Anja Heikkinen &
actor-based approach to gendered core competences and deconstructive action
research approach in evaluation of re-integrative action
from the authors' full paper (see VETNET
ECER 2003 Proceedings)
Culturally embedded actor-based approach to researching gendered qualifications:
aim of the EU 5th framework supported research project Genderqual (2000-2002)
was to explore the contribution of actual VET practices to ongoing gender
segregation by enhancing gendered key (core) competences, to find out about
specific key (core) competences relating to gender, to explore the conditions
for the development of key (core) competences beyond gender segregation,
to find out about gender specific strategies in the approach of situations
of occupational change and the impact on the performance of men and women
on the labour market; and to develop recommendations for transcending gender
barriers and gender segregation in the European VET systems with regard
to key (core) competences.
was a multi-national research project: how do researchers position themselves
in the multitude of discourses that co-constitute the gendered landscape
of work and VET? They should identify their relation to discursive levels
and fields, which are influential in their cultural context.
commitment to culturally embedded actor approach means not to take as given
the dominant, universalistic prescriptions of research discourse, i.e.
the different conceptualisations and classifications of competence or skill
especially as key or core competence or skill. Given the resources, we
agreed on culturally embedded actor-based approach with a main focus on
the practical discourse of actors, who should be given the opportunity
to speak for themselves. They were to identify and define gendering in
such tasks, activities and skills and with such vocabularies, for which
they feel ownership. The challenge for researchers still remains, whether
they are able to recognise and reflect the influence of their prejudices
and assumptions, which they inevitably bring into their ways of seeing
and reading. We should make transparent our perceptions and our position
in the totality of work of our cultures as academic professionals.
A. Cultural embeddedness of occupational growth and gender
Challenges of cross-cultural action research: Re-integration
surveys & analysis-project Re-integration started in spring 2001. The
project builds on the results of previous Re-Enter research (1999-2000).
The main goal of the project is to develop analytical model in order to
carry out a primary evaluation of re-integration schemes. The international
collaboration aims to develop a multi-level evaluation model on trans-national
basis. The other goal is to assess the validity of the model developed
for primary evaluation by applying it to different re-integration schemes.
the course of the international research process it has become obvious
that the definition of re-integration activity and target groups in the
focus of this research include a lot of variation. Re-integration activities
can be in the form of special project, educational programme, or inclusive
counselling activity inside or outside formal institutions. In some countries
the activity is more related to vocational education and training and in
other countries it is more like social work etc. Re-integration activities
are not unambiguous either at the national level. At the level of personal
experiences there exists different understanding about the goals and the
nature of the re-integration action. Thus, one challenge of this research
is to define the nature of the activity; issues related to target groups
as well as defining the re-integration activity itself are not stable and
the course of action research we have developed a provisory analytical
“model”, which is one way of constructing holistic understanding about
the activity related to education and employment “systems” and to action
and experiences of practitioners. It should not be a table, which is filled
but a table, which is reconstructed during the evaluation process.
B. Provisory analysis “model” for evaluating re-integrative activities.
the starting-point of evaluation is re-integration activity in itself as
a factual case, it is possible to use the “model” in evaluating different
re-integration programmes, based on the self-understanding and goals of
actors in programmes. The factual case (middle arrow) is transforming while
it is developed in connection to employment and education “systems”
(upper row) as well as to experiences and action of practitioners
(lower row). The places or reasons of change are signals (critical factors
related to the development of activity), which we are especially interesting
in the evaluation process. The upper row can be named as “aspects of re-integration
activities”. These aspects are to be constructed in every evaluation process
in a new way. It is obvious that in different kinds of activities there
are different aspects, which are important to consider related to critical
factors found in different activity systems. These aspects are also in
relation to each other in different ways.