Interactions in vocational education: negotiation of meaning of students and teaching strategies

Harmen Schaap*, Marieke van der Schaaf, Elly de Bruijn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study aimed to describe verbal student–teacher interactions in vocational education from a socio-cultural perspective on negotiation of meaning. Teaching as part of these interactions is addressed by a combination of diagnosing, checking and intervening strategies. A study was conducted in which students (n students = 20) and teacher (n teachers = 5) from Social Work (SW) and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) worked together in small groups (n groups = 5) discussing vocational core problems. Each group held five discussions (n discussions = 25). All discussions were audio recorded and transcribed before they were analysed for negotiation of meaning including teaching strategies. The results showed that 5–8% of the interactions include negotiation of meaning. Interactions in SW groups revealed more negotiation of meaning than in interactions in ICT groups. Teaching strategies mainly included checking and intervening activities in favour of diagnosing activities. Furthermore, teachers used meta-cognitive and conceptual interventions most frequently. The implications of these results are discussed by reflecting on occupational differences and on how negotiation of meaning including teaching strategies can be enhanced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-70
Number of pages19
JournalStudies in Continuing Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • negotiation of meaning
  • Student–teacher interactions
  • teaching strategies


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