while Ms. Moore believed that what she was teaching was helping students to have more career options, the route she most acknowledged and presented in her lessons was the one that led to university. This bootstrapping mentality was reinforced in the ways in which she spoke about schooling experiences. 123 In contrast to her first class on university preparation, Ms. Moore, who was covering for Ms. Mason on a sick day, did a lecture on resumes and portfolios. In this lesson, Ms. Moore spent some time talking about how and where students could find jobs if they were looking for them now. In this discussion several jobs were discussed that would not involve postsecondary education such as office work, labour, retail, hospitality and recreation. This was one of the first lessons in which going straight into the work force post high school was discussed. This connection was presented in the class that focused on how to write a resume and describing skills so that they would be attractive for employers. The necessity of a professional resume was presented as important for university as well. That is, work skills, were also transferable to postsecondary education. University preparation becomes common sense in that students are expected to already have the knowledge of hoW and why they should attend postsecondary. Those that do not have this information were probably not headed in that direction or were considered lower level learners. Ms. Mason felt that the CAPP program and the school were limiting spaces where the best one could do was introduce students to opportunities and what they did with that knowledge was up to the student. When asked whether CAPP was preparing students for work, Ms. Mason said: No. I have a really hard time. Even though I'm in an area where we're supposed to be training kids for the workforce, I don't think a public school or any school system, or high school is designed to do that. We are not a career place. That's not our job. They go to postsecondary for that. What we have to do is introduce them to what's out there, expose them to it. And the more elective opportunities they have, the more chances they can see if it's something they want to go into. And to give them skills for lifelong learning. We can't give them skills for the job market today, we don't have the resources, we don't have the equipment, we don't have the time, and students aren't ready. 124 One of the reasons that Ms. Mason viewed university preparation as an important part of CAPP was because she thought that the students were not able to get this information in the traditional ways; from school counsellors or from home. In this quotation, the role of postsecondary as the space where career decisions were made becomes evident. It highlighted her belief that teaching about job skills was someone else's responsibility; mainly the university. When asked why university preparation was such a large focus in her classroom, Ms. Mason responded: I think it has to. Going back 30 years when I was in high school, the only time I ever wanted to see my counsellor was for postsecondary information, course planning. I never had any crisis I had to go and see my counsellors for. The counsellors in this school probably spend about 90% of their time tending to 10% of the school population. They don't have the time for 90% of the kids in that grade. They don't and you can't expect them to... So the critical intervention stuff. That's basically what they do, and Timetables. And that's all they do and their timetabling. There's kids who come because, I don't have this course, I don't have that course, I have to get out of here, I need to get out of that. So now where is this kid who's biting and chewing at the bit, like that needs to get his application into UBC is like. There's nobody to help me. So that's where I find I do quite a bit of one on one. In this way, university preparation begins to be seen as a set of skills. It is something that can be taught and learned by students. Griffith (1988) spoke about skills as having a moral imperative; university preparation takes on this same dimension. Students must have the skills needed to be able to apply to university and college and those who do not were seen as being outside the norm. Additionally, there are reflections of a deficit model, as teachers and curriculum developers view this as the kind of information that students do not already have and therefore must receive through school. What emerged in these quotations was that university preparation was much more easily taught to students than career preparation. 125 I Students often saw the CAPP course as being about university preparation. For example, Ella talked about the way CAPP could be redundant for those students who had already done university preparation. "Yeah, I do think they need to write down what they need for university. Everyone needs to do that. It's just that I did it in advance. That's the only reason why it was tedious for me. But I think it's a really good course, I mean if we didn't have it a lot of people would be lost." When Ella was asked what she thought the most important part of CAPP, she answered, "What they expect in university and the scholarships and stuff like that." A l l of the students I spoke to at Oak Hi l l seemed to understand that university and postsecondary education was an important part of what they were learning in CAPP. Gemini also felt that CAPP was a course in how to think about jobs as they related to particular educational paths. "[What does] CAPP teach me? Like I think it like opens your eyes to what kinds of jobs there are. Like and it just kind of helps you explore about universities and stuff. Like when you do research on universities." Zara thought that the most useful aspect of CAPP was learning about careers and how to get into university. "I would use the job things in the future about careers and stuff. How tuition and how many credits you need in order to get into a college or university." Timmy offered a slightly different perspective in his thinking about CAPP. "I don't think it prepares you for a particular job, like a specific one, I guess in general it could. They sort of show you some, I guess ethics, you need to have in the real world. Real world in quotations." For Timmy, what he was learning in CAPP class was supposed to prepare him for apart-time job. I don't know. I guess that kind of stuff, just preparing me for when I get the job, what to do when I'm there. That's good and not like these part-time ones, like during school, but after when it's a bit more important and then...I guess showing you how to get into colleges. I guess you know that you need good 126 marks and you need to apply, but also, like how to pay for it. Like you're going to need help most of the's pretty bad nowadays, I guess. Timmy, as with some of the other students, saw CAPP as being a job preparation course but one that would help him get a part-time job so that he could support himself during his time in college. This view of jobs helped to answer the ever important question of how am I going to pay for school. Of the five students whom I interviewed at Oak Hi l l , only one student suggested that what she was learning were the skills needed to be successful in a job, although this contradicted Ms. Mason's view. Mozart, a student who had recently came to Canada from China in order to go to high school in North America, saw CAPP in this way. "Like, I'm learning how to make the employer think I am worth to be an employee, but not a person who can run his own business with his own money. So I think CAPP is trying to teach you how to survive in society instead of being prosperous." She was saying that school was helping set her expectations at a lower level. However, as was seen with the other students, her language around CAPP shifted into a discussion of university and the importance it would play in her life. When asked what else she would have liked to learn in CAPP, Mozart wanted help with doing well in university. "I want to learn to discuss problems or ask deeper questions in university. And I also [want to] learn about, not really university but graduate school. Like learn to be a professional." So even though she described what she was learning in CAPP as the kinds of skills that would help her survive, when she really thought about what it was that she wanted to learn, university became the sole route to having a career and being a professional. Students seemed to understand that university was a privileged space for which they were supposed to be reaching. When Ella described wanting to go to university, I asked her 127 why she would choose a university over a college. Her answer was, "Good question. Both, I don't have any problems with both. But I think the prestige of going to university just puts you above others and I can get into one. So that's the reason. But I'd love to go to a college, too." In the interviews with students like Ella, it became clear that learning how to apply to university and do the research around what schools were a better fit for a student was seen as one of the more important skills that students needed to learn. Ella felt that without knowing about universities, students would be lost. At Oak Hi l l , the interplay between job and university preparation points to the ways in which it is presumed that Eastside students could overcome their circumstances to become more like the Westside students if they aspired to go to university. This highlighted the ways in which a bootstrapping mentality was central to the tension between university and job preparation, because it emerged as an ideological positioning at this school and taught that all students should be reaching for university as well as gaining job preparation skills. Summary The previous discussion outlined the different ways in which the university and job preparation discourses played out in schools. This examination started to answer the question what was CAPP for? In the schools in this study, CAPP was seen as important for helping students make the transition to postsecondary education. This dominant discourse was grounded in a class structure that was illustrated in relation to who was expected (and encouraged) to go to university (Wyn & White, 1997) and who should be striving for it, and for whom was it not even presented. CAPP was often described through what it was not supposed to be doing. That was, at the Westside schools, teachers felt that CAPP was not supposed to help students get careers 128 because CAPP could not possibly fulfill that role. In contrast, there was Pinetree, where the teacher felt that CAPP should not be teaching about university. Rather, it was supposed to help students to get jobs. Oak Hil l primarily suggested students should try to go to university, although CAPP was also there to help students to get part-time jobs that would help them support their postsecondary education. My data reflected a strong class bias in that the majority of students were encouraged, and in fact seemed to desire, attending some kind of postsecondary education after high school. This finding was reflected in Krahn's (1991) research, which found a trend that some Canadian youth are more likely to prolong their education beyond high school in order to gain postsecondary credentials. Staying in school in order to aim for more secure professional jobs was certainly a significant aspect of the university preparation discourse. The students at Cedar Valley and Elmwood all spoke about attending university in order to get a career. While several routes were outlined for students to take post high school, these routes through jobs and college were still leading to a singular goal of education. The career fair structure supported this discourse, because at both schools the career fairs primarily discussed university required occupations, or the content of the discussion in the session was tailored to explain how other routes could support the goal of attending university, as was noted in the session on the trades at Elmwood. Wyn and White (1997) point out that much research into the transition from school to work has not explored the role of the institution in influencing the choices that high school students make. Career fairs were one way in which a university preparation discourse was reproduced in some schools. A n important finding in this chapter was the temporal dimension that was found in these two discourses. In the university preparation discourse, students could delay the onset 129 of work and adult life by going on to further education. Students who were headed to postsecondary were encouraged to take their time in deciding on careers, even delaying the choice of career until they had experienced postsecondary education. In the opposing discourse of job preparation, there was a sense of immediacy to the decisions that must be made, as students heading straight to work must make some decisions quickly, and this quick decision making has implications for their future choices. This temporal expectation was influenced by perceptions of social class, as students at Westside schools were given more permission to wait to see what university would hold, whereas in the Eastside, students were encouraged to make these decisions promptly. At Oak Hil l , the temporal influences highlighted a tension, as university preparation was still very much a part of the discourse; however, students were required to decide on jobs almost immediately because of lowered social class expectations (Grayson, 1999). The temporal nature of these discourses points to the reproduction of an adult identity; where students are pressed into making choices that influence the ways they think about their future lives and careers. Social class and culture were important factors in how these discourses played out, as teachers' expectations of socioeconomic status (as well as ethnicity) influenced what they taught about. The Eastside schools were more likely to use the language of life skills with their students. The assumption was that life skills were something that these students were not already getting at home and thus, it was the role of the teachers to fill in this gap. This presumption of the lack of family was particularly evident from the teachers who felt that there was a larger immigrant population at their school. There was a noticeable absence of the language of life skills from the Westside schools, as if the social location of the students 130 meant that they would already have the cultural capital to acquire these skills or that they would receive them at home. The other noticeable way in which social class became central was in the language around meritocracy and bootstrapping. The assumption was that Eastside students could overcome their positions if they went to university. This highlighted a tension between the two discourses, because getting a job coming straight out of high school could be overcome for those students who worked hard enough to merit going to university. Thus, the real world skills that these students were being taught included learning how to apply to university and overcoming barriers such as lower grades and lack of funding. In highlighting the two main discourses embedded in the CAPP programs, university preparation and job preparation, this study sheds light on how students understand career education and institutional expectations of what it means to obtain a career and to be a worker. The next chapter delves further into the institutional effects of the school on the ways students begin to understand career and the choices they will be making about their futures. 131 CHAPTER 5 - RE/PRODUCING CAREER: THE SCHOOLING OF FUTURE WORKERS This chapter delves further into the class bias and reproductive affects of the CAPP program by examining the ways in which career discourses were re/produced by teachers and taken up by students. Career is constructed in my study as something that everyone can and must have. Students were expected to learn how to become employable through the learning of generic skills and aptitudes. Upon closer examination, understandings of career must be closely linked to a social class analysis. Wyn and White (1997) suggest that the ways in which adolescents experience the social world is intricately tied to social class circumstances. My findings indicate that not only did students experience the social world based on class locations, but that the ways in which adolescents were taught about careers was linked to these different class expectations. The discourses of career in these schools both produced and reproduced social class stratifications. The first section of this chapter examines how employability within the BC Ministry of Education's formal curriculum was constructed in ways that did not account for social differences. In this analysis, the CAPP Instructional Resource Package (IRP) was shown to be schooling students about employability rather than employment. This appeared to be based on the curricular perception that there are generic skills and attitudes that students must have to join the labour force (Heinz, 2001). The specific indicator of this in the IRP was the curricular reliance on the Conference Board of Canada's (CBOC) Employability Skills Profile (ESP). This section connects the IRP to the language that students used in the schools around the kinds of skills they thought they would need for their future careers. 132 The following section examines another aspect of the career discourse, exploring the advice given to students about how to choose their careers. Two kinds of advice were common: students should choose careers they were passionate about, and students should have backup plans. The two discourses - "Following Your Bliss" or "Passion" and having a "Backup Plan" or a "Plan A and B " were significantly influenced by teachers' perceptions of student trajectories and social class makeup. The following section looks specifically at the ways in which students defined the difference between a job and a career in the kinds of employment that were meaningful for students. Students spoke about jobs in ways that were indicative of a social class differentiation. However, when students spoke about the meaning of a career they privileged professional careers. The differentiation between jobs and the privileging of a professional career further points to the ways in which schools continue to encourage particular understandings of what it means to have a job and career, and the role schools play in supporting notions of employment. The chapter concludes with a discussion and examination of an important tension in the career discourse: how we educate for sameness in the face of difference. E m p l o y a b i l i t y D i s c o u r s e One of the most significant premises of CAPP is that i f schools provide students with f certain generic and specific skills, students are more likely to find and retain careers and become more successful members of an adult community (Heinz, 2001; Shanahan, 2000). These generic and specific skills are presented in the CAPP curriculum as employability skills. Employability skills are generally thought of as the combination of generic 'soft' and 'hard' skills or competencies that are needed by workers (Williams, 2005). 'Soft' skills refer 133 to the behaviours and aptitudes such as teamwork that are believed needed for employment, whereas the 'hard' skills are specific quantifiable skills like writing a resume or cover letter. A key aspect to this understanding of employability is the presumption of sameness in the expectation that students all need the same generic sets of skills and behaviours. One of the clearest ways in which generic skills were featured in the CAPP program was the use of the Employability Skills Profile (ESP) created by the Conference Board of Canada (CBOC). Employability skills in the CAPP program took on a more specific meaning for the Ministry of Education. The BC Ministry of Education (2000) described employability skills as "those skills which provide the basic foundation to get, keep and progress on a job and to achieve the best results" (Ministry of Education Website). The skills defined in this profile included communication, thinking, learning, positive attitudes and behaviours, responsibility, adaptability, as well as work with others; and these are just the broad and generic categories under which there were many more skills defined. The assumption was that Canadian employers needed workers who could do all of these things and that to get a job, specific "skills" must be in place (Hyslop-Margison & Welsh, 2003). The CAPP Instructional Resource Package (IRP) has picked up on the rhetoric of employability skills through the use of the ESP. Upon examining the CAPP IRP, I found that there were several lesson plans that taught to the skills outlined in the ESP. One example of the use of the ESP was found in the CAPP Grade 8-12 IRP. The Prescribed Learning Outcomes (PLO's) for this lesson were: 1) that all students review their transferable skills and relate them to occupational and lifestyle choices and 2) apply research skills to identify the various types of work within career clusters. The suggested instructional strategies to meet these PLO's were: 134 As a class, brainstorm a list of transferable skills to review the concept. Then have students update their own transferable skills list, comparing these with the class list and with the employability skills profiles created by the Conference Board of Canada, the Business Council of BC, or the BC Labour Force Development Board. Students should highlight: Effective communication skills, problem-solving and decision-making skills, a positive attitude toward one's duties, work ethic traits (e.g., confidentiality, regular attendance, punctuality, honesty, trustworthiness, responsibility), respect for diversity and individual differences, ability to function as an effective team member, ability to meet performance standards of the workplace, and ability to perform work in a safe manner. Emphasize the commonalities of transferable skills and employability skills, and have students create graphic representations of employability skills (e.g., in posters, videos, Venn diagrams). (Ministry of Education CAPP IRP, 1997, p. 68) This lesson concretely showed how employability skills were expected to be used in the various CAPP programs and the promotion of the ESP skills as useful for students who must make their occupational choices. The lesson highlighted transferable skills, however it did not explain from where students were expected to transfer these skills. Students would be expected to internalize these skills and have a concrete understanding of employability skills, which could be a tension for those students who may not yet have decided their career paths. Employability skills have become naturalized in the CAPP program. Hyslop-Margison's (2000b) argues for the need to reveal the ideological connections between the dominant social forces of a curriculum like CAPP by reflecting on the ethical, ontological, and social viewpoints apparent in the text. For example, it is necessary to question the economic influence of such forces as the CBOC and the ESP and the ideological implications of having the interests of a business organization so firmly entrenched within the curriculum. Moreover, it is important to recognize how those forces might influence the ways teachers approach their work in teaching students about careers. The CBOC acts as a lobbying group for many businesses in the private sector and is highly active in public education policy development as well as funding two education councils (one national and the other corporate) 135 that both have an influence on Canadian public schooling (Hyslop-Margison, 2000b). The CBOC's employability skills profile was a good example of the kind of knowledge that was validated throughout the CAPP curriculum. How skills are understood in the ESP and programs like CAPP requires some attention. As Griffith (1988) points out there is an assumption that 'skills' are everyday knowledge or common sense knowledge, a view that "obscure[s] the social organization of class relations and focuses on the individual mastery of skill" (p. 206). As an ESP-based curriculum, CAPP assumed that everyone needed the same things in order to succeed ignoring the many systemic barriers faced by students in education, and in the work force (Dwyer & Wyn, 2001). Moreover, Dwyer and Wyn (2001) remind us that aspects like gender and race continue to be powerful forces structuring the ways that young people form their identities. It stands to reason that intertextual layers further work to affect the ways in which youth enter and form understandings of the workforce. In its use of employability skills, CAPP reflects a functional approach to what the role of schools should be (Wotherspoon, 2004); one that advocates that schools should be reproducing the economic structure of society (Bowles & Gintis, 1976). The language of employability skills suggests that these are the skills that you "must" have in order to get a job, without them a student will not be employable. Consequently the adherence to employability skills teaches students that the learning of these skills is a societal expectation because students will eventually need these skills when they leave school and enter the workplace to find a job or career. Even the title of the profile "Employability Skills" suggests that students would be more likely to find employment if they had the skills that were presented in the curriculum. Thus for schools, it seemed to be a natural choice to teach to 136 these particular skills and provide students with the kinds of abilities that would help them become good standing productive members of economic society. A generalizing language was imbued in employability skills. For example, the kinds of skills that were presented as important included personal planning skills, communication skills, teamwork, and cooperative skills. These skills were combined in the curriculum with specific "awareness"' such as vocational possibilities. The CAPP curriculum described it as "the need for students to understand the personal relevance of their studies and acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that can help them make appropriate personal decisions and manage their lives more effectively" (CAPP Introduction, 1995). The result was that a skill was not just an aptitude or something at which you become good, rather a skill involved specific values about what constituted a good worker and the attitudes that all workers must have (Griffith, 1988). However, access to careers will not be the same for all students, and there was a very noticeable lack of discussion around who had access and the fact that careers were represented as available to everyone through the guise of employability skills (Wyn& White, 1997). Eastside schools were teaching less about employment (what jobs were available) and more about employability (the skills needed to be employable) and all the aptitudes and behaviours associated with this perspective (McQuaid & Lindsay, 2005; Taylor, 2005; Williams, 2005). During my interviews with teachers and school counsellors, Tasked whether the IRP's played a factor in how the curriculum was formed. A l l of the teachers claimed to be following the IRP's PLO's in their individualized programs, however they all admitted to not using the actual lesson plans. While the direct connection between the IRP and the programs at each school were difficult to make, employability skills appeared to be 137 an important learning objective. One way this became apparent was the way that the language of employability skills became part of the hidden curriculum of the teachers (McLaren, 1989). Employability skills thus took on different forms at the schools, due both to the difference in delivery of the program, and in the ways in which different teachers took up the notion of employability. The best example of how employability emerged in the Eastside pedagogy was found at Pinetree Secondary in Mr. Christie's classroom. He had a very clear idea about what it was that he wanted students to learn in his CAPP classroom. In these expectations, Mr. Christie described the attitude that he thought every good worker should learn. I think it's important that they [students] know they can do it. It's important to know that the future is something that they've got control of and if they can just have the "I can" attitude, they can do just about anything. So I really do work on presentation and just their whole attitude to themselves and a career, their future wife, a job. What students should be learning, in this example, were the 'soft' employability skills such as having the 'right' attitude. This was similar to the BC Ministry of Education's interpretation of employability skills profile as having the right attitude in terms of making the "appropriate decisions." Mr. Christie asserted that students should learn to have control over their lives, in doing so he was associating particular learned skills with an increase in agency (Wyn & White, 2000). As was noted in the previous chapters, students in this lower-income population classroom were assumed to have less agency and options in relation to their more middle-class counterparts. The perception of the need for increased control over their lives represents one of the ways in which employability skills were differentiated for students based on social class expectations. It is also important to note that the right attitudes towards 138 careers were reserved for the males in this classroom, who were expected not only to have the right career attitudes but the right attitudes towards their future wives (Connell, 1995). In another instance, Mr. Christie talked again about proper attitude as a kind of skill that students needed to be learning. He said of his students, "Well, I want them to have goals. I want them to be groomed properly, physically and attitudinally. They've got to have that 'can do' attitude. I keep saying that." Mr Christie, both in the interview and classroom observations, continued to extol the virtues of learning proper adult-like skills in order to get a job. These skills, as Mr. Christie described them, were the same for all students, but particularly necessary for the students in his classroom as he saw his role as providing students with life skills. Thus, employability skills were more than behavioural attitudes towards employment; they contained the social capital that students need to know in order to be successful workers in society (Bourdieu, 1990). The assumption built into the concept of employability skills, and as is demonstrated by the previous discussion of Mr. Christie, was the belief that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed at getting a job if they just learn the skills (like the ones outlined in the ESP). These skills are thought to be applicable to all students regardless of gender, race, social class, dis/ability or sexuality. However, the critique that emerges of this meritocratic approach suggests that society does not function with everyone on a level playing field (Coombs, 1994). Thus, i f curriculum is just a reproduction of what is already happening in society, students in CAPP are necessarily tracked and streamed into jobs through career education, the same way that they are tracked and streamed into ability levels at school. The result is that when employability skills take on a moralizing tone around becoming better 139 workers by learning the right attitudes, it could lead to the class structure of society being reinforced in schools (McLaren, 1989). The other teachers in this study also used the language of skills to describe what it was they thought they were teaching in CAPP. The language of skills was intertwined with the economic language of employability skills. 'Hard' skills often translated into lessons on interviewing, resume writing, creating business cards, and sometimes even how to do banking or grocery shopping. 'Soft' skills were described as attributes such as cooperation and teamwork, which were common skills that were put forward as important for students. Students, in a few instances, were warned that if they could not work together they would have difficulty in the work force. Teachers also expanded upon the employability skills rhetoric to include other soft skills and attitudes. In this case "life skills" became another example of the kind of skills students needed in order to become employable. Ms. Jones at Cedar Valley felt that the one thing that students were lacking in school was life skills, which to her meant ".. .just knowing how to live, basically, and that includes going to a grocery store and shopping. As well as conflict resolution with people, as well as time management, like everything to have a successful life." Ms. Moore at Oak Hil l Secondary also spoke about the role of life skills as helping students to "manage their lives." Life skills from her perspective were, "What I would give to the students [is] life skills, options, lots of options. Because if you try this and it doesn't work, you can always try that. And success, you're going to have failures, but you're also going to have lots of success, set your goals. 'Goal setting'." Life skills in these examples reflect the softer skills of having the 'right attitudes.' 140 While many of the teachers spoke about students needing the "right attitude" this language took on greater meaning when teachers had constructed their students as being at a deficit in the labour market, such as was found at Pinetree and Oak Hi l l . While the language of employability and life skills emerged at the Westside schools (Cedar Valley and Elmwood), they were often used in secondary ways behind the harder skills of needing to learn to apply to university, or to write a resume. This was evident in the career fairs as they were used to introduce students to specific jobs, rather to learn specific employability skills, whereas the on-timetable courses on the Eastside were very much about grooming particular attitudes. The assumption being that Westside students already had the right attitudes because the majority of students were heading to university. If the teachers were offering employability skills, how were students taking up an understanding of the skills that they were being taught? When students at all four schools were asked what they were learning in CAPP many of them often spoke of 'hard skills': they learned how to apply to university, how to write a resume, and how to behave in an interview. For others they understood that CAPP was grooming them for the right attitudes towards having careers. The students at both Westside and Eastside schools seemed to understand that they were supposed to be learning both the 'hard' and 'soft' skills of employability. For example, Georgia, a Grade 11 student at Cedar Valley, talked about the organizational skills needed to get jobs, "I know we came in Grade 8 you get a bit of note taking and organizational skills. I mean, these are skills you need to know for organization and how to write a resume." In another example, Ella who was in Grade 11 at Oak Hil l Secondary, talked about one of these skills as being able to communicate well, she said, "I can communicate easily like. I like 141 talking to people. And I like sharing things that I know and sharing things about myself. Like, I have no problem with that, I'm really outgoing, and stuff like that." These generic skills were seen as the ideal way to prepare students for their futures. Some students, however, resisted the notion of skills as helping them to become employable. Giroux (1983) speaks about resistance as a way to elaborate on the ways in which social understandings of the world become more fluid. Pitt (1998) suggests that resistance theories can lead to more nuanced understandings of oppositional behaviour. For example, Kea from Pinetree argued, "I think there should be more.. .it just doesn't seem... what's the word. It doesn't seem real enough. I mean, like the job skills and stuff. I > know that that's what he's trying to teach, but it doesn't seem like they are important." Dim Sum from Cedar Valley was also critical of the kinds of skills they were learning. "I got a lot of like teamwork skills. Not skills like you use knowledge's from." Some students believed that they were learning how to figure it out themselves. Galadrial from Cedar Valley said, "I don't know if it teaches you how to do it, it teaches you to use...tells you to use your own methods and strengths to find your own way." Galadrial's statement reflected the ways in which some students were aware that they were being given generic skills that they had to take and adapt to their own personal circumstances. Within the formal CAPP IRP employability skills were presented as the way to prepare students for getting a career. Students were encouraged to see themselves as having to follow a prescribed set of steps that would lead to employment and adulthood (Wyn & White, 1997). The problem with this approach is that it assumes that there is a generic set of skills required for all jobs and these generic skills are often a conflation of specific "hard" work skills and "softer" behavioural aspects. Curtis and McKenzie (2001) note that those 142 personal attributes or "soft skills" are often presented with no explicit reference to learnability, meaning how they are to be learned by workers. Hyslop-Margison (2000) also critiques the notion of employability skills by arguing that it is a mistake to quantify the attitudes and behaviours as skills because they cannot be physically manifested or assessed. The problematic associated with generic employability skills is that they blatantly ignore the structural influences that might allow one student to succeed and another to fail (Coombs, 1994). Theorists like McLaren (1989) argue that it is impossible to look at students in a classroom without understanding that their classroom performance is influenced by economic disadvantage, minority status, cultural frames of reference, gender, as well as every day social practices (Davies, 1989; Wyn & White, 1997). If career education is always devoid of any discussion of race, class, gender, ability and other social distinctions, there is no discussion of equity or access to postsecondary education. "Following Y o u r Bliss" and "Have a Backup Plan" Class distinctions were reproduced in a variety of ways in the schools. One of most interesting findings was reflected in the kinds of advice that the teachers and guest speakers gave to students about how and when to choose careers. Two pathways were evident in the advice given to students about how to choose a career path post high school: "Following your bliss" and "Have a backup plan." This section explores the kinds of advice given and how students took up this advice. While this advice provided a great deal of insight into the ways in which social class was reproduced, there were also some forms of resistance evident. A l l of the teachers I spoke with expressed the desire to prepare students for the world of work. This involved helping students to make concrete plans for their futures post high school such as which postsecondary institution to attend or the job/career paths for which 143 students were aiming. The advice given depended on where teachers assumed students were headed; either to university or to work. As highlighted in the previous chapter, helping students to go to university was of utmost importance to many of the teachers, while at least one teacher thought that helping students to get jobs was the main function of CAPP. Teachers' assumptions about these two student trajectories were evident in their advice. Students from Westside schools were more likely to be encouraged to "Follow their Bliss", while Eastside students were encouraged to "Have a Backup Plan." In the career fair at Cedar Valley Secondary the discourse around following your bliss or passion was evident. The session presented by a life coach at the Cedar Valley career fair illustrated the ways in which students were advised to use their passions in choosing careers. This was one of the first sessions I observed in the career fair and the first time I saw the advice around passion being offered so overtly. The career fair speaker was a personal friend of the CAPP coordinator and she talked a great deal about how people needed to be authentic and true to their selves. The students in the session were introduced to life coaching as an occupation and then offered some description about the ways it could enhance their personal lives. What stood out in this particular CAPP session was when the speaker suggested that in order to be a truly happy and successful person, it was necessary to follow your passions in life. The language around passion and bliss also came out in the speakers' interactions with students. The life coach asked students to visualize the kinds of jobs they wanted and then to picture how they might go out and get what it was they desired. In this session the guest speaker told students that they could live their dreams by getting the job they always wanted to do. A l l it took to achieve these dreams was to follow their passions. The teacher 144 who was supervising this session reinforced this lesson by echoing the speaker's belief that getting that dream job was often all about visualizing that you could do it, and then finding ways to fulfill that dream. One of the ways in which students' particular socioeconomic status became apparent in this session was when the speaker asked students to visualize what they really wanted to do in their lives. When a student expressed a desire to travel but thought that money might be a barrier, the life coach responded to this student by saying that money often stops people from doing things, "but i f it is a passion, money doesn't matter." The speaker went on to warn students against getting locked into jobs, because "society did not set you up to choose the right things", thus life coaching offered you "life skills that could help you get the kind of jobs that you really want." However to critique this perspective, it is likely that only those students with financial support might have the choice to find the "right" job or to choose to delay finding the right career until they find what they are passionate about. This presumption of social class is ideological as it is based on a presumption of economic social mobility (Willis, 1977; Wyn & White, 1997). In another session at Cedar Valley career fair, the one on careers in tourism and hospitality, the language around passion was also evident. In this case the speaker suggested that a job that can be done all day was not that great, what students should really want was a career that made them happy; students were encouraged to look for a job/career for which they had passion. The most interesting advice given in this session was, "Choose your passions and make them into careers, because a career is something you will have for your whole life." Socioeconomic status played into this session when the speaker promoted hospitality and tourism as a good way for young people to travel and at the same time earn 145 money. The presumption, and one that was supported by the staff I interviewed at this school, was that those students who were not going directly to university were most likely taking a year off to travel before they headed to postsecondary. Careers in travel and tourism were presented as a way to do this travelling and make a lot of money. The speaker spoke of one young man who was only 21 making $40,000 a year, which she stated was, "good money for someone that young." She presented this as a starting wage; there was a clear expectation of social mobility for the students who were attending this session. The other significant and most well attended session of the career fair at Cedar Valley was the one that had graduates from the past talking about their experiences post high school. Many spoke about being pressured to go to school, which was interesting in contrast to the teacher supervising the session that described the opposite experience and felt that he was pushed to go to work, and that life was different for the students who were in his classes. Students in this session expressed how it was hard to go against the "plan," given the parental, peer and teacher pressure. One of the students on the panel (a pre-service teacher) suggested that, "You need to find the one thing you are passionate about. It is hard to realize that you can do what you wanted to do." The overall advice coming out of the career fair was that choosing a career that was not enjoyable was "not worth it." Westside students were expected to choose careers that they were passionate about. Following your passions could also be thought of as a resistant discourse because following these passions could mean going against societal and parental expectations for these students. While the "follow your bliss" discourse was very much ideological in nature, it did allow opportunity for students to step outside what was prescribed for them. Although the class distinction was apparent, as those students who delayed choices, or had greater 146 amounts of time to decide what it was they wanted to do, were thought to be more likely to be able to follow their 'bliss.' The language around passion and bliss as a resistance discourse was reinforced by several different speakers and in different contexts during the career fair, as students were encouraged to resist the plans that other people might be making for them and to instead follow their passions in terms of the kinds of careers they might like to have. This kind of advice about finding and choosing a career does not address the issue of social privilege (McLaren, 1989). Cedar Valley, located in one of the more affluent neighbourhoods in Vancouver, has a very clear socioeconomic expectation of its students. Students are assumed to have more opportunities to follow their passions based on aspects of social class and the expectation that those of a higher socioeconomic status are likely to go to university (Andres, 2002). While Cedar Valley represented the "Follow your Bliss" orientation for career planning, Oak Hi l l was concerned with turning its "Eastside kids into Westside kids" which involved making sure those students had more than one plan in order to ensure they ended up somewhere. These students were not given the luxury of a year of travelling to make these decisions; instead they were encouraged to make sure they had all contingency plans in place before graduation. Thus in terms of temporal dimensions, Eastside students who were learning life skills that would help them find jobs could not delay career decisions. Ms. Moore at Oak Hi l l wanted to make sure that all of her students had a back-up plan when applying to postsecondary education. In her lecture on how to apply to universities she very clearly outlined the following: You need 86-91% to get a conditional acceptance to university. Apply anyways even if you don't have this average. If you have 92-100%) you are pretty much guaranteed entrance. But have a backup plan. Apply to colleges. 147 You could have a skiing accident. You don't want to sit around for year. Apply for as many colleges as you can and make sure you have a backup plan. When helping students to look through university and college calendars, students were encouraged to check out expectations and grade point averages so that they could make more realistic choices. College became the de facto backup for many students, in case they did not get into university, and it appeared that college became the more privileged route because the assumption was that it was likely that these students would not get into university. The career advice in this school made reference to socioeconomic status. Ms. Moore and Ms. Mason spent a great deal of time helping students to think about the financial obligations that come with university, including the cost of the tests needed for those students whose first languages were not English, such as the LPI and TOEFL. Students were also warned that they would need to pay for university upfront and to get their checks in on time and be able to afford the schools they had chosen. Furthermore, both of these teachers felt that one of the major reasons students were unsuccessful in their university applications was because they did not get their application fees paid on time. Students were further encouraged to explore scholarships and to consider going to institutions like university colleges where the fees were lower but the education was just as good. The assumption in these financial discussions was that some of these students would have difficulty being able to afford postsecondary education. This kind of discussion was not evident at Cedar Valley. While the students at Cedar Valley were encouraged to follow their hearts when making future plans, the students at Oak Hil l were told to be strategic with backup plans. As was noted in a previous chapter, Vancouver Community College (VCC) was presented as the last resort for these students because it would take those students who were not able to go 148 anywhere else or who were disabled. Trades were also presented in a similar way as having saved a few students who came from at-risk backgrounds. The advice given by both of the teachers at Oak Hil l was very much concerned with economics and strategic plans. The concern being that those students who did not make good choices would end up working at McDonald's (the penultimate low socioeconomic status job), which was a common fear in this classroom. While there were a few instances of students being told to follow their passions and to choose careers or jobs they would like to be in long term, the concern of choosing the right course of action was much more significant in this classroom. Fine, Burns, Payn and Torre (2004), in their study that examined the experiences of school for poor and working class youth in California, point out that these particular schools were not just reproducing race and class inequalities, but they were also under-preparing students to enter into the public sphere in places like postsecondary education. While it is possible that some schools are under-preparing students, it is also possible that the Eastside approach of helping students to have more than one plan might be helping students to face economic realities, rather than continuing to reproduce existing class structures by directing students to lower socioeconomic paths. Considering the reproductive affects of schools, however, is still necessary. Williams (1995) points out that there is much research to support the hypothesis that those schools with a high number of middle to upper class students are more likely to offer greater academic programming versus those schools from economically disadvantaged areas which were more likely to offer greater vocational programs and could influence the academic routes for students from lower income areas. 149 The majority of the students to which I spoke tended to use language around either following their bliss or having some kind of plan A and plan B. Students' social class influenced these discourses in different ways. Those students who came from Westside schools (Cedar Valley and Elmwood) talked about having backup plans, but their orientations were to apply to more than one university, and, as a last resort, to also apply to a college. These plans were not about choosing different careers, only the institutions where they would acquire their education and credentials. These students expressed more confidence in choosing their futures based on the kinds of interests they had. Gray's (2004) findings reflected this as he found that students whose parents went to university were more likely to see that as their own choice. The students in my study also saw their choice as based on a hierarchy with some postsecondary institutions positioned as first choice and others listed as second. They also seemed to have a keen sense of how to manipulate the system, as several students expressed the belief that they could and would find other routes into university usually through colleges. For example, Dim Sum from Cedar Valley, understood that there was a hierarchy in his planning. "I want to go to university. Yeah, I think that's going to be my first choice and if it doesn't work out, college. And if that doesn't work out then going and looking for a job. Going and looking for a job i f everything fails." Mike, a student at the same school as Dim Sum, spoke of the hierarchy of post high school choices. "Like my plan is arts for a year or two and then business. Which would have been my original thing but I don't have a 92% average.. .Either go to Langara or go to university." Mike had a keen sense of how to get around the barrier of not having high enough grades, knowing that once he was in the system it became easier to switch between programs. 150 Karen, from Elmwood, expressed the same plans about how to get to university, "Yeah and I'm kind of like, oh well i f I don't get into university then I can go to a college and then bump up to university and. But I'm hoping to get straight into university." Those students that knew very clearly that they wanted to go to university also knew that plan B was a college from which they could maybe transfer later to university. Some students like Vanessa from Cedar Valley, regarded college as the place for those students who had not yet decided where they want to go. "I always thought that college was for people that weren't as decided. Isn't that true? Or college is also for people who don't graduate?" Students at Pinetree and Oak Hil l (Eastside schools) were more likely to express concerns about not getting into university, or worry if they did not have their plans locked down. While there was a sense that students in Westside schools would delay making choices, there was a different view expressed by Eastside students. These students spoke about barriers that they would be facing in regards to going to university. These students were also more likely to select college as the first choice, whereas the Westside students were more likely to view college as the second and least desirable choice, or a choice that was going against the norm of the school. Again this reflected ways that career education was involved with the reproduction of socioeconomic differentiations. Those students who knew they could afford to go to university were less likely to choose backups that were less expensive such as going to college, or taking a job that could help support them through their postsecondary experiences. Nava, a student at Pinetree, spoke very succinctly about having backup plans and how the teachers at his school influenced how he thought about his future plans. When asked to 151 describe his future plans he outlined his desire to go to college for airplane maintenance, and described one teacher's response to his future plans. But when I came to Pinetree and then Miss A. came in, and all the other teachers said what are you going to do in the future? So you have plan B, plan C? What's your plan? And I'm like, I only have one plan, that's to go to BCIT and they're can't do this. You have to have second plans. It's not going to work out for you. Because everyone has plan 2, because plan 1 doesn't work, you go to plan 2. When students were perceived to be at-risk they were more likely to be encouraged to consider multiple pathways to finding a career in order to make sure that they were developing in appropriate ways (Heaven, 1994; Withers & Batten, 1995). Ella, from Oak Hil l , spoke about applying to colleges as a way for getting into university later on. "[I will] probably go to UVic or Capilano College and transfer later on.. .I'm going to apply to everything. But that's important because then you get the option, and they're not choosing you, right?" Unlike the Westside students who assumed they would get into university and relegating college to a backup, this student planned to go to college first in order to get into university later. Her assumption was that she would not be able to go straight into university. Alexandra, at Pinetree, also understood the need to have more than one plan for her future. Her understanding of multiple plans was based on her perception of an unstable labour market where it was less likely that people would be able to obtain their first choice in employment or career options. "I've been told that's not too safe all the time. I've been reading a lot of stuff in the newspaper about how even if you have a university degree, like a Bachelor's degree. It still doesn't mean you're going to get a high paying job, and I don't know." Alexandra spoke about the pressure to make the right decision for her post high school route, and she described feeling very reticent about choosing the pathway that was going to be right for her. 152 The concept of a career and how adolescents choose these careers has become contingent on how much money it was possible to earn in a given occupation (Wyn & White 1997). The Westside students with plan B's were choosing between high status occupations -whereas the Eastside students were making contingency plans if they did not have the grades or the money to get in to postsecondary. In this way they could be schooled for a particular social class bias (Fine et al., 2004). Several of the Eastside students chose further education pathways based on what they thought they could get into and positioned more risky options for their second choices. The only school that talked about what students would need to do to afford to pay for postsecondary was Oak Hil l , where students were encouraged to look at the financial obligations of postsecondary education, and to make sure they had enough money to apply. Students were also encouraged to look at student loans and scholarship information. Financial concerns were thus talked about in different ways and students were encouraged to use college, a less expensive form of education, as a way to get an education. In the Eastside schools there was a concern with having enough money to go to postsecondary, while in Westside schools (Cedar Valley and Elmwood) money only entered into the discussion when discussing careers that offered higher salaries. Discourses of Jobs and Careers In trying to understand how the students in my study started to make sense of their career choices, one of the things that became significant was how students understood or differentiated between a job and a career. My study is not the first to ask about how youth make sense of jobs and careers. Dwyer and Wyn (2001) talk about the meaning of career in their study, and their respondents felt that a career was quite different from having a full time job (or what I am calling employment versus a permanent job). In their study they found that 153 many graduates understood career to mean something different than permanency or full time work, and that conceptions of career were starting to broaden out. While it is hopeful and significant to think of career as a more broadened concept, the teachers and students in my study represented jobs and career in very traditional ways. In their large scale Alberta study, Pyne and Bernes (2002) found that career was most often defined in high schools as a lifelong job, or as a history of your occupations. This study found that there was little distinction between what was meant by occupation versus what was considered a career. As such, work becomes constructed as a static force in which all people take on the role of being a worker in a unitary way. Significantly, Pyne and Bernes (2002) did not differentiate between a job and career. What appears to be missing from these studies is the connection between how youth are learning about careers and jobs, and the roles schools and teachers play in this process. My findings are similar to those of the above mentioned studies; the majority of students described a career as something that was long term and leading to the end of work, whereas jobs were viewed as temporary and current and a way to make money. There were however new insights; one of the most significant emerged in the ways that students talked about jobs. There were social class differences in how students spoke about jobs. Jobs for students from the Eastside schools included working at McDonald's or in retail. In.contrast, the Westside students saw a job as working at the local Safeway. As with the discussion about employability skills, jobs and careers have become value laden (Griffith, 1988), and there were very specific class orientations evident in what options were available for Eastside and Westside students regarding temporary employment. The 'McJob' notion represented those low paying jobs which people use to make money (Postman, 1995). 154 However, while one can make money working at a McJob, these jobs were not thought of as sustaining or providing a wage from which an adult could live comfortably. In contrast, Safeway was thought to be a fairly high waged temporary job which had other advantages including union protection and benefits. As was highlighted previously, several teachers used McDonald's jobs as warnings. Significantly, it was the students from the Eastside schools who spoke primarily about jobs as working at McDonald's. These fast food jobs were on par with retail work. Mary Jane from Pinetree spoke about jobs in this way, "I think a job would be working at McDonald's for example..'. Jobs? Maybe like being a clerk in a shoe store, or something." For Nava, also from Pinetree, jobs were consistent with either fast food or retail. "Ok, like McDonald's. You're not going to work there forever. Working at Metrotown, Sport Check, Tramps, things like that. Just like fast food restaurants, sports, clothing stores. Places like that." For some students, like Timmy from Oak Hil l , McDonald's represents a job because it was thought to be temporary employment. "Like, you're going to stick to it and I guess just a job would be, you know, McDonald's for a year and then Radio Shack for a year." Ella from Oak Hil l chose McDonald's as an example of a job because she did not think it was an occupation that made you a better person, which was for her the difference between a job and a career. And a job? A job is if I was going to McDonald's and working or something. Because it's not something that will affect you and make you into...that will change you and make you become something that you's not intriguing, you know what I mean? It doesn't make you think, oh, I never thought about that before or something like that. McJob's were those jobs that were deemed to be less desirable and temporary. 155 The students from the Westside schools (Cedar Valley, Elmwood) spoke about the temporal and economic positioning of jobs in similar ways although interestingly they did not mention McDonald's as 'the' generic job. The students on the Westside were more likely to connect a job to working at Safeway, a significantly different kind of job from working at the local McDonald's. Here again, how jobs were talked about illustrated another site of class differentiation; Safeway was a fairly high waged, unionized job, in comparison to the non-unionized minimum waged McDonald's (White & van der Velden, 1995). While these students also mention other jobs like secretaries, waitresses, or custodial staff, many of the students from Cedar Valley and Elmwood used Safeway as the example of a job that they could have or as something for people who did not yet have careers. For example, Galadrial, a student at Cedar Valley, saw a job as, "more stuff like secretarial work and things like i f you're just working in like a mall or something or like Safeway type place." For Emily, from Elmwood, jobs were ".. .like mowing the lawn for money or working at the Safeway. There's nothing wrong with working at Safeway, but I think that most people who work there are planning to go on to something else." Safeway in this instance was used in the same way as McDonald's was for the Eastside students. It was a starting point that would lead to other things, but was indicative of a low waged job that was accessible to students in their age range (Wyn & White, 1995). Georgia, a student at Elmwood, spoke about having a job working at the local Safeway, but saw it as a stopping off place where you could eventually get promoted to work as a manager in local businesses. Several students already worked at a local Safeway or aspired to have a part time job there eventually. Mike, a student from Cedar Valley, like Georgia had part-time jobs at Safeway. Nancy, from Cedar Valley, who when asked whether 156 she had a part-time job said, "No, not right now, but I am hoping to get a job at Safeway so I can earn some money." While the conception of a job was marked by a class bias, notions of career were similar across all of the schools regardless of the East/West distinctions reproduced by the teachers. Almost uniformly, careers were described as professions. For example, Kea from Pinetree described a career as ".. .not like a dishwasher or something like that. I think to actually have a career is someone who's a teacher, or an engineer or prime minister..." Similarly, Vanessa from Cedar Valley said a career was, "Well, like lawyer's a career. Doctor, those kind of... Well, anything, except for being.. .1 don't think a career is like waitressing." Nancy from Cedar Valley also used the professions to describe careers that people could have. I think more along the lines of actually going to become a lawyer or a doctor or an engineer or I don't know, a teacher.. .They can become doctors and they can become lawyers and teachers, engineers and they can own their own company. They can do anything. Mozart from Oak Hi l l specifically spoke about careers as medicine, while Gemini, also from Oak Hi l l , felt that having a career meant being a doctor or a teacher. While jobs were differentiated for the students depending on the schools they attended, almost every student spoke about careers through the professions of doctors, lawyers and engineers. The kinds of options that students in my study talked about in terms of career choices were very much dependent on their social locations and the perceptions of the kinds of options that were open to them. University is clearly one of the most important routes to having that career; however it still appears that career identities are schooled differently based on the perceptions of social class (Williams, 1995). This was evident in the ways students answered the question of what they wanted to be when they grew up. Several of the 157 students at the Westside schools talked about going to postsecondary education when asked what they wanted to do after high school, the kind of education that would lead to a profession. For example, Nancy from Cedar Valley was one of the students who very clearly stated that she wanted to choose a career that would make a lot of money or have a large amount of prestige. When I graduate I'm going to go straight to university and I am going to apply at plenty. I want to become a lawyer so it's going to take awhile. Yeah, I've always been debating between a paediatrician, because I really like kids, or a lawyer. But I finally decided that I think I'm going to go for a lawyer. Georgia from Elmwood had a similar debate going on about his future career choices. "Well I'm thinking realistically I might go into I guess law, physiotherapy, pharmacy. Those are maybe my top three I guess." But Georgia's decisions were quite significantly influenced by perception of socioeconomic status, because he also said, "I mean I don't want to be poor. I mean, I don't need to make a doctor's salary or anything but I want to make 55, 60 a year." Thus, for some of the students in my study, professional job choices were based on the understanding that these were the careers that were more likely to provide a higher socioeconomic status, but moreover, students understood they would have access to the postsecondary education that was more likely to lead to careers in the professions. With all of the pressure on students to go to university, it was not surprising that some resisted the Westside construction that all students go to university. This resistance emerged in the ways some students went against the expected pathway to career. Galadrial, from Cedar Valley, expressed how difficult it was to go against the stream by choosing the lesser respected option of going to college. She talked about the pressure associated with deciding on one career and how that decision was life changing. 158 .. .1 just had a big kind of life I'm not going to go to university, I'm going to go to college and do something completely different. Because I want to go to Cap College.. .they have a like a costume program for film and movies and I just decided that I was going to do that instead of going to university, which I figured I would always do. And I had always thought that I was going to go to university and then I started freaking out because my grades weren't as good as I had hoped and I didn't know if I even necessarily wanted to go to university, but I just always thought that you were supposed to. And then I talked to my mom, and we figured out, you know what, you don't have to. There's other better things and so we found this program and it just looks really good. For those students who always expected to have careers that required university education, changing courses marks a very significant shift in career identity. Moreover, it highlighted the pressure placed upon students by teachers and peers to go to university to get that profession, and points the importance of parental support to succumb or resist social expectations. While students from the Westside spoke about university, students from the Eastside schools seemed to have an understanding of the instability of the labour market when they , thought about their career choices. Several students identified unique strategies with which to deal with the perceived instability. Some of the students were making plans for their initial jobs in the work force and for the jobs they would like to have later on. These backups were consistent with the findings around Eastside schools encouraging students to have multiple career choices or more than one career identity. For several of the students at Pinetree Secondary, initial occupational choices started out as temporary. For example, Nava expressed a current career choice and a future one. "Aircraft maintenance, engineering and I will take that course and as soon as I'm done that, I'm going to go to pilot's school." This was another example of the ways in which temporality came into play. Mary Jane, also from Pinetree, thought about her career choices in similar ways. "Well I took the hairdressing 1 5 9 program so I'm probably going to be a hairdresser for a while until I figure out what I really want to do. I definitely want to do something creative. I'm into photography and art and... I would eventually like to maybe make films." For Mary Jane the hairdressing program offered enough financial stability to be able to make other plans and to explore other career options. Having one career path that fed into the other was an important way to think about career choices for students at Pinetree. Berwin described electronics as his career choice for the moment; he was already taking courses to earn an electronics degree through a special joint program with BCIT. Even though he was currently enrolled in a program that would lead to a job, Berwin said, "Yes, I can't see myself staying there forever, but that will be where I can pay for an education if I want to go somewhere else." A l l three of these students seemed to have an understanding that they could have jobs that would help them fund other forms of education. Also they recognized that they might want or need to move on to another occupation, regardless of the fact that they are currently training to work in these occupations. These students have developed understandings of multiple career identities that involve starts and stops, moving from vocationalism to professionalism (Saragni, 1996). As was pointed out earlier in the chapter, some students were encouraged to do whatever they are passionate about, while others were encouraged to have more than one plan in place. These back-ups, overtly acknowledge the barriers (and the social class perceptions of barriers) that students face that might force them to make alternate decisions around career choices. Dwyer and Wyn (2001) suggest that there is "a growing uncertainty about 'career'," and this leads to an increasingly difficult relationship between full time work and having a permanent job, and when that job becomes a career" (p. 184). Beck (2000) and Heinz (2001) remind us that the labour market is becoming more and more unstable with 160 young people expecting to have more and more career changes. This understanding of an unstable market influenced several students in my study. What is significant about this finding is that those students who understood or at least talked about the variability of the labour market were most likely to be located in Eastside schools, whereas Westside students were more likely to focus on university as the route to getting to professional careers. As Grubb and Lazerson (2005) highlight, professionalism is privileged as the ideal and dominant choice in terms of the future of career choices. However, it is also likely that students were influenced by their parents and guardians working lives, and understandings of the labour market may be reflective of parents who have experienced more or less employment stability. Further Tensions: Class, Gender and Race in the Schooling of Sameness Several tensions became apparent through this study; one of the most significant was the way in which discussions of social locations or understandings of gender or race were not spoken about explicitly. The teachers of the CAPP curriculum did not account for issues of gender or race, or the difficulties faced by minority and oppressed groups in society (Bascia & Young, 2001). There was one school in my study where these tensions became central to my understanding of the school. I focus particularly on Mr. Christie's classroom at Pinetree, for this discussion because I spent the greatest amount of time in his classroom and thus had the greatest opportunity to view the ways in which issues of class, gender and race played out. Mr. Christie from Pinetree Secondary provided a salient example of the ways in which teaching practice reflected sameness on the surface, but in fact reflected the raced, classed and gendered intricacies of a Vancouver classroom. Mr. Christie's language in the classroom and in the interview highlighted the ways in which he thought about his students 161 as being differentiated. He believed that all of his students should and could get jobs. However, this meritocratic belief of equal footing was in stark contrast to the way he actually talked about his students and how he taught them in the classroom. For example, when talking about the ways in which students saw their futures, Mr. Christie said that: That's just a guess. I think some kids see the university as being the be-all and the end-all, and I think it's partly the immigrant parent. And I think, it's a good worthy goal, but sometimes I think we're putting square pegs into round holes. Some of these kids would make excellent electricians, plumbers and they would have a great, happy life. Sometimes you're just not meant to be academic. Get a job and enjoy life. In this comment the immigrant community was viewed as better suited to manual labour or trades. This contradicted his approach to teaching all students to do well and succeed at getting jobs. McCallum and Demie (2001), in their research, found that there was a correlation between ethnicity and social class and how well students perform at school, suggesting that those students from different ethnicities are at a disadvantage. This previous quotation also pointed to the ways in which employment hierarchies privileged some forms of employment over others. In this case the trades were represented as a lesser kind of choice more suited to minority students. In my observations of Mr. Christie's classroom, I noted how he focused specifically on the male students. Mr. Christie embodied a masculinist and racist ethic in many of the ways he spoke to and taught students. For example, during the CAPP nugget on appropriate clothing, he brought in suits to demonstrate how one might dress for specific occasions. He did not, however, bring any examples for the women in his class. This lesson was geared solely to the boys with only little discussion on what girls should wear. This suggested that, in Mr. Christie's view, a worker is male, although in a later lesson he did tell the girls to prepare for interviews by putting on makeup, wearing low heels and doing their hair and 162 nails. Girls were often the subject of sexist comments in this classroom, including comments about girls being pretty, or that that girls' roles were to help the boys figure things out. In one instance Mr. Christie made reference to students needing a nice binder for their mock interviews, turned to one girl and said "get leather like your underwear." The "students" that Mr. Christie tends to talk about are de facto male, this lack of distinction between students, while not surprising, was quite shocking in this particular classroom in which there was very overt privileging of male students and masculine adult t identities (Davies, 1989). Thus, while Mr. Christie claimed to be teaching the same skills to all of his students, in fact he was describing working identities that were decidedly masculine and presumably of value. Another example of ways in which a cultural bias was evident in Mr. Christie's classroom was during a lesson on how people select their jobs. Mr. Christie highlighted some of the main criteria including: interest, talent/skill/ability, benefits, social aspects, vacation and time-off. Mr. Christie then asked the students what kinds of jobs they wanted. A young Asian female answered the question by pointing out that "my parents will tell me what I will do when I grow up" intimating that it was part of her culture. Mr. Christie laughed at this comment and then quickly moved on, not stopping to address the ways in which culture might affect the ways career choices or how they might be influenced by cultural background and gender. In another instance, Mr. Christie felt that it was important that his students knew that it was possible for students to get scholarships to go to university, that "it wasn't just the Chinese students" who received awards. These examples highlighted some of the ways in which difference played out in the classroom. 163 While Mr. Christie did not take up the relationship between culture and gender in career choices, the students in his class seemed to have an understanding of the ways in which this social position would affect the kinds of choices they could make. Nava was a student in Mr. Christie's class and he talked a great deal about how his cultural background had affected his choices in school. I like school because back in my country, Sri Lanka is where I came from, it is really hard to get an education and my dad he actually got kicked out of school in Grade 10. Well for me I didn't want to go to school myself, but I talked to myself, it's my goal to go past my dad because that's what he wants out of me, right? Go past school.. .that's what my father wants, and that's why I take school seriously and that's why I want to go as far as I can. Nava had a very keen understanding that his educational choices were related in significant ways to cultural/familial expectations. Other students in Mr. Christie's class made specific references to the ways they felt their cultures were influencing their understandings of careers. Alexandra talked specifically about how she was expected to follow a prescribed route from high school to university based on parental cultural expectation. "I've decided that I'm going to go to U B C for maybe... I want to do a lot traveling too. At first I wanted to take a year off, but I'm first generation Chinese Canadian, so my parents, we have a lot of cultural and language barriers." Alexandra was keenly aware of the ways in which culture affected the choices she could make at school. She also spoke specifically about the auto mechanics courses as being influenced by cultural groups. "I took auto mechanics last year and a whole bunch of them were there. And a lot of it's divided by ethnicity too. General ethnicity. Maybe more Spanish 17 or Latino. And then we've got what we call the Hongers." 1 7 Hongers refers to new immigrants from Hong Kong, and it is sometimes used as derogatory comment. 164 It is important to point out that while Mr. Christie's classroom style was masculinist, racist and sexist, the students very much embraced his pedagogy. Some of the students felt like Mr. Christie was talking to them in "real world" kinds of ways and that as a teacher he was in fact "cool." Perhaps what this highlights is that students' expectations of the real world include language that pushes the boundaries of racism and sexism (Lesko, 2001). While Mr. Christie was teaching students that they could succeed if they just worked hard, his expectations of students were influenced by his perceptions of their social class, culture and gender. Summary The role of schools in producing understandings of what it meant to have career or a job highlighted the ways in which students learned to be workers or to be employable. Some of the key findings of this chapter included the ways in which schools have moved from teaching about employment to that of employability, as was evidenced in the use of employability skills to teach students about what it means to be a worker. Employability skills were presented as inherently generic. The use of employability started to teach students that anyone can be employed if they learned particular skills. While the CAPP IRP explicitly used ESP of the Conference Board of Canada, the teachers did not take up this tool, instead the language of employability emerged in their use of hard and soft skills and aspects such as life skills.. The use of employability skills marked an important class bias. This bias was evident most specifically for those students on the Eastside, for whom the teachers saw a more identified need to learn how to be employable. The Westside students, in contrast, were assumed to already have the softer skills of having the right attitude or behaviours and thus 165 were pointed to the harder skills such as learning to write a resume. A n important critique of this blanket use of employability skills included the ways in which they were presented in isolation for students. Skills were presented outside of a social context and without relationship to the labour market, or an understanding of the constant shifting of the nature of work. Another important area touched on in this chapter looked at the kinds of advice given to students about how to choose a pathway to career. These pathway expectations were based on a socioeconomic bias. Some students were urged to choose careers based on passions, while others were told to have more than one backup plan. Students from the Westside were more likely to be advised to follow their bliss and thus delay decisions about what kinds of careers they wanted to have, whereas Eastside students were told to hurry up and choose and to not waste time, furthering the perception that these students were less likely to achieve their first choices. This following your bliss discourse encouraged some students to resist the plans set out for them by parents and other social forces, while the second approach schooled students for difference as it was possible that in urging students to have more than one backup plan, they would more likely choose the route they thought they could attain. The concern with this kind of advice is highlighted by Fine and colleagues (2004) who, in their study, found that students in California schools who were assumed not to be headed for further education were more likely to be under-prepared for the postsecondary education that would allow them greater social mobility. The last part of this chapter showed the ways in which students understood the concepts of job and career. Students' understandings of jobs were shown to have a social class bias. Where Eastside students saw jobs as working at McDonald's, Westside students 166 saw jobs as working at Safeway. These findings point to the ways in which social class is further reproduced in career education classrooms in the ways in which notions of jobs were presented and furthered. The other important finding was that careers were uniformly seen by students as professions, however it was the Westside students who saw themselves as having the greatest access to these professions. The Eastside students, in contrast, had a greater understanding of the instability of the labour market. Finally, this chapter highlighted the tension found with respect to class, gender and race, focusing specifically on Mr. Christie's classroom to show the ways in which the social locations of students emerged as significant. Issues of race, class and gender were intertwined in the reproduction of career understandings for students. While these issues were never spoken about explicitly in the pedagogy, they were very present in the language and function of the classroom. When these social locations are ignored, career education continues to reproduce a discourse of career as generic and accessible to all students; blatantly ignoring the social stratification and systemic barriers that many students face as they enter into the work force. What has had little focus up until now has been the role of schools in producing what it means to be an adult. The next chapter will explore in more detail how adulthood is taught in schools focusing specifically on the career education classrooms in my study. This chapter examines the ways in which traditional forms of adulthood are prescribed offering an understanding of adulthood contingent on choosing and obtaining a career. 167 CHAPTER 6 - DISCOURSES OF ADULTHOOD: MOVING FROM DEVELOPMENT TO LIFE COURSE As I explored how the CAPP curriculum was enacted in these four Vancouver schools it became evident that another key process was underway. Career was shown to be a major aspect of how adulthood was defined. This section looks specifically at the discourses of adulthood that were reproduced in schools, and how students started to understand the ways in which adulthood was integrally linked to how they were learning about careers. Wyn and White (1997) remind us that the transition to adulthood is reliant on perceptions of fixed notions like work. Constructions of adulthood were important for this study because schooling was one of the important spaces where students learned about their adult roles. Career education classrooms taught students how to choose the careers which were, as this chapter will demonstrate, one of the major markers of the ascension to adulthood. Closer examination is needed to better understand the role of the career education classroom in high schools and the work of teachers in helping to define the transition to adulthood. The first section explores a developmental discourse that emerged during my interviews with students and teachers. The language of ages, stages and behaviours were central to how teachers and students talked about what it meant to be an adult. The reliance on traditional notions of development spoke to the ways in which students accepted or resisted the idea of entering into a space called adulthood. This analysis seeks to trouble the static ways adulthood has been talked about in schools, highlighting how the developmental language was internalized and reproduced. There were also fissures in this discourse. Adulthood was resisted by students, some of whom found it difficult to relate traditional markers of adulthood to their material lives. 168 The next section of this chapter looks at the ways in which teachers and students started to step outside static and familiar ideas of adulthood as an age/stage/behaviour. This section examines the ways adulthood was resisted by students when they spoke about adulthood in relation to maturity. The following section explores a critical link between career and adulthood and how employment was intertwined within this discourse. Career became the ultimate definer of what it meant to be a successful adult. The data in this section explores some of the ways in which students and teachers connected having a career to what it meant to be an adult. If career has a temporal quality, something we saw very vividly in previous chapters, it starts to be represented as an end point rather than a means to an end in regards to providing the money and material resources to support other demands of adult life. This section shows how students accepted developmental notions of adulthood in which career was constructed as essential for a successful transition. Finally, the work of Walter Heinz (1999) is used to offer a theory of life course as an alternative way to think about the process of becoming adult. Life course theories allow for a more relational understanding of adulthood. This shift opens up possibilities for broadening the ways career education could be taught to students. The chapter concludes by asking how and in what ways conceptions of adulthood affect the possibilities of a career education classroom. A Stable Discourse of Development: Adulthood as Ages, Stages and Behaviour The language of development was forefront in the CAPP classrooms in which I observed, as well as in the student and teacher interview data. Developmental language refers to the psychological ways in which the life course was described as having universal stages 169 that lead from birth to death (Lesko, 2001). In my study there were consistent ways in which adulthood was equated with a one-dimensional and linear conception of the life process. At the same time, there were significant deviations and resistance to developmental notions of adulthood. Students both accepted and contextualized the ways in which adulthood was imposed upon them, and offered important ways to think about the connection between adulthood and their future lives as workers. Ages One of the primary questions of this study was to ask in what ways students and teachers talked about adulthood and how it was linked to notions of career. How students and teachers understood adulthood was part of a 'normalizing' discourse (Fraser & Gordon, 1997). Both students and teachers saw adulthood as a combination of ages, stages and behaviours that were to be traversed. Ages of adulthood were often defined by fixed perceptions of a particular birthday or age indicator that would mark the entrance into an adult world (Wyn & White, 1997). The ages between 20 and 30 took on specific meaning, as the students in this study often located adulthood as falling in that range. For example, Nava from Pinetree initially described adulthood as a precise location. "Ok, in my culture, you're not an adult until you're 25, 26, or sorry, 26, 27." Nancy from Cedar Valley had a similar conception of the age marker of adulthood, as she said, "Yeah or maybe. I don't know, maybe like 26." For Vanessa, also from Cedar Valley, it was a little less specific. "Probably over the age of 20." Many of the students appeared to be reaching for a specific number with which to pinpoint the ideal turning-point where they would become an adult. Nava, Nancy and Vanessa all had an understanding of adulthood that fit into a sequential model of development found in the work of theorists like 170 Erik Erikson (1978) who locates eight levels of development based on chronological age. At each level a conflict specific to that age period must be met and resolved before advancing. While students talked about a specific age that marked adulthood, somewhere between the ages of 18 and 30, the understanding of age as a way to define adulthood was also wrapped up in the social positions of the students. For example, for Nava the age of adulthood was specific to his cultural background. While he first thought that adulthood was defined by a specific number, Nava revised his answer in a way that challenged this age conception. "Officially, until you get married, you're not officially an adult. You're always a kid. I have a cousin who's 25 and we still treat him like a kid. We don't let him work. My mom doesn't let him work. She's like, no, you don't work, just relax and have fun." For Nava, 25 started off as the definitive way to separate adolescents from adults, but there was a clearly recognizable shift that happened for him. Adolescence could persist i f other aspects of adulthood were not in line, such as marriage (Scheer & Unger, 1996). Nava also points to a characterization of adulthood that was in contrast to an imagined "care-free" adolescence. For other students, the location of a specific age intersected with socioeconomic status, which had implications for an adulthood that was different i f a person was living at home versus still in school. Mozart, from Oak Hil l , described age and financial independence as key to the process of becoming an adult. " A teenager. A teenager must first cease to be a teenager. He must be in his 20s at least to be an adult. And he also must be able to support himself, no longer dependent on his parents or dependent on anyone else. [H]e knows what he's doing for work." For Mozart, adulthood happened when a person was in their 20s, but it was also contingent on being financially independent from the family unit, and being financially independent was contingent on having a career. The implication of this 171 understanding of adulthood links to expectations of socioeconomic status as there was a material and monetary aspect to being an adult. As was discussed previously, students from Eastside schools were encouraged to know what it is they want to do right away, there was no delay. The career imperative was reflected in the way this Eastside student spoke about adulthood. Significantly, Mozart, a young woman who had recently emigrated from China, described an adult with a masculine pronoun, which highlights how gender is operating in conceptions of adulthood. In schools, hegemonic masculinity is often the norm used to determine adulthood (Connell, 1995; Walkerdine, Melody & Lucey, 2001). Timmy from Oak Hi l l offered a similar age expectation of adulthood to that described by Mozart, as he provided a specific age location as well a qualifier. Leaving home and becoming more self-sufficient emerged as an essential condition of adulthood. I guess when he gets the responsibilities of an adult, then you actually get the meaning of it. Because right now, like I can consider myself.. .when I'm 18,1 could consider myself an adult, but i f I'm still living at home and you know, having my mom do my laundry and my dad cook for me all the time, it's not an adult. While adulthood could be located at the momentous age of 18, the shift to adulthood would be arrested or halted for youth who were unable to make the important break from the family unit. This halting or arresting of development highlighted a significant aspect of life that was not covered by developmental theories (Jones & Wallace, 1992). While there was recognition by the students of some of the barriers that might stall the transition to adulthood, they persisted in describing what it meant to be an adult along an age timeline. This stalling of adulthood still implied that there was a moment of life in which adulthood occurred but that the process might involve some bumps and stalls. 172 Many of the students tried to leave room for variability in when they might become adults. As Alex from Pinetree noted, "It depends person to person but I think generally it would have to be, probably... I think I used to associate more with a little bit older. After postsecondary, like, so maybe late 20s and 30s and beyond that are adults I guess." Alex, like many of the students in this study, located adulthood on a continuum strongly influenced by societal expectations of adulthood in the 20s and 30s, but along with an age expectation was the added stage of postsecondary education. A common theme in this study was that postsecondary education led to delays. In the previous chapter it was noted that postsecondary education could delay career choices. In this example, postsecondary education could delay adulthood. The transition to postsecondary education in these instances constituted a major interruption in the regular life course, while at the same time was normalized in career education as the pathway that most students were supposed to be taking when they graduate from high school. The use of postsecondary education as a marker for adulthood had an interesting social class implication. Students from the Westside, where postsecondary education was expected, were more likely to cite adulthood as contingent on finishing this formal educational process. But this marker of adulthood was only available for those students who had this social expectation or who could afford to go to university or college. Fine (2004) point to similar findings as they noted that perceptions of social class could influence postsecondary choices and the lack of focus on academics could unfairly disadvantage working class students. In my study this marker of adulthood was not accessible to all students, nor applied uniformly by teachers. 173 Just as the students spoke about ages with added stages, there were some teachers who located adulthood along an age timeline. For example, Ms. Black, the CAPP coordinator and teacher at Elmwood, thought that her students might reach adulthood in their mid 20s, "I would say about 25 based on my older kid's experience.. .but it really is whatever world the kids are put into." Thus, not only was there a specific age range where an adolescent might become an adult, but a variation depending on the context. Ms. Jones, the CAPP guidance coordinator at Cedar Valley, had a similar view, as she described adulthood in relation to her own children. "I think in their early 20s. I feel really strongly.. .from watching my own three kids." For those teachers with children, understandings of adulthood were often mediated through their own familiar child raising experiences, thus highlighting the ways teachers social locations were central to their understandings of adulthood. One of the problems with age-specific understandings of adulthood was the assumption, such as in Erikson's (1978) view of development, that i f an individual did not achieve the tasks associated with a particular age, such as getting married, getting a job, or leaving home, they and others will feel that they have not succeeded at meeting the requirements of that stage of life. These concerns were apparent for the students in this study, as issues of marriage, postsecondary education, and leaving your parents' homes were important stages that were linked to understandings of adulthood. For Erikson (1978) the transition into adulthood implied meeting certain criteria defined by behavioural and cognitive acts, and he recognized that a strong sense of identity led "naturally" to a capacity for interdependence. Levinson's (1986) model of development suggests that attaining adulthood follows a particular pattern. There is an assumed linear sequence from birth to death. What Levinson 174 suggests is that these sequences are predictable, thus it is possible to use numerical age distinctions to describe birth to adolescence to adult. Ages 17 to 22 are examples of the early adult transition ages, whereas 22 to 28 are when adolescents begin to enter the adult world and only at the adult ages of 33 to 40 do adults begin to settle down. Erikson's and Levinson's age models predict and determine what an individual should be doing at that stage of life. These developmental models could be used by institutions, like schools, to suggest that there should be specific ages and characteristics an individual must achieve in order to develop successfully (Lesko, 2001). For example, there are expectations of students' ages when they enter into a particular grade. Students who are too old might be thought of as out of synch with their classmates. What these developmental perspectives do not account for were the variations in how individuals experienced different ages of life, nor did they take into account differences in gender, race and class, which were tensions that could be seen in the responses noted by students (Lesko, 2001). Stages The concept of age was just one marker of the dominant model of development in career education classrooms. Students in this study also spoke about the stages of adulthood like leaving home, getting married, and having children as outside of an age marker. Many used traditional benchmarks to define when they thought they were going to be adults. These stages also contained ideological understandings of what a normal life course should look like for students. For Nancy at Cedar Valley, adulthood really began once a person got married. "I think right .when you get marriedls when you become an adult. Because now you're with 175 somebody and you're like just you two. Like your parents aren't there and, like, it's scary." Zara, from Oak Hi l l , offered a different approach to adulthood. Rather then defining it through marriage, she pointed to having children as one of the more significant aspects of adulthood. You have to do so much because usually you become a parent you're no longer by yourself. You have to think about your kids, right? So it is like you have to look at everyone around you. Because when you're a kid, teenagers are self centred, right? It's always about them.. .when you're an adult it's not always about you it's about everyone, especially when you have kids. It's not about you, it's about our kids. As with age related markers of adulthood, there emerged an interesting class dimension in the students' discussion of life stages as a way to chart adulthood. Zara, a student from a lower socioeconomic school community, did not have the same sense of a particular order of stages; having children was not dependent on getting married first. For Nancy, who came from a more affluent community, there was a distinct order of getting married and then having children. The concept of marriage and children as a benchmark for adulthood is not new and there are some significant gender critiques that ask about the ways young girls are socialized to think that marriage and children are part of the natural growth process of women (Lesko, 1996; Gaskell & McLaren, 1991). In line with these critiques, the students in this study who used marriage to define adulthood were girls who saw getting married and having children as natural and normal, something that Davies (1993) also points out in her work. McRobbie (1978) further connects this naturalization of gender to a social class analysis, as she points to ways in which dominant ideologies of gender and femininity are reproduced through schools. While the students referred to traditional stages of getting married and having children to define adulthood, the teachers did not offer the same conception. Indeed, several 176 of the teachers thought that their students would not really become adults until much later in their lives. Although the finishing of high school was a significant marker, Ms. Jones from Cedar Valley noted for her students that adulthood might be, "I think getting out of their self-centeredness. Seeing the world beyond their own little clique and I don't think that can happen unless you're very, very mature. Until you're out of high school, until you sort of let go of that." Ms. Brown from Elmwood thought that adulthood was even further away for her students. "And then there's some cases that, you know with some students, their parents drive them so hard that I don't think they ever get to become an adult till quite a bit later." The teachers seemed to be very consciously constructing students as not yet adults and not any time soon. These phenomena of arresting adolescent development was highlighted very clearly by Lesko (2001) and Wyn and White (1997) who point to how youth are positioned in ways that construct them as deficient or unable to take on adult roles. Mr. Christie from Pinetree expressed this concern when he said, "I think some of them already think they're adults." Wyn and White (1997) offer an explanation for the positioning of students by teachers as "underdeveloped" because of the values placed on certain individual characteristics, not unlike the ways in which employability became important in the previous chapter. These assumptions about how students could not possibly be adults reflected a developmental orientation whereby youth was this unfixed place where identity was more malleable, and that the transition to adulthood was marked by an identity that was stable and fixed (Wyn & White, 1997). Adults were supposed to know who they are, while youth were supposed to learn the aptitudes and behaviours that will allow them to enter the adult world. 177 Behaviour Ages and stages are often talked about conjointly in the adult development literature but there was an added important dimension in my study of behavioural expectations. Stages of adulthood were used to place particular behavioural expectations on adolescents. As with the previous discussion of discourses of careers in which students were encouraged to learn the right worker dispositions, stages of adulthood were not just the actions of getting married and moving out of the family home, they were also having the right behaviours. Adulthood was very much constructed as having the right attitudes and dispositions in order to be successful. Thus, this study broadens notions of developmental stages to include behavioural stages like leaving childhood behind, independence and responsibility. These were examples of the somewhat intangible future qualities that youth were expected to achieve in order to reach adulthood (Gould, 1978). This was significant considering the context of the career education classrooms in which students and teachers were talking about having the right attitudes for career; adulthood was constructed in similar ways. The stages of adulthood all seemed to be leading up to one large transition for students; that of leaving adolescence and childhood behind. Leaving childhood behind emerged as one of the significant ways that students described adulthood. For some students it was a difficult process, and one they might resist. For example, Nava from Pinetree said, "I know it's going to be harder. I can't slack off. I mean I can't do the things I did in high school." Nancy from Cedar Valley had a similar understanding of leaving childhood behind as she said, "almost the fun the.childhood stuff. Like that's all behind now." Karen from Elmwood thinks that adults have a particular kind of identity that was different from adolescents. She said of adults: 178 They're more mature. I find they can be more strict, I guess. Because right now in high school we're a little just like carefree, whatever like we can slack if we want to and just do whatever. And I find that adults have more of that drive to like, like it needs to get done kind of thing. These students constructed adulthood as the time to get serious, where fun was on the backburner; letting go of all aspects of a childish identity. In order to be an adult, many of the students felt that they were going to have to leave childhood behind and start behaving as adults and this shift was to be resisted. Georgia from Elmwood expressed this when he said, "I guess I'd rather be a kid my whole life then an adult, but that's not the way it goes, I have to be an adult." There seemed to be this ominous feeling for some students of having to leave the fun aspects of their personalities behind in order to enter this place that was adulthood. There were stages of life that would have to be learned i f students were to reach a successful adulthood. Once these expectations were met, they would transfer from the adolescence to adulthood. This orientation is similar to Roger Gould's (1978) suggestion that adulthood comes with the ability to separate oneself from the false assumptions of childhood. Once an adult makes the split from youthful longings and desires to more mature pursuits, he argues, only then can adults strive for a fuller more independent consciousness, which is the mark of adulthood. Gould portrays development as an adaptation to the changed expectations and circumstances associated with different life phases. Independence was an important behaviour that many of the students felt they would need to learn. Berwin from Pinetree spoke about adulthood "When they are out of the house, independent, doing everything by themselves." Nancy from Cedar Valley described adulthood as being ".. .way more independent. And there is so much more on your back." Gemini from Oak Hi l l spoke about independence similarly to the other students. "[Adolescents are adults] when they're like not living off their parents, and they are like 179 more independent." Being out of the house was a key factor for independence. The act of leaving the house could not be achieved without the right behavioural orientation. Responsibility was the other behaviour of adulthood that was important for students as they started to define adulthood. Dim Sum from Cedar Valley spoke about independence and responsibility conjointly, "Grown-ups for me are responsible. They're independent. They rely on other people, but not that much. Not like for me right now. I rely on them all the time." Alexandra from Pinetree explained it this way, "But an adult I think entails a lot of responsibility. Somebody who's really responsible." Gemini thought that "adults are very popular and they're responsible you know." Nancy said, "There's a lot more responsibilities. And it seems kinda scary to think that you are going to be living on our own and supporting yourself at one point." As with independence, being responsible was constructed in a way that defined when someone was an adult. Many of the teachers felt that responsibility was a key behaviour that students needed to learn. Mr. Christie pointed out, "I think an adult is someone who is responsible for their own lives and not have someone take care of them." Ms. Birch from Cedar Valley also used the language of responsibility, when she described an adult as ".. .someone who has finally learned how to take responsibility for their own actions. That's what makes you an adult." Taking responsibility for self was something that adolescents were perceived as not doing. Both Ms. Brown and Ms. Black, the CAPP teachers at Elmwood, constructed adulthood in relation to what they thought youth was. Youth was not yet taking responsibility for their lives. Ms. Black described adulthood as "accepting responsibility" and Ms. Brown mirrored this in her belief that adulthood was, "accepting responsibility, exactly, for the consequences that come with the choices that you do make." In both of these teachers' 180 constructions of adulthood, a deficit model was apparent; they knew what an adult was because youth were not these things. Nancy Lesko (1996) points out that "educators wait for kids to become mature and responsible and 'protect them' from themselves until they prove they are responsible" (p. 465). The CAPP curriculum was a good example of the notion that schools should both protect and prepare students for adulthood. Searching out the different ways that students and teachers talked about adulthood could help to uncover how we think about, and even teach, adulthood in high schools. This timeline approach to understanding the life cycle highlighted the process of becoming an adult based on certain benchmarks used to assess the difference between adults and adolescents. For instance, "adults" are eighteen, can vote and drink alcohol. They have passed through such rites of passage as marriage, child rearing, moving out of the family home and finding a job (Erikson 1978; Levinson, 1986; Neugarten, 1976; Riegel, 1973; Schlossberg, 1987). When developmental understandings of life become static, or part of an expected life course, it positions students, as Lesko (2001) points out, as waiting passively for their futures. Developmental perspectives attempt to universalize the experience of growth. These kinds of narratives were limiting, as they did not account for any of the multiple ways in which students experience life. Wyn and White (1997) remind us the developmental legacy is powerful and that it still continues to influence contemporary research, practice and policy regarding young people. One of the places in which the discourse of development still has a great effect is in carer education classrooms, as was the case with CAPP. In order to illuminate this connection it is important to explore the ways in which a developmental 181 approach continued to persevere through the teaching of adulthood in fixed, ahistorical, and decontextual ways (Wyn & White, 1997). The students in this study were not expected to be responsible in contrast to adults. Adolescents were constructed as not yet ready to know what it was they want to be when they grow up or needing guidance in order to figure out career options. This was one of the rationales used for the need for career education curricula across North America (Kazanas, 1981). The most often asked question for teenagers is, what do you want to do when you grow up? However, students did hot always answer that question in prescribed ways, and in some instances even tried to resist the construction of adulthood that positioned them in ways that were outside of their own experiences or understandings of what adulthood could mean. Resisting Adulthood The understanding of what it meant to be an adult was resisted by some of the students in this study. The result was that adulthood was reconfigured for some students as more relational. What I mean by this is that adulthood was set within a set of social relations in which context and social location mattered (Lesko, 2001). A contextual adulthood becomes a form of resistance in the ways in which it constructs an alternative discourse for development (Raby, 2005). One aspect of this discourse, which I am calling "life is a web" (an alternative to the pop culture anthem of life is a highway), reflected this life course model that allowed for variability and difference in how an adolescent could insert and remove themselves from the adult world. What makes the web metaphor useful is that there was no straight path. A l l of the strings of the web are interconnected and branch off in many directions. A web is multi-dimensional, malleable and it changes and adapts. While a web is also prescribed, it allows 182 for variability based on the ways in which the traveler chooses to weave their path. This metaphor challenges developmental notions of life as a highway; you do not just get on and off the roads. While there is only one main road for the traveller, re-envisioning this road as a web could allow for variability based on race, class, gender and other institutionalised aspects of identity (Wyn & White, 1997). One of the most apparent ways that the students started to unfix the concept of adulthood was through understandings of maturity. Rather than being constructed as a purely age-related concept, students started to position maturity as a relational thing. Even adolescents could be adults i f they were thought to have maturity. Mary Jane from Pinetree pointed this out when she noted, "I think there are people my age that I consider an adult just because of their maturity. I think it all just depends on the person." Zara from Oak Hil l also viewed adulthood as something that could be relevant to anyone, no matter what age or stage they were located in. "Because in all those like...because anybody can be like an adult. Like a five year old can be an adult." By unlinking adulthood from a linear age-dependent developmental model, students like Mary Jane from Pinetree and Ella from Oak Hil l , illustrated the possibility that you could embody aspects of adulthood at any part of life. This also spoke to the students' resistance to being constructed in deficit ways; i f adolescents could reclaim some of the aspects that were traditionally associated with adulthood they can reposition their roles in society as having some agency (Heinz, 2001). Other students saw this malleability in a different way; they suggested that it was possible for adults to always stay children. Ella thought that, "People can be kids forever"; other ways the students challenged the traditional gap between adult and adolescence is not such a big thing." Ella noted that sometimes age has no relevance to being mature. In a 183 similar way Emily from Elmwood found humour in the traditional age conception of adulthood, highlighting her own maturity as an example of the ways in which adulthood was becoming less static. When they turn 20 [laughs]. No, that's very funny, because we're talking maturity and that's very difficult to measure. I think some people become adult sooner than others. And some people never...their inner child is their outer child forever. They never progress beyond sort of teenage maturity.. .because that's like when you stop being a teenager, when you're out of your teens. That's just kind of a joke for me because I know a lot of older people who are just as mature as I am, and I'm a lot younger. These examples highlight the ways in which students were starting to tease out their similarities to adults in relation to notions of maturity. Adults may not really be adults, and teenagers may be closer to adulthood than they were perceived to be. In this case, acting like an adult was reminiscent of life as a web because of the ways students presented the possibility of getting on and off the road to adulthood or even taking different routes. One of the ways that students showed some resistance to traditional developmental constructions were in the persistence of the belief that individual context must be taken into consideration. Dim Sum from Cedar Valley seemed to have grasped an understanding of adulthood that was contingent on the experiences of each person. Depends on every single person. It's for some people, it might be really, really early, they know like. But for some people they get to realize it later in their life and sometimes it takes like a dramatic incident to happen to them to realize that, so they can become aware of the things going wrong. For Dim Sum, life events could change the stable course of development for people. This reflection was important because it suggested that no two highways were the same. Some of these students seemed to recognize that a seemingly stable concept of adulthood was starting to unravel in some ways. They were, in effect, turning adulthood on its head by suggesting 184 that adults could be kids, kids could be adults, and even more important, each individual might have a different experience of adulthood. For the students, maturity was part of the lexicon of terms that defined adulthood. While this concept had slightly different meanings for teachers and students, it seemed to mark a stage of adulthood that was resistant to the developmental model. As Kea from Pinetree pointed out, "I just think if you were to analyze an adult or a grown up I think things would come out like mature, responsible. I don't know, most of the good qualities that a lot of nice people have, you know what I mean, of generousness and so on." The notion of maturity reflected an understanding of adulthood as more fluid. Alex also from Pinetree highlighted this point. "I've been trying to tell myself not to associate age with maturity [laughs]. Because I've met a lot of immature older people [laughs], but an adult I think it entails a lot of responsibility, somebody who's really responsible." Alex points to the variability of the concept of maturity, allowing for those already supposed to be ascended to adulthood as not yet able to take on that role. The concept of maturity can be problematic when applied in decontextualized ways. Maturity must be troubled as a universal concept for both boys and girls. As Lesko (1996) points out, maturity is often thought of differently for girls; girls are often believed to mature at a younger age than boys. Maturity can also be a code for sexuality or promiscuity that constructs girls in negative ways. Maturity is also used to refer to girls who are thought to be more responsible, or the "good girl." In my study ^  Mr. Christie, a teacher at Pinetree an Eastside inner city school, described maturity as an aspect of adulthood that might be different for girls. "And yeah, the attitude, well some of the girls are adult in Grade 10, but 185 the boys are still pretty juvenile." In this example, gender intersects with some of the behavioural aspects of development that were applied to students. There were fewer examples of teachers than students who saw adulthood as relational, although one teacher did have this understanding. Ms. Smith from Cedar Valley said: I think some people would define it as you reach a certain biological, predetermined marker and that's you're an adult. You can legally drink, and you can legally do different things. I think to me adult is sort of a state of flux, it's a state of beingness. I don't think it's a defined thing. Like there's part of me that wants to stay a kid all my life. While the majority of teachers constructed adulthood as a static space, this teacher spoke about adulthood as a state of flux; something that was always shifting. While Ms. Smith was unable to define adulthood specifically, she knew she did not want to leave childhood behind. While the students and one teacher in my study seemed very aware of how adulthood could be relational, there are some critiques that address whether students were really moving toward a greater sense of a contextual adulthood. Wyn and White (2000) argue that there is the perception that adolescents exert far less individualism than was previously attributed to them. They suggest that what was presumed to be agency and individualism was really just patterned behaviour because of the influence of social structures. Furthermore, Wyn and White suggest that research needs to be much more sensitive to the ways young people actively reshape their lives in ways which both reflect and feed back into what they describe as contemporary institutional arrangements. Thus, they argue for a conscious relationship between different dimensions of youth experience and social structural processes. While this critique calls into question the amount of agency an individual has in travelling the life 186 course, it does not discount its existence, thus it requires consideration of some of the ways in which society works to suppress individualism. What makes this discussion of resistance relevant was that while students were very clearly challenging the developmental roles that schools encourage, they very much accepted career as a natural state of adulthood, and as such, there was very little challenge by the students or the teachers to the construction of career as a necessary stage of adulthood. Career as a Stage of Adulthood While students demonstrated some resistance to constructions of adulthood, the understanding of adults as having careers remained uncontested. Students tended to accept the role of adults as being workers. Discussions of adulthood tended to focus on adults as separate from children by carving out various duties (developmental tasks) for each age group (Havighurst, 1972). These tasks were part of a socially approved timetable for individual growth and development. A developmental task arises at or about a certain period in the life of the individual, and achievement could lead to happiness, while failure could lead to unhappiness. Getting a career was highlighted as an important developmental task for the students in CAPP classrooms. It was the one task that was seen as making or breaking the success of the transition to adulthood. Thus, while certain behavioural dispositions were an important aspect of stages of development, also important was the reproduction of an adult worker. Schools were supposed to teach students to be employable workers (Bowles & Gintis, 1976). The majority of students in this study had an expectation that they would need to find some kind of gainful employment in their adult years. Having a career was one of the primary ways that adulthood was described. However, the concept of a career was still J 187 somewhat elusive because for many students it still seemed beyond their reach, unlike the conception of a job, at which many students were already engaged in their spare time. Students spoke in unsure ways about what they wanted to be, even when they had already made postsecondary or college plans. While the students often cited the need for a career, many of them found it difficult to step outside of the dominant ideological image of a career as being a doctor, lawyer or engineer. The professionalization of career was a key finding in the previous chapter's discussion of discourses of career. The students recognized that they were supposed to be deciding in their teen years what it was they wanted to be when they grew up. CAPP highlighted the extensive preparation needed for adult working life when it focused on aspects like resumes, interviewing skills, and university and college preparation. The concept of having a career was fixed for the students, as there were no real alternatives to growing up and getting a career that were offered in any of the CAPP programs. Thus, career became linked to an adult identity because it was something that students knew they were supposed to have for the rest of their lives. This pressure of needing to choose a career served to work as a binary construction of adulthood for students: adults know what they want to do for a career, and adolescents were expected to find out (Dwyer & Wyn, 2001). In order to achieve a "successful" adulthood, students were expected to choose careers and know how to go about achieving them. Successful adulthood was often thought of as having a career that you could be happy With for the rest of your life. This was an interesting finding given that those students from the Westside were shown to be schooled in ways that promoted following their passions in deciding careers, whereas the Eastside students were more likely to be encouraged to choose careers quickly. Regardless of this difference, many of the students in this study were 188 working towards the goal of finding careers that would make them happy. For example, Gemini from Oak Hi l l suggested that adulthood might be "just happy with our jobs and happy doing what we want to do and like earning a good living." Success becomes equated with getting to have the career that the student most wanted. Another dimension of success was being able to have all the material trappings of adulthood. Mozart from Oak Hi l l spoke to this idea when she described being an adult. It's a person who can afford to support a family and who owns some property, like own a house or an apartment.. .you should own a house or a car. Yeah, be able to support themselves financially and mentally. You don't have to seek help from his parents or her parents anymore. There was a belief that careers were needed in order to support the stages of adulthood that were outlined previously. There was a societal expectation that adults had families, cars^  and homes, thus career became the factor that supported all of the other aspects of adulthood. There was little discussion by the students, however, of some of the systemic barriers that might make this kind of adult life impossible, or that issues of poverty might provide barriers to achieving financial success (Levin, 1995). A l l of the students had an expectation that they would be able to find a career that would provide economic stability even i f it required them to have more than one plan to get there (Wyn & White, 1997). The concept of a career was significantly connected to socioeconomic status (Hogan, 1980); a career that could provide material wealth. Many of the students expressed a concern about money and how to pay bills. They worried about how they were going to pay for everything they needed when they were adults. Nava from Pinetree described it as, "I'm thinking about family. That's what's coming into my head. Well, one thing about adults, I think about responsibility, dealing with money, financing, buying a house, getting family, children, supporting your parents when they get old. That's my big thing." Nancy from Cedar 189 Valley thought that one of the more scary aspects of adulthood involved having a job that would make enough money. "Money wise because right now my parents pay for all the bills and clothes I need and food and shelter. And I don't think I realize how much money's actually put down every month or whatever." The students in my study were very aware that money and financial concerns were something they would need to be concerned with as adults; and that managing those financial aspects would be necessary for successful adulthood. Timmy, from Oak Hi l l , viewed career as a way to afford many of the luxuries to which he had become accustomed to having in his life. How much money he could make in a career figured greatly into his career identity. "...I 'm really materialistic so I need something with good money." Timmy spoke of one potential career choice as related to high pay, "... You know I think i f I get into film editing, like I saw on the sites here that it can pay up to I think $100,000 a year, And with that you can do quite a bit, Like I love travelling so I'd like to go around and you know I'm materialistic, so nice cars and nice house." Economic determinism was thus also a part of how these students thought about adulthood. For Timmy, this went beyond an understanding of providing basic needs to a more luxurious understanding of what adulthood might entail; material trappings that are out of reach for some adolescents. Successful adulthood was also understood through an image of a professional. The centrality of a professional career as a necessity for adulthood was highlighted in the classroom activities. In one CAPP classroom, the students were learning how to tie ties. Mr. Christie from Pinetree, as noted in previous chapters, focused a great deal on the deportment of adults, and in this case male adults. One particular activity highlighted what Mr. Christie 190 thought these students would need to know about dressing for adulthood; which was something that his students picked up on. Nava related this activity to the kind of man he saw himself being in the future. This might sound pretty stupid but I think that tie tying.. .kind of prepared me because that shows that only adults could tie them. You know us kids, we don't. You don't really see us in suits everyday and everything, and when I tied the tie, I was like oh my gosh. This is what a man does. And wearing a suit is what a man does. Because when you think about.. .first when I visualize career or life or anything like that. I think of a person in a suit with a tie and going to work every day and that's what I want to do, and that's the activity that I think is useful. For Nava, adult life was signified by a man in a suit and tie that was going to work every day, and he saw this action as significantly different from the experience of adolescents. Moreover, there was a sense of social and socioeconomic status that was equated with men in suits. Images of adulthood are professionalized, masculinized and influenced by the belief that happy adults are the men in suits that have the really "good" careers (Connell, 1995). Often career meant something more than the part-time job many of the students already held. Rather a career was something that grown-ups would do for an extended period of time. Timmy from Oak Hi l l described adulthood as: ,r Like a steady job. Like, I know an adult would be around 19 or 20 or whatever, but to me, like, an adult would be someone with a career. They're actually in a job. They're not floating around. They're focused on one thing. For many of the students there was a sense that you would not truly be an adult until you had a job that you planned on staying in for a long period of time. This was reflected in Berwin's, a student at Pinetree, understanding of what a career meant. " A career is.. .ok, this is going to lead to my retirement. Even though people have many careers. To me a career is something that leads to the end of work." Thus, a career comes somewhere in the middle of the life 191 cycle and lasts until somewhere near the end. Interestingly there was no suggestion of when that part of life ends. Career becomes the longest stage of life experienced by a person. While Berwin also recognized the possibility of having more than one career, career had a strong temporal dimension; something that was had until retirement. It was for these students the most significant and defining aspect of what it meant to be an adult. If career had a temporal quality, then it becomes an end point in life rather than a means to an end in regards to providing the money and material resources to support other demands of adult life. In fact, it was as if career became embedded in the linear model, as it transcended the role of a stage of life, and became another way to think about defining a person, like child, adolescent and adult - so too does worker become synonymous with being an individual at a particular location on the lifeline. The teachers worried about the students' unrealistic expectations of a career and their lack of preparation for the adult role of worker. Ms. Birch from Cedar Valley said of her students, "I think they tend to think of careers as magical things, and I think one of our aims is to make them see it's not magical. It's all about decision making and experimenting and learning about yourself, that sort of thing." For the teachers, getting and keeping a career was a strategic action that required a great deal of thought and preparation, something she believed adolescents were unprepared to do. Lesko (2001) reminds us that adolescents are often assumed to be unable to realistically or capably think seriously about aspects such as careers. Wyn and White (1997) point to the ways in which institutions undervalue the lives of adolescents and the kinds of barriers and experiences they have that might be similar to that of adults. 192 Having a career becomes the most fixed understanding of adulthood because all adults need money to live and to thrive. These static notions can be seen in Bee's (1996) work, which argues that "human behaviour is relatively universal, biologically driven and age delineated" (p. 79). What possibilities are left unexplored by such a narrow definition? Few students spoke of other possibilities beyond finishing high school, moving out, getting a job, travelling for a short time, and making money. This was the reality that they were presented with in CAPP. In these ways adulthood was static and did not reflect the reality of life variations or systemic barriers. The next section asks how broadening understandings of life course might better serve a career education classroom. Connecting Adulthood to Career Education: Moving To Life Course Career education, as has been explored in this study, reproduced the dominant ideologies of society. Discourses of adulthood reproduced a developmental perspective whereby adolescents were integrally defined by stages of life, one of the key ones being having a career. Life in the discourses of adulthood emerged as something that happened "naturally." CAPP taught static conceptions of career, and in doing so presented the life course as one-dimensional and limiting for students. It was the purview of these schools to infuse students with the kinds of knowledge thought of as important about how to live in the adult world. With career development as the mandate of the public school system, it was necessary to ask whose values and conceptions of career and adulthood were taught and which behaviours were thought to provide equal success in life? Using the work of Heinz (2001) and others helps to question the role of the school and career education curricula such as CAPP in the transition to work. There was little questioning about students' different needs. In many instances students were learning the 193 same old static notions of adulthood found in the language of age and stage narratives espoused in psychological models of development. These static models were not working given the critiques found in the literature and in the public media that argue that students were not prepared and were not experiencing success in the labour market. Heinz (1999), along with other life course theorists like Shanahan (2000) and Becker-Schmidt (1991), offer conceptions of the life course that depict the stages of an individual's life as having multiple transitions. Life looks more like a web. Life course analysis situates the individual in the wider socioeconomic context, directing attention to the ways in which education and work are connected (Fames, 1996). The works of life course theorists mark a departure from classical ways of thinking about adult development and the transition from adolescence to adulthood because of the emphasis they place on the power of the economy and labour market to influence the life course. This theoretical perspective offers a vantage point from which to challenge the ways in which conceptions of adulthood further reinforce an ideological understanding of career. The life course, for Heinz (2001), is constantly changing, and the ages, phases and stages that are usually used to define it make it difficult to chart a stable transition to adulthood. Heinz depicts the stages of an individuals' life as having multiple transitions with the life course "traveller" taking part or having agency in how they travel this path. Even more notably, life course analysis situates the individual in the wider socioeconomic context of the ways in which education, work, culture and gender are connected (Heinz 1999). What makes the theorizing around life course so significant is its relationship to the economic processes of our society. The result is that life cannot be looked at as a cycle or a series of events, as was represented in the adult development literature, but rather the life course 194 perspective suggests that we must look at life as a series of status configurations (Allmendinger, 1990). This means that the life course and the development from adolescent to adult must be resignified. If we start to think about the growth of adolescents from a life course perspective, opportunities are opened up in which we can start to think about career education as an important opportunity for educators. Career does not have to be the end point of adulthood. When the developmental approach is challenged, it is possible to teach about careers and life as multifaceted and as having multiple pathways or transitions. The argument being that career education programs like CAPP should present adulthood relationally and be more responsive to the multidimensionality of the students. If CAPP was an example of the ways in which a lot of career education classrooms are structured, then there is a need for change. Thinking about the role of adolescents in how they learn about careers is an important space which needs to be opened up if we are ever to think of adolescents as actively engaging in learning how to fake on adult roles. Lesko (1996) points out that: The dominant concepts regarding youth's position in the western societies, 'development' and 'socialization,' make it impossible for youth to represent themselves since they are not fully developed or socialized. The adolescent borderland is strictly patrolled by a linear view of age, and age-linked development, (p. 457) Lesko's point resonates with the data from this study and connects well to the words spoken by Zara from Oak Hi l l , who said, "I think it's just a word for me, an adult.. .when you become an adult that just defines the age, not the feelings or, you know, social stuff." Conceptions of adulthood affect the possibilities of career education classrooms when they do not allow adolescents to become fully engaged in the process of thinking about what their 195 futures hold or providing images and understandings of adulthood that acknowledge the ways in which dominant ideologies are sustained and reproduced. Schools still encourage students to view themselves in relation to a developmental continuum that sees adulthood as contingent on ages and stages. We need sustained critical discussions about career education and how to develop career education curricula that equips students with a critical understanding of adulthood; one that helps them to challenge limited and limiting conceptions of successful adulthood that are found in the curriculum and elsewhere. The school is an important social institution, and because so much of what adolescents learn about adulthood is taught to them in school, it becomes a powerful producer of discourses of adulthood (Weedon, 1997). Summary This final chapter examined the discourses of adulthood that were prevalent for the teachers and students in my study. Understanding the ways in which adulthood was talked about served to highlight the ways in which career was signified by students at the very core of what it meant to become an adult. In uncovering these perceptions of adulthood the aim was to look at the interconnection of these two discourses by showing the interplay between how we teach students to be workers while informing and reproducing particular understandings of what it means to be an adult. The developmental approach was the dominant paradigm by which students and teachers spoke about the transition from adolescence to adulthood (Piaget, 1973; Vygotsky, 1978). While psychosocial models of childhood and developmental models have been useful tools in understanding the growth of an individual, this chapter highlighted the ways in which developmental language reproduced linear social expectations of the life course. Students and 196 teachers were shown to use three kinds of language that were exemplary of development, that of ages, stages and behaviour. Students often thought about adulthood as being a particular age, but there were added dimensions to their answers that included other factors like stages or social aspects like culture or personal experience. Another tension that emerged was in the use of this language to define a 'successful' adulthood. Those adolescents who did not follow the expected linear path were seen as outside the norm. The students in my study come from different cultural and economic backgrounds and thus described their understandings of adulthood based on these different social positions. For some teachers their familial experiences were important, and for some students adulthood was a masculine construct. There was also an important class dimension as many of the students who defined a specific age for adulthood also gave a caveat that suggested that postsecondary participation might trump age as the defining factor of adulthood. My findings also reflected the temporal effects of postsecondary education on the movement to adulthood. Most students seemed to believe that they would not be adults until after postsecondary education was completed. Wyn and White (1997) remind us that age, stage, behaviour and career categories, like the ones expressed by the students, are socially constructed and historically and culturally specific. What this means is that the ages, stages, and behaviours that students used to describe adulthood were mired in their social positions within society (Weedon, 1997). This study serves to highlight the importance of career as a developmental phase of life, which is applied uniformly to all students in career education classrooms. While adulthood was presented as a stable category, an important finding of this study was the ways in which adulthood was resisted by some students. Raby (2005) writes 197 about how moments of resistance can shift and even disrupt the status quo, even when they are just momentary shifts. Discourses of adolescence were complicated by all the different identifications that were part of an adolescent identity. This also points to the ways in which adult identities, when linked to career identities, were even more complicated for adolescents to traverse. The final section points to the work of Walter Heinz as a way to take an enlarged view of life that challenged the static formation of how schools and programs like CAPP have relied upon developmental understandings of adulthood through which to teach about career education. The purpose of this section is to offer a theoretical positioning around adulthood that is different from the traditional reliance on ages and stages and to posit a space where discussions around career education can be reconfigured as meaningful and relevant for students. 198 CHAPTER 7 - SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS Social institutions like schools rarely live up to the utopic vision described by theorists like Stanley (1992). Schools are dynamic institutions which reproduce the structures of society and provide opportunities to resist hegemonic ideologies. In order to understand what is happening in schools, theorists such as Kincheloe (1995) highlight the need to look at schools and curricula in critical ways when conducting research. More and more the fear of unemployment is driving our social institutions to establish programs that are trying to help students to choose careers and become more employable. However, with this kind of panic driving the imperative of career education programs, little has been done to ask in what ways career education programs are shaping students' choices, reproducing hegemonic social structures, and understandings of what it means to be a worker and an adult. Furthermore, this panic ignores the ways that teachers are both influenced by and resistant to these reproductive practices. This study attempts to move beyond a tertiary examination of the content of career education curricula (Kincheloe, 1995); to explore critically the ideological roots as to why we have career education and what is it we are really teaching students. Similar to this approach, Beyer and Apple (1998) suggest that the unit of analysis for any curriculum must go beyond the school to look at to how the school is linked to powerful systems. Thus, this study attempts to follow the suggestion of Beyer and Apple (1998) by moving away from a systems analysis and into a more substantial analysis of the curriculum and its historical, political, social and economic contexts. Hyslop-Margison (2000b) argued that CAPP should be looked at through several specific categories of inquiry: 1) the social and ideological context with which the program is 199 introduced and how it is influencing school reform; 2) the hidden curriculum and its potential impact on students and society; 3) a conceptual analysis of the formal curriculum; 4) an ethnographic collection of data to look at the way the curriculum interacts with the classroom culture (and I would include how the teacher interprets the curriculum); and 5) an analysis of all of the findings from a critical conceptual framework (p. 3). My study attempted to address some of these points by examining the BC CAPP curriculum and asking critical questions of how the program was enacted in classrooms and analyzing some of the major dominant discourses. My study asked several key questions of the CAPP curriculum that included probing the explicit and implicit conceptions of jobs, careers, adulthood, and their relationship in the CAPP curriculum. I attempted to uncover how some Vancouver schools were delivering the CAPP curriculum, and how teachers and students talked about jobs, careers, and adulthood. The other important question that guided this study included looking at what students thought of the CAPP curriculum and the way it prepared them for career and adulthood. Thus, this study examined the ideological role of schools and the politicization of curriculum. In taking a discourse oriented approach, this research sought to analyze how teachers and students talk. This talk in schools served to examine the prominent discourses of the CAPP curriculum and the ways that they both reproduced and resisted ideological and hegemonic understandings of career education. It is also important to add that not all career education is hegemonic in nature and that schools can play an important role in teaching students to be critically engaged with notions of work and career. 200 Summary of Findings One of the major goals of this study was to examine the different ways in which the CAPP curriculum was taught in some Vancouver schools. Thus, one of the major findings of this study was that there were three ways that CAPP was delivered in the schools included in this study. While I focused solely on four schools, in discussion with CAPP coordinators and ministry documents, I found that CAPP was delivered through career fairs, on-timetable courses, and a combination of career fair and course work. The difference in delivery highlighted the variability by which the CAPP curriculum was offered. This was a significant finding because a major assumption I brought into the study was that the CAPP curriculum was uniform, or at least similar, across all schools. The reality was that each school found a model that they felt best met the Ministry of Education IRP objectives and the needs of the school community. Several schools introduced course planning as an aspect of CAPP. There was a connection created in schools between choosing careers and planning which courses to take. Course planning was presented as one of the most important activities of CAPP because the right choices would set students up for getting the careers they wanted and the wrong choices were presented as causing barriers. However, while course planning was presented along with CAPP, it was often presented as a separate activity, one that was outside of the regular career planning activities. In some cases, course planning consisted of solely looking at university calendars, while discussions of jobs or trades were not a part of course planning activities. Upon finding that there was a difference in how CAPP was delivered, two major discourses emerged as a way to look at career education in these four schools. University 201 preparation and job preparation were the two approaches to teaching students about career education. My research showed that the majority of students were encouraged to go the university route, particularly i f there was an expectation of students having higher socioeconomic status such as on the Westside. The job preparation approach was utilized with Eastside students who were assumed to be more in need of work, employability or life skills, rather than to know about employment. A major theme in this study included the ways in which time was applied to career choices. Some students were perceived as having more time than others in regards to choosing careers. Students from Eastside schools were more likely to be encouraged by teachers to make career decisions before they left school, whereas Westside students were encouraged to continue their career explorations through university. Another example included the ways Eastside students spoke about finding temporary jobs to support their future careers or postsecondary education. These students were much more likely to be willing to delay careers and find jobs in order to be able to financially achieve their goals. Westside students were assumed to be well taken care of by their families or capable of finding better paying jobs. There was an important social class bias that emerged in the division of Eastside and Westside schools. Teachers all spoke about students as needing planning skills; however the Eastside teachers were more likely to use the language of life skills with their students. Eastside teachers tended to construct their students as "deficient" for not already having the skills to enter the work force. However, these teachers also used a bootstrapping language and it was assumed that students could overcome these deficits if they just worked hard at going to university. 202 Employability and life skills were central to the ways in which CAPP taught students about careers. The students from Westside schools were more likely to be taught the 'hard skills' of writing resumes and cover letters, whereas the Eastside students were given those skills but also encouraged to develop attitudinal dispositions. Thus, a major finding was that some students were schooled to have the right attitudes towards employment, while other students assumed to have all the skills they needed. Students were also given different kinds of career advice depending on perceptions of social location. Westside students were advised to follow their passions about choosing a career and Eastside students were told to have more than one backup plan in place. This pointed to the ways in which teachers and schools set up curricular expectations of particular groups of students. Jobs and careers continue to be constructed in particular ways for students. Jobs were shown to have a social class bias in which students from the Westside spoke about jobs as working at Safeway, and Eastside students as working at McDonald's. Careers continued to be generic for all students and were talked about as professionalized and privileged, pointing to the ways in which sameness is schooled in the face of social difference. Westside students saw themselves as having the greatest access to these professional careers, while students on the Eastside spoke more about the difficulty of finding a career and the instability of the labour market. Aspects of class, gender, and culture came to the forefront, as there were very explicit ways in which hegemonic social structures were reproduced in schools. Social differences were not generally spoken about in the classroom or in relation to careers, while the students themselves started to bring their own social positions into the discussions. In reproducing 203 these ideologies, career education continues to reproduce a discourse of career as generic and accessible to all students. The other important finding for my study was the pervasive use of a developmental language with which to speak about adulthood. Career becomes an important developmental stage by which students were expected to gain adulthood. If adulthood continues to reflect a static model, it is difficult to shift understandings of career away from static models of adulthood to one that is cognizant of the social locations of students. However, even though there was a great deal of developmental language, there were also spaces in which conceptions of adulthood started to broaden. The students' understandings of maturity and its relationship to adulthood demonstrated the ways in which the life course is becoming far less standardized. This pointed out the need to expand understandings of career education and what it means to be an adult in our society. Moving away from the life is a highway rhetoric to one that accounts for the multiple dimensions that make life and the process of development more like a web. In programs like CAPP, work becomes this generalized notion of growing up and getting a career with little critical analysis of the dynamics of the labour market. Career education programs like CAPP appear to be only concerned with ensuring that adolescents are learning employability skills, and whether they have enough information about university programs and plans for the future. Education in this model becomes an institution that further stratifies society. The more education a person has the greater likelihood of having a professional career. While in credentialed society the relationship between education and occupational achievement is intertwined (Heinz, 2000), it is also important to consider the ways adulthood is influenced by career education. 204 The final point that this study makes is in the use of Walter Heinz's (2000) life course theories to talk about how we can begin to reconfigure career education in schools. A life course perspective requires career education curricula to be responsive to the changes and shifts in the labour market; as well as to account for the variability (and social location) of experience a person has while they travel the life course. The use of life course theory points to the potentiality of career education as a space for oppositional consciousness, where the complexities of adulthood and work are fleshed out. While this is not happening so much currently, I do believe it can happen in the future. L i m i t a t i o n s o f S t u d y There were several important limitations to my study. Due to time and access restraints, I was able to spend time in four Vancouver schools, and therefore these findings cannot be considered generalizations about all Vancouver CAPP programs. I spoke to eight teachers and coordinators, and 18 students about their experiences with the CAPP program and I observed between 3 and 20 days at each school. As with many field work studies, the amount of time spent at each school varied due to the various program structures and timing aspects. I did not spend an equal amount of time in each school. This meant that I had a great deal of observational data from some schools, and less from others. I also had access to different grade levels. At the two schools that offered on-timetable courses, the targeted grades for the CAPP courses were different, so at Pinetree Secondary I was observing and speaking to students in Grade 12, and at Oak Hil l I was observing and speaking to students in a Grade 11 class. The variation of grade levels was even wider at Elmwood and Cedar Valley. Because the dominant model of delivery at these 205 schools was career fair, there was no standardized grade level for me to observe CAPP activities. Another important aspect of this study is that it reflects what took place at a specific time. As I was embarking on my study, I was aware that there were going to be changes coming to the CAPP curriculum. The current career education curriculum has changed, but I expect that many of the aspects of how career education is delivered will persist, as in the Planning 10 program, which contains many of the significant features of the CAPP program. Career education was just one aspect of the CAPP curriculum. In choosing to focus primarily on the career aspects, there were some areas of the curriculum that were not explored. While career education was the primary focus of the curricula in the schools where I was observing, there was one school that included the personal planning aspect of the curriculum in their CAPP class. In choosing to focus primarily on the career parts, it is possible to have missed important evidence of counter-hegemonic practices that may have been evident in the personal planning part of the curriculum. Finally, it is important to acknowledge that this text reflects choices I made in terms . of what aspects of career education were represented. Any study must have limits to what is discussed in order to make it manageable. I have shown how some teachers and students made meaning of the CAPP, recognizing that these meanings are not static. Career education programs take on different meanings depending on the contexts in which they are formed and reformed. The Current Changes to CAPP Career education in Vancouver and in British Columbia has undergone some important changes since the data for my study was collected. As of 2004, Planning 10 has 206 replaced the CAPP program. Planning 10 is a four-credit Grade 10 course designed for delivery within the regular timetables of secondary schools. The four content areas (curriculum organizers) are: Graduation Program, Education and Careers, Health, and Finances. Within the Graduation Program 2004, Planning 10 replaces CAPP for Grades 10, 11 and 12. CAPP 8 and 9, and well as the CAPP K-7 are still required aspects of the curriculum. While this sounds like it might be a brand new career education course, many key concepts from CAPP 10-12 are included in the Planning 10 curricula. Two of the most significant changes involve the target audience of the course, which is now Grade 10, and the fact that CAPP is now mandatory as an on-timetable course for all schools. The interesting addition to the course is its connection to the graduation plan for students which requires Planning 10 to cover several aspects of the graduation program that include: focus areas and graduation portfolio assessment, planning for education and career transitions, financial planning as it relates to student transitions from high school, and informed decision-making skills as they relate to health topics and issues (Ministry of Education Website, 2005) While Planning 10 is a new course on the books, it is important to note that the Ministry of Education believes that most of the resources that were being used in the CAPP program will continue to be used in the new program. For example, the new course will continue to use several of the key areas for grade collection such as Road Sense and Tobacco Facts (Ministry of Education Website, 2005). Thus, while one of the limitations of this study was the predicted changes the program was undergoing, there are very tangible examples of how the CAPP program lives on in many areas of the Planning 10 course. 207 An important implication of the major change to offer career education solely in Grade 10 means that career education is integrated into the regular core academic subject areas. Kincheloe (1995) suggests that this kind of integration often occurs because the fear of not preparing students adequately for work often drives schools to push career education programs into well established academic subjects. Kincheloe offers a vision of a career education curriculum that would integrate academic and vocational areas, meaning there would be no separate career education programs like CAPP. It does not appear that Planning 10 will be able to fulfil this kind of vision because of a limited focus. The ways in which Planning 10 will shift how career education is offered in Vancouver schools is yet to be seen. It is important to note that the use of Grade 10 as the space for the majority of career education efforts was seen as very problematic for many of the CAPP coordinators and teachers to whom I spoke. They felt that in Grade 10 adolescents were not yet ready to make some of the decisions required of them about what kinds of careers they wanted to have. Ms. Mason, the Elmwood CAPP teacher, made the point very succinctly when she spoke about the formation of the Planning 10 curriculum, "[The Ministry of Education thinks] well this fits into the curriculum nicely here. Your kids don't fit into that curriculum." Ms. Mason's words point to the need to revisit the usefulness of career education geared towards younger students, and begs the question of whether it continues to be an effective space for students to think about the possibilities of becoming a worker. Furthermore, it is yet to be seen whether Grade 11 and 12 students are in any better position to choose career pathways. 208 Implications for Career Education in Schools: Policy and Practice This study has implications for curriculum developers and teachers of career education because it illustrates what values are reproduced and resisted in career education classrooms. In particular my study contributes to a larger discussion of how schools and curricula are implicated in reproducing class, gender and to some extent racial differentiation. If career education programs do not take into consideration social locations of students and class dimensions of schools, they will continue to reproduce understandings that lead to a stratified society. For teachers, career education should be looked at in more specific ways, not just as a valuable experience for students. There is a need for sustained discussion between teachers and career coordinators at different schools in order to ask questions about why some differences persist. For example, why are some students encouraged to go to university while others are encouraged to gain more job preparation skills? If, as was shown by this study, career education is taught differently across the city, then there needs to be further discussion by teachers about what values are being instilled in career education. Moreover, many of the teachers knew that students had strong sentiments about CAPP and what it was offering. Thus, another important recommendation for teachers and schools is to open a dialogue with students about why CAPP was not working for some and the kinds of knowledge students thought they were lacking. For example, one student wanted to know more about how to maintain a budget or how to work with a financial institution, while others just wanted to know the kinds of careers that were open to them. CAPP can be more than CRAP, as it was called by some students, or a waste of time. 209 More work is needed in teacher education and in teacher professional development to help teachers to develop strategies about how to equip students with a critical understanding of the labour market, as well as to speak more concretely around the ways in which students and their trajectories are differentiated around gender, race, class, sexuality and ability. One of the statements made by several of the teachers in this study was that they were not offered any formal preparation to become CAPP teachers. Formal preparation, either through teacher education or professional development programs would be an important space to open up dialogue around what is needed to help teachers to make linkages between the realities of the labour market to what is being taught in classrooms. There is a need for educational researchers and policy makers to a take closer look at the ways that schools reproduce class structures through career education. The Ministry of Education recently pointed out that the majority of students who graduate from high school are not headed to postsecondary education and suggested that their career education programs should be more responsive to those students headed straight to work (BC Ministry of Education Website, 2005). With this concern, my recommendation is that there needs to be more exploration about how career education programs influence students' post high school choices, as schools are still presenting university as the primary pathway to careers for students. This means that the majority of the students graduating from high school are left out of the discussion about what pathways are possible after high school. Moreover, it continues to privilege university education as the most important pathway that students can take. The use of employability skills is another important area that requires attention. My recommendation is that policy makers should consider the ways skills are represented within career education curricula. Are skills activities such as writing a resume, or are skills about 210 fostering the right attitude in students? How career education programs use skills requires greater attention. Additionally, skills should be discussed in context with the labour market, and jobs should be examined in relation to social realities. Discussions of the labour market need to be more central in career education classrooms so that students can have a clearer understanding of the reality of work in this society and the ways that it is structured by gender, racial and ability segregations. With constant shifts and changes, career education programs need to be regularly revisited and updated in order to make sure they represent an accurate picture of the work, employment and careers for students. CAPP, as it was presented in these four Vancouver schools, taught career and adulthood as though they were fixed stages of adult development. My findings are similar to those of Andres (2005) who found that life course is often thought of in linear ways, although while many adolescents buy into this developmental model, there were fissures in the discourse. The students in my study were starting to think about the process of adulthood in more relational ways. This work needs to be continued. Career education programs like CAPP can only be useful i f they are flexible and responsive to changing perceptions of adulthood and the entrances and exits that are a necessary part of the life course. Career education curricula need to keep up with changing ways in which youth are constructed by themselves and by society (Wyn & White, 2000). Teachers must start to challenge the perception of abnormality for any student who does not fit ages and stages or culturally insular and masculinized conceptions of adulthood. We need a more nuanced understanding of adulthood in career education classrooms. The notion of adulthood in career education is firmly grounded in the notion of an employed worker. Many critical discussions about career education argue for an expanded 211 view of what ought to be considered a career, citing the vast disparity between what high school graduates expected when leaving high school and what they actually experienced (Borgen & Amundson, 1995). What I am suggesting goes beyond changing the approach to how career education is taught. Rather, I suggest that it is necessary to discuss the role of adults in society and in schools and to consider how the concept of career is linked to becoming a successful adult. It seems that the curricula of career education keeps adolescents in a state of arrested development, unable to attain the status of adult until effectively navigating the labour market in a "successful" way through a career (Jones & Wallace, 1992). Future Directions for Research As I was conducting this study, I found there were still many areas of career education that needed to be explored in greater depth. For example, how is career education currently being, conducted across Vancouver and BC? Moreover, there are no cross-Canada studies that look at career education. A comparative study is needed in order to understand the ways in which career education is context specific. How do Eastern or Central Canada career education programs and policies differ from my findings in Vancouver? Thus, an important area for future research is to map career education offerings across Canada in order to examine how career is represented more broadly. Another specific area that needs further examination is the connection of course planning to career education. One of the findings of this study was that course planning was often presented under the banner of career education. There needs to be a closer look at the ways in which students are presented with course planning options and the way that activity unfolds in schools. Why are students only choosing courses based on university trajectories 212 or through the use of course calendars? What alternatives about course planning exist? One recommendation is to link course planning more directly to the career education curriculum. Pointing to the ways in which career choices are affected and influenced by the kinds of courses that students choose. Another aspect that needs greater exploration is why university is presented as the solitary route to getting a career. Which students are being prepared to go to university and which students are being under-prepared? Moreover, why were there no other valid pathways or routes towards adulthood that were presented as possible for students? For example, postsecondary education is something students could do later in life rather than directly after high school. It is important to question why employability and life skills were the domain of the Eastside. The move from discussions of employment to employability is a shift that needs to be explored in greater depth. Many students spoke about not knowing anything about employment or what career options were open to them. How discourses of adulthood are reproduced in schools is another area that deserves further research attention. I found myself wondering how other aspects of schooling influence students' understandings of what it meant to be an adult. The role of schools in teaching students how to be adults is important, particularly i f schools continue to be a major factor in the socialization of students. Further research is needed to understand more about how adolescents construct their futures and what ways schooling might better prepare them for adult roles. Finally, i f the dominant approach to career education is university preparation, there is a need to look at government policies around access to postsecondary education. The work of Lesley Andres (1999, 2002) points to some of the barriers faced by students as they try to 213 access postsecondary. Andres (2001) points out that there is in fact much less access than there was before. It is becoming more difficult to go to university and this is a serious tension with respect to my findings. If teachers are still using university as the dominant approach to teaching about career, students will find themselves unable to achieve their goals or they will find other ways to access postsecondary. This requires a structural interpretation, more than dumping students into career education we need to change the gate keeping, challenging the role of colleges as just another route to university. The Game of Life As I completed this study, I realized that the way I had come to think about career had shifted. My understandings of career paths very much reflected the idea that students were supposed to know what they wanted to do as a result of what they were learning in school. The other important shift was in my construction of adolescents, as the students had much more agency than I expected. This was particularly evident in the ways they resisted adulthood as they delved into the meaning of maturity. To conclude I return to The Game of Life™ played by a group of soon to be Ph.D.'s. After we finished the game and started to clean up the money, the cars, the career cards, the houses and children that had been won and lost during the game, we spoke about what it felt like to play this children's game together. What had it meant to play the game of life and what was it supposed to teach us about the choices we could make (and had already made) in our lives? The answer was in effect a hollow one; we found ourselves driven to compete for greater money, better careers, and more status. 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