Self-identity and Development of Vocational School Students in China

Conference: The Asian Undergraduate Research Symposium (AURS2021)
Title: Self-identity and Development of Vocational School Students in China
Stream: Education
Presentation Type: Virtual Poster Presentation
Peiran Nie, Beijing Normal University, China


Vocational education is considered a significant development path other than the normal academic route. It is currently undergoing structural reforms in China, with policies directed to promote enrollment. However, the problem of self-identity among vocational school students highlights the necessity for curriculum reform and more employment opportunities. This research aims to understand how vocational education curriculum and employment opportunities affect students' self-identity and learning motivation. Based on a literature review on the vocational education system in China, I conducted a semi-structured interview with vocational school students about their perceptions of themselves and career paths. Analysis of the results demonstrates that social recognition and job market entry requirements play important roles in students' self-perception and personal prospects. In China, vocational school students are likely to develop low self-confidence, underestimate their learning achievements, and reduce their commitment to hard work. Research results also show a disconnection between the current curriculum and assessment methods: students' lack of motivation to learn professional skills in class, and thus the inefficiency of the current vocational education system. The findings indicate that curriculum and career prospects impact students' self-identity, confidence, and learning motivation. On this basis, it is recommended that the job market provides more opportunities for vocational school students, and academic records should not be the only criterion for selection. This study also has implications for understanding the current Chinese vocational education system and provides a reference for policymakers to raise students' motivation in different development paths.

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