To teach or not to teach "social" skills

Comparing community colleges and private occupational colleges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article examines the approach to teaching social skills in two kinds of colleges: community colleges, and private for-profit and nonprofit "occupational" colleges, with a focus on college credit programs that lead to applied associate's degrees in a variety of business, health, computer, and technical occupational programs. Nearly all occupational faculty at both types of colleges believe that employers in these fields require certain social skills relevant to professional support occupations. Community college staff-with the exception of health programs-provide three reasons that they neither demand nor teach these social skills. In contrast, the ways in which private occupational colleges make these skills an explicit part of their curriculum is discussed. This study suggests that schools differ in whether they teach and cultivate social skills, which suggests a potentially important way that schools may shape students' opportunities in the labor market and their social mobility. Contrary to Bowles and Gintis, these findings raise the disturbing possibility that community colleges may be actively contributing to the social reproduction of inequality by avoiding instruction in the cultural competencies and social skills required in today's workplace.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-421
Number of pages25
JournalTeachers College Record
Volume108
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes

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community
Social Mobility
health
school
credit
employer
profit
occupation
labor market
workplace
instruction
staff
curriculum
demand
Teaching
student

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Cite this

To teach or not to teach "social" skills : Comparing community colleges and private occupational colleges. / Deil-Amen, Regina J.

In: Teachers College Record, Vol. 108, No. 3, 03.2006, p. 397-421.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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