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The University of Southampton
Social Sciences Faculty International Office

Southampton Education School research seminar: 'Challenges of Working in Undervalued Technical Schools' (Mexico)

Published: 7 June 2022

On 7th June 2022, Dr Marta Cristina Azaola (Lecturer within Southampton Education School) held a research seminar entitled 'Challenges of Working in Undervalued Technical Schools. A Continuum Between Discourses of Deficit and Trust.'

The talk focused on tutors' perceptions about students from low socioeconomic backgrounds enrolled in technical high schools across Mexico. Internal school factors and tutors' work experiences were analysed through the lenses of the culture of poverty and cultural deficiency. The research took place across states with dissimilar economic and educational outcomes: Tijuana in the state of Baja California, Mexico City and Tuxtla Gutiérrez in the state of Chiapas. Nine tutors shared rich insights about their working conditions, work commitment and the challenges they face in their teaching practices.

Since 2004, continuous curricular reforms have been taking place across the upper-secondary level in Mexico. However, research shows that these reforms have a long way to go before improvements can be reflected at the classroom level. The key message of this talk was that what has been missing from recent reforms is the understanding that students educational outcomes and overall education experiences do not depend only on curricular changes. We must critically explore how students are positioned both within the policy discourses and in tutors' daily teaching practices and redefine the purposes of education in technical high schools.

There are several implications for research and practice, for example, having a wider discussion about the effects of the culture of poverty and cultural deficiency in schools (and societies) and the need for employing this approach within educational research more widely.

If you missed this session, you can view it below, or you can watch it here.

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