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This study examined how generic skills and work-related attitudes can be taught in academic and vocational high school classrooms. An instructional model for these skills and attitudes was identified that included instructional goals, classroom design, teaching techniques, and school context. Generic skills and work-related attitudes can be taught in both academic and vocational classrooms. Instructional goals should include a mix of generic and domain-specific skills. Classroom design should incorporate structural and cultural aspects of workplaces, and learning should be situated in complex, “authentic” projects that resemble adult work. Situated learning should be supported through non-authoritarian teacher roles and teaching techniques. Student assessment should emphasize the learning of generic skills and attitudes. To implement this instructional model, teachers need autonomy as well as appropriate teacher training and staff development.

Table of Contents

  • Preface

  • Figures

  • Tables

  • Summary

  • Acknowledgments

  • Chapter One

    Learning to Work in Schools

  • Chapter Two

    Field Study Methods

  • Chapter Three

    What Makes Classrooms Work

  • Chapter Four

    An English Class That Works: Writing as Thinking

  • Chapter Five

    An Electronics Class That Works: Integrating Science and Technology at the Workbench

  • Chapter Six

    An Industrial Arts Class That Works: Manufacturing in the Vocational Lab

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusions and Implications

  • Appendix A

    Synopses of Case Study Sites

  • Appendix B

    Samples of Index Terms for Tagging Field Notes

  • Appendix C

    Domains for Understanding the Eight Classrooms

  • Bibliography

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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