• Anders Bo Bojesen
4. term, Sociology, Master (Master Programme)
Departing from an outline of the general crisis related to the Danish vocational educational system, this thesis analyses how teachers in vocational schools affect the engagement of newly enrolled students through two aspects of teaching: a appreciative-relational dimension and a dimension related to the display of professional skill by the teacher. The analysis is based on the theories of Thomas Ziehe (2004) concerning the possibilities for a higher degree of involvement among students in a highly de-traditionalised and de-formalised reflexive modernity. The engagement investigated is a concept of student engagement that emphasises the enjoyment, concentration, challenge and immersion that might be experienced when learning a new skill. The empirical data is a cross-sectional survey of more than 3,000 students nested in 254 classrooms in 25 different vocational schools.

Two-level confirmatory factor analysis is applied first to construct three doubly latent variables expressing engagement among students as well as the two dimensions of teaching. Then the latent variables are combined in a series of two-level structural equation models, where the effects of the two types of teaching are analysed on each level of analysis. After a slight detour due to multicollinearity, results on the overall show, that engagement among students is positively influenced by both the personally engaging side of teaching as well as the more formal and professionally focused side of teaching. On the individual-subjective level, when experiencing the teacher as understanding and interested in their perspectives, students had an increased level of engagement. Similarly, when the teacher in the subjective opinion of the students displayed professional-technical skill, the engagement was increased. This last effect was the most dominant on the individual level. On the classroom level, engagement was closely related to the students' rating of the teacher as professionally masterful. The effect of the understanding and more personally involved teacher was less evident, but different model specifications showed that certain elements of the personally engaged teacher were closely related to students' conception of a masterful teacher.

The discussion of the results in the relation to the theory emphasises, that the strong relationship between these two concepts of teaching might be related to the empirical setting in vocational education, since vocational training represents a different kind of learning context than other more academically oriented schools. The main theory of the thesis does not easily accommodate a theoretical elaboration of the analysis, however, concepts derived from both Anthony Giddens and Ulrich Beck show how the relationship between the masterful teacher, the personally engaged teacher and the students' engagement might be understood.
Publication date7 Aug 2014
Number of pages130
ID: 202014700