Blue Collar Literacy: Using Situated Literacy to Build a Curriculum in Support of Vocational Education

Kathleen Drahosh, Hamline University


Through building a curriculum, the author addressed the research question: through projects founded in situated literacy, how can high schools give vocationally-inclined students the literacy skills they need in their chosen field? Research delves into job market implications for the coming future as well as how situated literacy and collaboration can help students engage in school and acquire literacy skills needed in their future careers. The curriculum teaches technical writing and reading skills and applies those skills in a project. The project has students use those writing skills to create the technical literature for a creation or task from a career they are interested in, and then students will collaborate with another group and use their reading skills to understand technical literature from a different career area. This curriculum uses project-based learning to prepare vocationally-minded students with specific literacy skills they will need in future careers.