Educational policy analysis archives

Educational policy analysis archives

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Educational policy analysis archives
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University of South Florida
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Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 1, no. 8 (June 17, 1993).
Tempe, Ariz. :
b Arizona State University ;
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida.
c June 17, 1993
Learning on the job : understanding the cooperative education work experience / Alison I. Griffith.
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Arizona State University.
University of South Florida.
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t Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA)
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1 of 13 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 1 Number 8June 17, 1993ISSN 1068-2341A peer-reviewed scholarly electronic journal. Editor: Gene V Glass, Glass@ASU.EDU. College of Edu cation, Arizona State University,Tempe AZ 85287-2411 Copyright 1993, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES.Permission is hereby granted to copy any a rticle provided that EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES is credited and copies are not sold.Learning on the Job: Understanding the Cooperative Education Work Experi ence Alison I. Griffith College of Education University of New OrleansAbstract: Cooperative learning programs in Ontario provide o n the job learning experiences for students. This paper analyzes three cases of studen t work placements described in extensive interviews with students, teachers and co-workers. Some students had enjoyed their work experience while others had not. When the student e xperiences were situated in the socially organized work processes of the work sites, the div erse experiences were found to have a common theme. When students are able to participate in and make sense of the work process, their work placement experience was seen to be usef ul for making future employment decisions. Where students were marginal to the work process, t heir lack of knowledge often translates into an unpleasant work experience and decisions about e mployment based on an experience of failure. This article suggests that our understandi ng of student learning on the job would be strengthened by a focus on the socially organized w ork process. Introduction In Ontario, cooperative education (CE) programs hav e become a popular way for high school students to "try out" a variety of jobs while they are still in school. Students are placed in part time work settings coordinated through the school a nd monitored by a CE teacher (Ontario Ministry of Education, (MoE) 1984, 1988a, 1988b.) C E is an acknowledgement of the learning possibilities available at job sites and an attempt to expand the curriculum past the traditional boundaries available in the high school setting. "C ourses involving co-operative education can provide modes of learning that take full advantage of educational resources in the community." (MoE, 1984) Students are exposed to the culture of the work site, to the shape and limits of on-the-job interaction, as well as learning some of the tasks which comprise doing the job. Cooperative education (CE) programs have been descr ibed as exciting innovations in the


2 of 13educational process (e.g. Moore, 1981, 1986; Nichol s, 1985; Scott, 1979; Shaunessy, 1985) and criticized as inadequate to address the changes in the relation between school and work (Cohen, 1982; Watts, 1983.)In the research reported here, students were asked about their CE experience. They described their work experiences as enjoyable and unlikable, as successful and unsuccessful, as boring and exciting: Some students had enjoyed their placement while others had merely endured it. There was a striking lack of similarity between individua l experiences and an even more striking similarity between the ways they described the work experience. Typically, their accounts focused on individual work habits, individual attit udes, individual skills. There are a number of ways to interpret or represen t experience. Individualized explanations locate the experience in the individual student: pr oblems, difficulties and successes in the work place become directly attributable to the individua l. When the success or failure of the work experience is a matter of individual preference and competence, the learning possibilities on the job become merely possibilities for learning about self--individual work habits, individual attitudes, individual knowledge. The interpretive f ramework of individual experience places the social sites within which individual experience occ urs -the school co-op program and the work placement -outside the analysis. Indeed, the "wor ld of work" that is the focus of the CE experience comes into view merely as the context wi thin which the individual has learned about herself or himself.In this paper, I suggest that the diverse student e xperiences can be understood socially as well as individually. As Moore (1981, 1986) has pointed out in his discussion of the curricular features of experiential learning, the social context of a s tudent's work placement is an integral part of the learning possibilities of the CE work site. I want to extend that understanding to show that our understanding of CE work placements and student exp eriences can be enhanced by an inquiry into the textually mediated linkages, connections, communicative patterns, productive processes which constitute the social relation of the work-ed ucation program. In this way, we can begin to see cooperative education as an historical process which organizes the work of educational staff, students and workers in particular work sites. We w ill be able to see the social processes which organize cooperative education as schooling for the "world of work." In this article, I outline three CE work placement sites: Marie's clerical work in a community college, Kathy's caring work in a private nursing h ome, and Lorraine's work in a day care center and in a kindergarten classroom. Through their acco unts of their on the job experience, we can see that work is organized both experientially, as a series of tasks, and organizationally, as a work process in which one task articulates to anoth er within an organization and often across organizational boundaries. Using a conception of wo rk as a socially organized process linking people within and across job sites, student experie nce comes into view as shaped by the extent of their involvement in and knowledge about the work r elation. Being able to "figure out" and participate in the work process, not simply doing t he tasks of the job, shapes the quality of student work experience.When we place individualized explanations into the larger social context, the striking dissimilarity of student experience comes into view as configured by the inter-section of the school co-op program, the social relations of the w ork site, and the individual's ability to organize their participation on the job. The Data


3 of 13The interviews and observations that form the data for this article were drawn from a much larger data base collected for a research project funded b y the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council, "Project Learning Work." Students in several regions of Ontario were selected as "focal students" by the Project Learning Work st aff. Interviews were done with these students, their friends, their co-workers, supervisor, parent s, and teachers. Observations were made of the students in their schools as well as in their work placements. Students in some CE classes kept reflective journals that were made available to the researchers. The data selected for this article was comprised of interviews and observations around three focal students as well as the reflective journal of one s tudent. These students were selected primarily because of the breadth and depth of the information about them. The data focus on these students and their placements in clerical work, nursing work child care work, and teaching work in a kindergarten classroom. The interviews were conduct ed throughout the school year by Jeff Piker with two "focal students", their families, teachers and friends in one school district in a small city in Ontario and by Roger Simon with one "focal" student in another Ontario school district. The Social/Textual Organization of the Work Site Work sites are hierarchical divisions of labor. The y are sites within which tasks and jobs are concerted by a production process. All work sites a re socially organized work processes and it is this feature of work that I want to emphasize here.Student experiences on the job are located in a wor k site embedded in the social relations of production and selected by the school as a site in which learning can occur. Students enter a work site, bringing with them their personal histories, personalities and skills. Those personal traits are selectively taken up in the work site: a social eas iness aids the interaction between clerical worker and college students; an understanding of pr ofessional demeanor facilitates the interaction with a nursing home resident. Other ind ividual skills are inconsequential in a particular work setting: for example, the ability t o mend socks is not a skill required for clerical work. In this sense, the work site is super ordinat e to the student entering. While students participate in the work site and thus shape the wor k process, the work placement is organized generally; that is as a social organization which s tructures the work of all who accomplish its operation.In our society, the social relations of production are linked by textually mediated work processes (Smith, 1987; 1990a; 1990b). In a given work site, workers engage in tasks structured by the work process of the department office, of the nursi ng floor, of the day care center, of the kindergarten classroom. This is the work experience At the same time, work processes are organizationally linked through documents to other work processes in the same institutional setting and, often, across organizational boundarie s. That is the organizational process. Work experience is textually mediated by documents, form s, communicative strategies administratively organized to accomplish the work process. The inter action of text and worker constitutes the particular work process of the work site, producing for example, the medication routines specified by patient records, copies of memoranda s pecifying the deadline for course grades, or the curriculum for early childhood education. The p articular organizational character of a work site is maintained by documents which order the wor k of employees as well as the interactions between them. Some work processes are more thorough ly textualized than others. For example, clerical work is a primarily textual work process w hile day care center work is much less so. Nonetheless, both are textually mediated. To clarif y this approach, let us explore a simplified description of an apparently non-textual work proce sses.


4 of 13Work in a day care center is organized in relation to textual processes that shape but do not fully determine the work process. They are present in the everyday organization of the work process: government policy limits the number of children enr olled in the center; developmental play based on the child psychology discourse is organized for the children by the workers; descriptions of the children's day are recorded for the parents; po st-secondary certifications in early childhood education are required for employment in a day care center; government subsidies are provided for some families whose children attend the day car e center; accounting records are required for documenting the day care center as a business; and so on. These textually mediated relations and others intersect in day care work shaping the limit s and possibilities of action within the day care setting. While the textual relations are certainly less visible than those we would see in a clerical work site, they are nonetheless present and integra l to the (apparently) non-textual work of caring for children.This conception of textuality highlights the social ly organized character of work experience. It allows us to see the coordinative aspects of the jo b site and gives us access to the organizational structuring of the work process within the work pla ce and across institutional boundaries. Understanding the Student Experience We begin in the particularity of the student experi ence of cooperative work placements. The students, three young women, did clerical, teaching and nursing tasks. The clerical student enjoyed her placement but both she and her supervis ors did not feel she would make a good secretary. The nursing assistant disliked her work in the nursing home although other staff commended her as a good worker. The third student h ad two work placements, one in a day care center and one in a kindergarten classroom. The day care placement was initially confusing and often frustrating, while the kindergarten classroom was enjoyable and insightful. There is no doubt that the clerical assistant behav ed in ways that appeared to be less than responsible to her co-workers. The nursing assistan t seemed to have an "aptitude" for nursing work; but she disliked the work of the nursing home in part because it was "not real nursing work." The student placed in two early childhood ed ucation settings was critical of her coworkers and supervisors at her day care placement a nd was enthusiastic about her classroom experience. Different work sites produced very diff erent experiences. As noted above, individualized explanations which a ttribute the work placement experiences to the student's attitude, personality or aptitude may be experientially accurate but they are nonetheless partial. What are the common threads th at link one experience to another? In the work sites analyzed below, the textually-org anized relations in the work site typically provide the framework for the tasks of the work pro cess. The student's experience of their work placement is intimately tied to their location in t hat processual, textually-mediated order. Those students who were pleased with their CE placement h ad been able to build from their knowledge of the tasks they did to an understanding of the wo rk process. Few could describe this process except in terms of "fitting in" or "figuring it out ". Nonetheless, they characterized their work experiences as "useful" and as helping them decide whether that kind of work was worth pursuing after leaving school. Those students who c haracterized their work experience as unsuccessful had been unable to link the tasks they did to the socially organized work organization of the work site--they had remained ma rginal to the work process. The Clerical Work Site -Marie's Experience


5 of 13(Interview with Marie's supervisor and co-worker.)Jeff: How about tourism? Do you think that she learned mu ch about tourism? As a field or whatever? Sally: No, she, because she didn't get, get into that enou gh, like there just wasn't the opportunity or the ability, like, it was just the work that she would do was basic, general, copy this or that. The clerical work placement was in a department off ice in a community college and it was Marie's first CE work placement. The department off ice is the center for the department's administrative activities. The complexity of the wo rk organization is difficult to appreciate outside the setting. Some of this complexity is vis ible in this selection from Jeff's observations of the skills and tasks of the work site. ...typing of various sorts; responding in the tone of the office to students and anyone else who comes in -developing the tone of the off ice, the warmth, the hospitality, the service -providing a service or giving inform ation in a certain kind of way; knowing the college and how it works -where vario us things are within the college, services, information, assistance, specific people; the copying machine; the fairly complicated telephone apparatus; the process of org anizing departmental and college conferences; filing and record keeping -where the relevant files are, where to store things -and then all the students and all the rec ords that have to be kept for them; maintaining concentration with all the interruption s. The quotation shows clerical work as a work process which links one set of activities with another through documents. Clerical work is a subor dinate work process constructed specifically to facilitate the organizational work of managers a nd administrators. It maintains the textual organization of the social relations of production in which it is situated, in this instance, the textually organized relations of postsecondary scho oling. The clerical work process structures the tasks whic h must be done and therefore, the skills required. Sally, Marie's supervisor and coworker, d escribed her knowledge of the work process in very general terms as: "You just have to have a fee l for it." Having a "feel for it" is knowing which tasks have to be done, the order in which the y must be done, and the events which are likely to interrupt the daily scheduling of work. I t is knowing that clerical work is not simply a series of tasks. Rather it is a process which links one set of tasks with another; links individuals across work sites; links the department to the la rger tourism industry; and so on. At the experiential level, clerical work is easily described as a series of tasks. Marie describes to Jeff the variety of tasks she has completed that da y: "I had to type three lists out. Student's lists for this semester, second semester. I had to do that and had to alphabet one, like one wasn't in order so I had to do that. And there had to be names added so I had to type it. Th at's what I did, and then I went to the copier." But conceiving of the process as a series of tasks holds us to the experiential level that excludes "having a feel for it". "Typing three lists" is cre ating the textual record which connects the work of individual students in tourism courses to the cr edentialling processes of the community college and to employment possibilities in the tourism indu stry. Getting the work of the department done -the clerical task of typing student lists -con stitutes one part of the textually organized social relation of post-secondary schooling.


6 of 13The tasks done by the student were part of the cler ical work process of the work site but were organized in relation to her school schedule and he r low clerical skill level rather than by the work process of the department. The tasks she did w ere not visible to her or her co-workers as "meaningful work." Her immediate supervisor suggest ed that: "I actually, I just think, um, that it was sort of a waste of time that few hours every afternoon. She just couldn't get into anything and then, you know, you're gone again for another day or so, .... Its just, its just so h ard for someone to be dropped into an area like, like a school division like this, have n o knowledge of it at all and to really learn anything." The tasks done by the student were part of the cler ical work process of the work site but were organized in relation to her school schedule and he r low clerical skill level rather than by the work process of the department. Where her work was "important" to the department office was in her ability to handle the student inquiries. Marie enjoyed answering the questions from college students who came to the department office; what th e department administrator called her "social skills." When interviewed during her next work plac ement in a small retail shop, she described her work in the clerical placement as having shown her that she was "good with people" and having helped her decide that she preferred retail work to straight clerical work. In reviewing Marie's experience, we can see that it had several features which contributed to her and her co-worker's dissatisfaction. Marie's time o n the job was shortened by the college strike and she had less time to learn the job than is usua l. Her supervisor was unsure of what was expected of her in a training situation, confiding her lack of confidence to the researcher. Marie was absent from her work placement more often than her supervisor thought necessary or desirable. It is indeed likely that Marie's low lev el of skills and poor work habits contributed to her unsuccessful work placement.But our dissatisfaction with individual explanation s pushes us to recognize individual limitations as only part of the story. We also need to pay atte ntion to the socially organized work process and Marie's relation to that process. Prior to Marie's entry into the work site, the work process is administratively organized to get the job done. Lea rning the relation between the tasks of the work site and the work process allows the student/w orker to get "a feel for" the organization of the work site. While this does not guarantee that s tudent/workers understand fully the work process in which they are involved, they are at lea st linked to an organizational logic that makes what they are doing "meaningful".Marie's work was not integrated into the work proce ss of the community college department office except during her interaction with students at the front desk. Rather, it was organized on a piecemeal basis: tasks were chosen in terms of what could be done in the time available and by a student/worker who had little time and clerical ski lls. As Peterson points out, some "... jobs are designed and work is organized ... to inhibit learn ing." (1986:169) Marie's work in the department office became a series of disconnected t asks which both she and her coworkers were not able to see as "meaningful tasks." Marie w as unable to participate in and learn that work process. However, in her interaction with college s tudents at the front desk -answering questions, directing students to teachers' offices, collecting course materials -she was able to successfully participate in one aspect of the work process of the department office. It was this experience that showed her she was "good with peopl e". The Nursing Home -Kathy's Experience


7 of 13(Interview with the student.)Kathy: "Um, like the first day you're going to notice a lo t of things and it's going to put you back a little, like, um, you go up there and you see all these people just sitting there, lying around making noises. That can be a shock! And the smell it could be a shock! And there's some of the things, like taking people to the bathroom and stuf f -is not your basic daily things so it takes a bit of getting used to -so, if you feel like, if you feel uncomfortable with it for the first couple of weeks, it wouldn't be unusual. Because it's not the type of thing that you, that's normal [laughs] -it's not something that most people do! ha so it' s something that takes getting used to." The second work experience we want to look at Kathy 's in a privately-run nursing home. The nursing home is an Extendicare facility which means that the residents are subsidized by the provincial government. As described by the nursin g home administrator, Extendicare facilities are part of a larger, interconnected and textuallyorganized, health care system. The entry of people into the home is on the basis of their appli cation to Extendicare and on a record of a medical assessment for nursing home placement by me dical personnel. The patients' chart accompanies them if they come into the nursing home from another hospital facility. Nursing home residents who do not need full time nursing ca re are charted by the staff on a "flow chart." Others who require medication and constant nursing care are charted more completely and their records kept in the nursing station. It is a work process which is organized on the basis of records which will give adequate information to eac h shift of nursing staff, to physicians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and will provide for reports to the relevant government departments responsible for the Extendicare process The documents provide for both the funding relation and the work process of individual nursing staff. The work of the nursing home is organizationally st ructured by this textual relation but, experientially, revolves around the residents, thei r health, their moods, the managing of physical needs and the social interactions required to make the nursing home pleasant to live in and work in. The second floor of the nursing home (where the student did her work placement) had 32 residents, mostly women, and a staff of 4 nursing a ides plus other non-nursing staff. Kathy describes the residents she works with as individua ls with specific needs and idiosyncrasies: "They each, like, a lot of them can't talk, but are you know, are really very coherent but they all have their own little personalities and they're all kind of, they all have their own little oddities and they're kind of amusing sometimes."Some of the residents are "difficult". Nursing work is strategically managed by staff through highly organized work routines -activities, meals even toiletting are done at the same time each day. Kathy's caretaking tasks in the nursing home a re textually organized by the funding processes of Extendicare, by the everyday routines of the nursing home, and by the medical and psychological discourse of gerontology. Kathy is le arning to use concepts drawn from this discourse to describe patients and, thus, her work with them. "... like, you try, you try the, uh, the sensory stimulation and uh, reality orientation or something like that. I think that's what they call them." These textual relations, and others not desc ribed here, construct the shape of the nursing home work process as well as organize the tasks and interactions which Kathy describes as her work.Kathy was very adept at picking up the work process of the nursing home. In contrast to Marie's placement described above, Kathy had little trouble fitting in with the work routines and learning the work process. Nursing work is a work organizati on that lends itself to, and indeed in some instances, requires working with another person. Ka thy was able to attach herself to one of the Health Care Aides who then showed her what to do an d allowed her to help with the general


8 of 13caring work. Kathy describes this work organization as one which is necessary in order to learn on the job: "I go in and the first thing I do is I find a nurse one of them will say, well do you want to come and help me and that type of thing and I just come and go with them, and just wherever I'm needed, like I don't kn ow why. Now I just know where I'm needed." Kathy's CE work placement experience was very diffe rent from that of Marie's. Kathy did not like her nursing home experience, but she was highl y appreciated by the administrator and by her co-workers. She participated in all aspects of the nursing home process open to her. Kathy became as fully involved in the work process of the nursing home as was possible within the scheduling limits of the CE program. Her tasks rang ed from making beds to joking with the patients/residents to filling out the nursing recor ds when necessary. Kathy's recognized competence was tied to her ability to participate f ully in the work process in terms of knowing which tasks make up the work process; therefore bei ng able to anticipate task ordering; and being able to maintain the personal interactions with res idents and co-workers which construct the residence as a home for the elderly.Kathy's work experience met the goals for CE placem ents while Marie's did not. Kathy was able to learn the tasks of the nursing home; work effect ively with staff and residents; and was able to use the experience to inform her choice of career a fter her schooling was completed. A major part of this congruence between placement and CE go als was Kathy's involvement in the work process of the work site. She was not marginalized from the work process and was able to participate in all aspects of the work. The tasks w hich comprised her participation in the work process were visible to her as part of the work of the nursing home and her completion of the tasks was visible to the staff as "doing the job." Child Care and Teaching Work -Lorraine's Experien ce The final instance of CE work is the that done by L orraine, first in a day care center, and second, in a kindergarten classroom. Lorraine's work site p lacements provide us with a confirming instance of the analysis presented above.Lorraine's first placement was in a privately-owned day care center. While she enjoyed working with the children, she was critical of the administ ration and staff of the center. Her second placement was in a kindergarten classroom in a loca l school. She was given a fair amount of training and responsibility at this placement and w as enthusiastic about the work of her supervising teacher. Lorraine went on to take an Ea rly Childhood Education diploma program at a community college. Her CE work experience was ins trumental in confirming her choice. Both work sites are textually mediated, the classro om more directly than the day care center. Both work sites involve working with children but t hey are different work processes. In attending to the textual organization of the two work process es and to Lorraine's participation in them, we can begin to see some of the differences in the wor k site which helped to shape her very different work experiences.Lorraine describes herself as "always wanting to wo rk with kids." Her first placement was in a privately-owned day care center. She had done summe r babysitting jobs and had some sense of herself as being capable of working with and caring for children. Nonetheless, while the tasks of her day care work placement were not difficult to g rasp, the work process was not easily visible.


9 of 13As she described her first few days: "Well, when I, the first day I was there, I mostly stayed back a bit and watched. And I'd sit down at the table with them, as soon as I w alked in, they were doing puzzles, and I goes to them: What's that; what's that. Right ? And then, uh, ... the little kids were starting to talk to me and then the second day I went and I'd sort of like watched the day before, so I knew, like, sort of wh at the routine was. And then, they'd be drawing like they were today, and sometim es the paper has, like blue lines on the other side, because it's just like a scrap p aper that they get. And the kids would turn them over and start scribbling. And then I'd be right beside them and [the supervisor would] go: No, don't do that. Like to th e kid, and I wouldn't know, because she never did tell me, and I'm sort of goin g: Oh. And I feel stupid because I'm watching the kid and I didn't know that they we ren't allowed to draw on the other side of the page [laughing]. And, it's just quite a few times that that's happened. .... she just does it and I'm supposed to sort of click in and see what she's doing. .... Because she never tells me, you know. And I always just figure out stuff myself." In her first days, Lorraine did not know the releva nces that structure the work process. After several weeks however, she knew the work routines a nd was able to organize her own work accordingly:Nov.12 Reflective Writing: ... Tuesday was a great day for me. Rose called in sick and didn't come in. So until 9:00 AM I was with my kids in Lou ise's class. Then at 9:00 AM Louise and I took my kids downstairs. There was another girl pop ped in every now and then to see how we were doing. Louise and I played with them in the pl ayroom and did puzzles also up until snack time. I made the kids get their own chairs as usual and got them at their tables and put bibs on those who required them. ... I thought it was great I felt a lot of responsibility and loved every minute of it.Lorraine's interviews and "reflective writing" show that she was finally able to "click in": she had learned the work process of the day care center. As she became more and more involved in the work process of the center, she was able to take mo re responsibility for caring for the children; for developing lessons; for recording the children' s activities and "developments" in their file; and for engaging them in play which the center staf f had determined would facilitate the child's development. Lorraine learned the tasks as she part icipated in the work process and the tasks gave her some insight into the work process. What h ad been invisible or simply a matter of the supervisor's "way of doing things" became understan dable as the work process of the day care; routines which were composed of tasks which led fro m one to the other. At the same time, she was critical of the staff of the day care, particularly of her supervisor. As we saw above, the supervisor did not give Lorraine the kind of information needed to understand the work process of the day care center. Rather, Lo rraine "watched" and "figured stuff out" for herself.In contrast, her second placement was highly struct ured by the kindergarten teacher who taught Lorraine the work process of the classroom. In all her interviews and writing, Lorraine is enthusiastic about the work she did in the classroo m, her coworkers and the kinds of things she learns at the kindergarten placement.Mar.4 Reflective Writing: Tuesday and Wednesday were great as usual, Mrs. Ma nning and I got a lot done. Our theme for the week was Jack and the B eanstalk and I was helping all the kids with


10 of 13their story cards. I also made up a very large bull etin [sic] board for the subject, it took over an hour to do it and it turned out really good. Mrs. M anning was really pleased and said I did a good job and imagination. I also made two large charts f or this Tuesday and Wednesday. We are having a jelly bean guess. She and the mothers help er were very happy with my work. I will be in charge of the whole exercise.In contrast to the day care supervisor, the kinderg arten teacher spent a lot of time with Lorraine teaching her how to relate to the students; how to develop lesson plans; how to analyze student behavior in child development terms; and so on. Lor raine compares the two supervisors as follows: "Rose never gave me any explanation for doing anyth ing. Like, I'd ask her something and she'll go: Well, I just do this because Sharon says I have to. Or she never really told me why, like in what way it was helping the ki ds or anything. Whereas Mrs. Manning, like when we have our breaks, she'll have three Grade Eights that come in and help, sort of, like, and play games with them o n their recess after they've had their snack. And we sit there and she'll tell me, s he goes: The reason I did this this morning, like put these two kids over here is becau se I wanted to watch how they work together." Lorraine worked very hard for Mrs. Manning, taking initiative and responsibility wherever possible. Lorraine's knowledge of the kindergarten work process was very well developed through her CE placement. She was able to see the w ork of the classroom in such a way that the tasks that needed to be done were visible to her.The work process of the classroom is organized thro ugh a series of textual relations, one of which -the academic discourse on child developmen t -is also present in the day care center. In the kindergarten classroom, the child development d iscourse structures the kinds of toys available; the classroom "centers" the children pla y at; the lesson plans; the teaching aids; and so on. Teachers must produce report cards and other ev aluative materials for the children to take home with them. Most kindergarten teachers encourag e the participation of mothers in the work of "developing the child" and most kindergarten cla ssrooms are "open" to the parents. As a consequence, kindergarten teachers are skilled at d iscussing their students and their activities in the textual terms that organize their work process. There are other textual relations which intersect in the classroom, such as the teacher cer tification process and the Ministry of Education dispersal of funding and resources. The child devel opment discourse and the textual requirements of the public schooling process combin e to produce a classroom work process which is necessarily visible. For Lorraine, the wor k process was made as observable as possible by the supervising teacher. Lorraine was able to pa rticipate in a work process through the tasks assigned by the teacher and verbally located in a t extually mediated work organization. Summary The placement experiences of the three students wer e very different. The clerical worker was evaluated poorly by her coworkers for her work ha bits, for her clerical skills but not for her social skills on the job. Marie herself was dissati sfied with her work placement and considered herself to be better "working with people" than doi ng the tasks of a clerical worker. The nursing home assistant was evaluated highly by both nursing staff and administration. Kathy was not interested in pursuing geriatric nursing further bu t considered that her choice of future career as a nurse was a good one based on her experience in the nursing home. The child care worker was successful in both her work placements. However, th e day care center was more frustrating and


11 of 13gave Lorraine few learning opportunities. In contra st, the kindergarten classroom was a very exciting place for Lorraine to work. Her relationsh ip with the teacher was one in which the teacher's work process was made available to Lorrai ne and became the basis on which she participated in the work of the classroom. Conclusion Exploring the textual organization of the work site s is one method for analyzing students' participation in the work process. Moore (1981, 198 4, 1986) has recommended that the concept of "tasks" is more effective for constructing and a ssessing the "curriculum of experience" than a focus on work habits or attitudes to work (Moore 19 81, 1984, 1986) The student experiences reviewed here show the limitations of both for unde rstanding students' CE experiences. Work, when conceived of as a series of "tasks" or "skills performed by workers with good or bad "work habits", obscures the character of the work s ites and indeed of the labor process. I suggest it also shifts students' knowledge away from an und erstanding of the social processes that have shaped their work experience: the world of work bec omes the individual experience of work. Pedagogically, it limits the possibilities for br inging the changing labor process under scrutiny by those moving from school to the "world of work", the criticism leveled at CE by Watts (1983).As Simon and Dippo point out, "Experience should ne ver be celebrated uncritically." (1987:6) As an educational program, CE curriculum could be i nformed by a conception of work as a textuallymediated work process unique to each wor k organization but linked socially and economically through texts to other facets of the s ocial relations of production and reproduction. This understanding of the work place that will expa nd students' understanding of the work process and provide the basis for descriptions of t heir experience that are both individually informative and socially educated. REFERENCES COHEN, P. (1982) School for Dole, New Socialist 3, Jan/Feb. MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, Ontario Schools, Intermediat e and Senior Divisions (Grades 7-12/OACs): Program and Diploma Requirements (OSIS) Government of Ontario, 1984. MINISTRY OF EDUCATION (1988a) Curriculum Policy Doc ument for the Intermediate and Senior Divisions, Validation Draft, Cooperative Edu cation, Government of Ontario, January. MINISTRY OF EDUCATION (1988b) Cooperative Education Resource Document: Draft January.MOORE, D.T. (1981) "Discovering the Pedagogy of Exp erience" Harvard Educational Review 51 (2) p.286-300.MOORE, D.T. (1984) "Working Knowledge: Toward a Con ception of the Curriculum of Experience". Unpublished manuscript, April.MOORE, D.T. (1986) "Learning at Work: Case Studies in Non-School Education" Anthropology and Education Quarterly 17 (3) September, p. 166-18 4. NICHOLS, E. (1985) Monitoring Co-operative Educatio n Programs Toronto: The Guidance Centre, University of Toronto.


12 of 13 SCOTT, Ian (1979) Work and Study: Some Model Progra ms Toronto: Learnxs Press. SHAUGHNESSY, P. (1985) Co-operative Education Evalu ation Toronto: The Guidance Centre, University of Toronto.SMITH, Dorothy E. (1990a) The Conceptual Practices of Power: A Feminist Sociology of Knowledge Boston: Northeastern University Press. SM ITH, Dorothy E. (1990b) Texts, Facts and Femininity: Exploring the Relations of Ruling Routl edge: London. WATTS, A.G.(1983) Work Experience and Schools Londo n: Heinemann.Copyright 1993 by the Education Policy Analysis ArchivesEPAA can be accessed either by visiting one of its seve ral archived forms or by subscribing to the LISTSERV known as EPAA at (To sub scribe, send an email letter to whose sole contents are SUB EPAA y our-name.) As articles are published by the Archives they are sent immediately to the EPAA subscribers and simultaneously archived in three forms. Articles are archived on EPAA as individual files under the name of the author a nd the Volume and article number. For example, the article by Stephen Kemmis in Volume 1, Number 1 of the Archives can be retrieved by sending an e-mail letter to LISTSERV@a and making the single line in the letter rea d GET KEMMIS V1N1 F=MAIL. For a table of contents of the entire ARCHIVES, send the following e-mail message to INDEX EPAA F=MAIL, tha t is, send an e-mail letter and make its single line read INDEX EPAA F=MAIL.The World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is Education Policy Analysis Archives are "gophered" at To receive a publication guide for submitting artic les, see the EPAA World Wide Web site or send an e-mail letter to and include the single l ine GET EPAA PUBGUIDE F=MAIL. It will be sent to you by return e-mail. General questions about ap propriateness of topics or particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, Glass@asu.ed u or reach him at College of Education, Arizona Sta te University, Tempe, AZ 85287-2411. (602-965-2692)Editorial Board John CovaleskieSyracuse UniversityAndrew Coulson Alan Davis University of Colorado--DenverMark E. Thomas F. Green Syracuse Alison I. Arlen Gullickson Ernest R. Aimee Craig B. Howley u56e3@wvnvm.bitnet William Richard M. Jaeger


13 of 13Benjamin Thomas Dewayne Mary P. Les Susan Bobbitt Anne L. Hugh G. Richard C. Anthony G. Rud Dennis Jay Robert Robert T.


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