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Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

On-line version ISSN 2520-9868
Print version ISSN 0259-479X


WINBERG, Christine  and  HOLLIS-TURNER, Shairn. Practical subjects in the vocational curriculum: A critical review of the literature. Journal of Education [online]. 2021, n.85, pp.7-28. ISSN 2520-9868.

There is a growing number of studies in the field of vocational education and training, but not many focus on the practical subjects that prepare students for transition to workplaces. This critical review of the literature on practical subjects in vocational colleges set out to contribute to debates on the relationship between theory and practice in vocational education through a particular focus on the knowledge forms that are evident in curricular and pedagogical practices in practical subjects. The critical review identified the conceptual, procedural, technical, and contextual forms of knowledge in practical tasks and activities. Based on these findings and drawing on the concept of semantic gravity in Legitimation Code Theory, we found stronger and weaker forms of semantic gravity in practical knowledge and propose that strengthening and weakening semantic gravity through the purposeful selection and sequencing of tasks and activities enables cumulative knowledge building towards competent practice.

Keywords : practical subjects; vocational education; vocational colleges; critical review of the literature; semantic gravity.

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