London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Children's constructions of work in manufacturing industry: the contribution of experiences in prima

Author(s) Merryn Hutchings  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 1999  
Editor Alistair Ross, Young Citizens in Europe  
Language English  
Age group -  
Comments: Young people's attitudes to industry have long been a matter of concern for industrialists and politicians in the UK. It has been suggested that anti-industrial views may be encouraged both through the taught curriculum and through teachers who, having chosen not to go into industry themselves, may be putting forward negative views. Such concerns lay behind various initiatives to increase children's knowledge and understanding through linking schools and business. This paper is based on 27 interviews with children aged 7 to 11 in two inner London schools. It explores their constructions of work in manufacturing industry, and examines the ways in which they drew on experiences at school provided by both the hidden and taught curriculum. It concludes that schools offer children a model of large organisations which is very hierarchical and top-down, and a view of work in such organisations as alienated. These views contrasted with the children's constructions o! f their own future occupations, in which they described themselves as working autonomously and having fun.

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