Learning about the world of work: Co-opting school students' paid work experiences
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This paper proposes co-opting high school students' paid part-time work experiences to develop their critical understanding of the world of work, beyond their schooling through post-school pathways. It argues that unlike work experience program or work placements organised through schools, students' paid part-time employment provides authentic workplace experiences that have the potential to inform students deeply and critically about the world of work. These experiences include the reciprocal obligations that arise from paid employment and, as such, provide a rich base for high school students to explore the world of work, relationships in the workplace, what constitutes more and less valued work and how work is organised and rewarded. The co-opting of students' work experiences for school-based activities may provide a useful base to explore the world of work both for those students who are employed part-time and those not employed in part-time work, but able to learn from their peers' experiences. To assist achieving these goals some pedagogic tools are required to effectively describe, analyse and illuminate these experiences in classroom settings. A way of describing and critically appraising this paid work is proposed through individual and collective consideration of the activities and interactions that constitute students' paid work experience. Given the difficulty of organising workplace placements and work experience programs, and the potentially richer outcomes, co-opting students' paid work experiences presents a viable and worthwhile resource available in most classrooms for learning more about the world of work.
Australian Educational Researcher
© 2005 Australian Educational Researcher. Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version.