Creating a world in common? The role of workplace educators in the global production and interpretation of workplace texts

Year: 2001

Author: Farrell, Lesley

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this paper I am concerned with the challenge workplace learners and educators face, as they engage with global economies, to create 'a world in common' (Smith 1999). I focus on the role of language in 'border crossing' and especially on the needs for and dangers of, the standardisation of language across local workplace settings. I argue that a critical dimension of the work of many workplace educators is the standardisation of language practice across institutions on a global scale. I use Fairclough's (1996) idea of the 'discourse technologist' to understand the role of the workplace educator in creating workplace texts and in mediating local and global discourses. My focus is on the role that workplace educators play in producing and interpreting the material texts of the contemporary workplace, the CV, the Training Manual, the Quality framework etc. I call on a study of workplace educators operating in a range of settings - enterprise-based, trade union-based, VET-systems based and private provider based - to explore their role in mediating the local and the global at local sites.