Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

College Cultures and Pre-Service Trainee Teachers: a study in the creation and transmission of ideas\ud about teaching

By Kevin Orr


This thesis analyses the college placement element of pre-service initial teacher training (ITT) and its impact on ideas about teaching in Further Education (FE). It considers both trainees and serving teachers to investigate this impact on ideas in relation to individuals’ experiences of placement and in relation to ideas held in general society by distinguishing cultures and questioning how they each shape\ud notions about teaching. The placement experience is examined within the broad context of work-based learning (WBL) and the thesis draws on and assesses the explanatory power of three theorisations commonly adopted within WBL research; communities of practice; Cultural Historical Activity Theory; and Bourdieu’s concepts of field and habitus. Though trainees’ experience of the placement is characterised\ud by messiness and diversity, the small groups they work within at colleges generally cannot be defined as self-sustaining cultures. Moreover, ideas about teaching held in society are often more influential on trainees’ development than the particular situation of their placement during training, even where trainees are placed within distinctive cultures. Trainee and serving teachers in FE, therefore, experience a\ud hierarchy of influences, including government policy, as well as concomitant tensions between agency and control, all relating to the unequal structures of society. This understanding exposes the weakness of some theorisations in describing how ideas about teaching are formed and disseminated. This thesis argues that the Marxist\ud concept of alienation more adequately describes the situation of trainees and teachers in FE and the formation of their ideas and practice. It finally argues for ITT for FE to be constructed around a body of professional knowledge as a\ud counterbalance to the limitations of the experience of placement

Topics: L1, LB2300
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2001a) Knowing in practice: re-conceptualising vocational expertise Learning and
  2. (2004b) Teaching in Further Education: New Perspectives for a Changing Context. London: Institute of Education.
  3. (1993). A Cultural-Historical Approach
  4. (1998). A profession in crisis: status, culture and identity in the further education college.
  5. (2006). A Sticky Business? Exploring the “and” in Teaching and Learning. Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education,
  6. (2007). Academy (HEA)
  7. (1997). Activity, consciousness and communication
  8. (1978). Activity, consciousness and personality. Pacifica: Marxist Internet archive.
  9. (2004). Adding Value: investigating the discourse of professionalism adopted by vocational teachers in further education colleges.
  10. (2001). Against the Third Way.
  11. (2007). Aiming higher: how will universities respond to changes in initial teacher training for the post-compulsory sector in England?
  12. (2009). All you ever wanted to know about teaching and learning but were too afraid to ask.
  13. (2004). An examination of changes to the labour process of further education lecturers. Birmingham: Working Paper Series.
  14. (1998). An inquiry into Schön’s Epistemology of Practice: Exploring Links between Experience and Reflective Practice.
  15. (1992). An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology,
  16. (2007). Analysing third generation activity systems: labour power, subject position and personal transformation.
  17. (2000). Autoethnography, Personal Narrative, Reflexivity: Researcher as subject in N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln Handbook of Qualitative Research: second edition. Thousand Oaks,
  18. (2005). Becoming a lecturer in further education in England: the construction of professional identity and the role of communities of practice.
  19. (2008). Being a teacher in further education in changing times.
  20. (2003). Bourdieu in the classroom. Occasional Paper, 62, Centre for Language in Education:
  21. (1999). Breaking the Consensus: lifelong learning as social control.
  22. (2008). Bringing Knowledge Back in: From Social Constructivism to Social Realism in the Sociology of Education. doi
  23. (2004). Change in the field—changing the field: Bourdieu and the methodological practice of educational research.
  24. (2008). Changing step or marking time? Teacher education reforms for the learning and skills sector in England.
  25. (2004). Co-participation at work: Learning through work and throughout working lives.
  26. (1998). Cognition and Communication at Work.
  27. (1998). Communities of practice: learning, meaning and identity. Cambridge:
  28. (2001). Community and Identity: experiences and dilemmas of vocational teachers in post-school contexts.
  29. (2005). Community of Practice’ as a framework for supporting tertiary teachers’ informal workplace learning.
  30. (2004). Conceptions of learning and understanding at work
  31. (2006). Constructing the reflective practitioner: a critical account. Unpublished Ed.
  32. (2006). Contradictions in Expansive Learning: Towards a critical Analysis of Self-development Forms of Learning in Relation to Contemporary Sociotechnological Change. Forum: Qualitative Social Research.
  33. (2003). Conundrums of Our Own Making: critical pedagogy and trainee further education teachers.
  34. (1993). Conversational realities: Constructing Life through Language.
  35. (2006). Creative and visual methods for exploring identities.
  36. (2002). Cultivating Communities of practice: a guide to managing knowledge.
  37. (2005). Cultural Historical Activity Theory and Learning: a relational turn.
  38. (2000). Culture: Reinventing the Social Sciences. Buckingham:
  39. (2001). Cultures and Learning
  40. (2005). Current Theories of Workplace Learning: A Critical Assessment in
  41. (2003). Curriculum Studies and the Problem of Knowledge: updating the Enlightenment? Policy Futures doi
  42. (1994). Developing Professional Knowledge and Competence.
  43. (1993). Distributed Cognitions: Psychological and educational considerations. Cambridge:
  44. (2008). DIUS 2008-09 business plan at a glance: investing in our future.
  45. (2008). Dominant discourses of preservice teacher education and the exigencies of the workplace: an ethnographic study from English further education.
  46. (2009). Dual identities: enhancing the in-service teacher trainee experience in further education. Report for ESCalate:
  47. (1975). Early writings.
  48. (1999). Education and Employment (DfEE)
  49. (2006). Education and Skills (DfES)
  50. (2001). Education for Industry: a complex technicism.
  51. (2001). Education in a post-welfare society.
  52. (2008). Education in Popular Culture: telling tales on teachers and learners. doi
  53. (2008). Education, globalisation and the knowledge economy. A Commentary by the Teaching and Learning Research Programme,
  54. (1996). Educational management and the crisis of reform in further Education.
  55. (2007). Engeström’s version of activity theory: a conservative praxis?
  56. (2001). Ethnography: Principles in Practice.
  57. (2006). Everything You Need to Know about FE Policy.
  58. (2001). Expansive Learning at Work: toward an activity theoretical reconceptualization.
  59. (2004). Expansive learning environments: integrating organizational and personal development, in
  60. (2005). Fragments Stored against My Ruin: the place of educational theory in the professional development of teachers in further education.
  61. (2006). From childcare practitioner to FE tutor: biography, identity and lifelong learning, in
  62. (2004). From Little Acorns.
  63. (2006). From trainee to FE lecturer: trials and tribulations
  64. (2007). From workplace learning to inter-organizational learning and back: the contribution of activity theory.
  65. (1999). Further Education National Training Organisdation (FENTO)
  66. (2001). Further Education Teachers' Constructions of Professionalism.
  67. (2002). Further Education, Government’s discourse policy and practice.
  68. (2006). General Teaching Council (GTC)
  69. (2007). Globalisation, Lifelong Learning and the Learning Society.
  70. (2008). Golden Years? Further education colleges under local authority control.
  71. (2009). Good education: what it is and why we need it. Inaugural lecture. Stirling Institute of Education:
  72. (2000). Handbook of Qualitative Research: second edition. Thousand Oaks,
  73. (1974). History and Class Consciousness.
  74. (2007). How policy impacts on practice and how practice does not impact on policy.
  75. (2007). How We Learn?
  76. (2003). I don’t think I am a learner”: acts of naming learners at work.
  77. (2002). I think a Lot of Staff are Dinosaurs’: further education trainee teachers’ understandings of pedagogic relations.
  78. (1998). Identity and agency in cultural worlds.
  79. (2002). Imaginary Friends: managerialism, globalization and post-compulsory education and training in England. Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education,
  80. (2007). Improving Learning Cultures in Further Education.
  81. (2005). Improving Learning in Further Education: a new, cultural approach,
  82. (2008). Improving Learning, Skills and Inclusion: The impact of policy on post-compulsory education.
  83. (2008). in D. O’Driscoll Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney.
  84. (1990). In Other Words: Essays towards a reflexive sociology. Stanford:
  85. (2004). Informal learning in the workplace.
  86. (2005). Introduction
  87. (1996). Introduction in S. Chaiklin & J. Lave (Eds) Understanding Practice Perspectives on activity and context.
  88. (2005). Is that tingling feeling enough? Constructions of teaching and learning in further education.
  89. (2000). Issues in Continuing professional Development; towards a systematic framework.
  90. (2008). Just suppose teaching and learning became the first priority…
  91. (1983). Key Words.
  92. (1996). Knowledge and Nationhood.
  93. (1989). Language and Power.
  94. (1991). Language and Symbolic Power.
  95. (1980). Le capital social. Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales,
  96. (2005). Learning and Skills- the agenda for change: The Prospectus.
  97. (2003). Learning as Becoming in Vocational Education and Training: class, gender and the role of the habitus.
  98. (2005). Learning as Peripheral Participation in Communities of practice: a reassessment of key concepts in workplace learning’, doi
  99. (2004). Learning Styles and Post16 Pedagogy: A systematic and critical review.
  100. (2001). Learning through work: workplace affordances and individual engagement.
  101. (2000). Learning to Work, Working to Learn in C. Symes & J. McIntyre Working Knowledge: The new vocationalism and higher education.
  102. (1997). Learning Works: Widening Participation in Further Education. Coventry: Further Education Funding Council.
  103. (2007). Learning, Communities and Performance.
  104. (1994). Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge:
  105. (1979). Les trois états du capital culturel. Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales,
  106. (2005). Let’s get beyond community and practice: the many meanings of learning by participating.
  107. (2008). Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK)
  108. Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK) (2006) New overarching professional standards for teachers, tutors and trainers in the lifelong learning sector.
  109. (2005). Literacy, Reification and the Dynamics of Social Interaction in
  110. (2003). Making a Mess with Method.
  111. (2000). Making judgements as the basis for workplace learning: towards an epistemology of practice.
  112. (2003). Managerialism and Professionalism in Post Compulsory Education
  113. (1997). Managerialism and Professionalism in the Cinderella Service.
  114. (1999). Managing ambiguity: between markets and managerialism—a case study of middle managers in further education.
  115. (1975). Marx’s theory of Alienation.
  116. (1995). Meaning and Self in Cultural Perspective in D. Bakhurst & C. Sypnowich (Eds) The Social Self.
  117. (2008). Memory, Knowledge and Resistance: the impact of the Algerian War on French thought. Paper presented at Discourse, Power and Resistance conference,
  118. (2003). Mentoring for Social Inclusion.
  119. (1981). Midnight’s Children.
  120. (1997). Mind Culture and Activity Cambridge:
  121. (1978). Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes.
  122. (2009). Mindfulness and the Therapeutic Function of Education.
  123. (2004). Modelling Work-related Learning on the Basis of Intentionality and Development Relatedness: A Noneducational Perspective. Human Resource Development Review,
  124. (2007). Modernisation’ and the role of policy levers in the learning and skills sector.
  125. (2009). Moving into practice: transitions from further education trainee teacher to lecturer.
  126. (2002). Narratives and fictions in educational research.
  127. (2001). Neither Dupes Nor Devils: Teachers' Constructions of their Changing Role
  128. (2003). New Labour’s double shuffle. Soundings, 24. Available on-line at:
  129. (2000). Non-formal learning and tacit knowledge in professional work.
  130. (1969). Nurses in A. Estioni (Ed) The Semi Professions and their Organization. Teachers, Nurses, Social Workers.
  131. (2005). On the making and taking of professionalism in the further education workplace.
  132. (1998). On Two Metaphors for Learning and the Dangers of Choosing Just One.
  133. (1997). One developmental line in European Activity Theories
  134. (2001). Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
  135. (2004). Organizational Culture and Leadership.
  136. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice.
  137. (2008). Pierre Bourdieu
  138. (2004). Pierre Bourdieu: Agent Provocateur.
  139. (1997). Policy Sociology and Critical Social Research: a personal review of recent education policy and policy research.
  140. (1998). Practical Reason: on the Theory of Action. Stanford:
  141. (1994). Professionalism and Competence
  142. (2001). Professionalism and trust: the future of teachers and teaching. A speech by the secretary of state for education to the Social Market Foundation,
  143. (2007). Promoting Developmental Transfer in Vocational Teacher Education in T. Tuomi-Gröhn & Y. Engeström
  144. (2006). Prosperity for All in the Global Economy: world class skills, Final Report. London: The Stationery Office.
  145. (2000). Reading Bourdieu in Society and Culture. doi
  146. (2005). Realising the Potential: a review of the future role of further education colleges.
  147. (2005). Reconceptualising the relations between college-based and workplace learning
  148. (1971). Reference Groups and Social Control in A. Rose (Ed) Human Behavior and Social Processes: An Interactionist Approach. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  149. (2009). Reflecting on the Reflective Practitioner: muddled thinking and poor educational practices. Paper presented to JVET conference,
  150. (1991). Reflective Practice: How Professionals Think in Practice.
  151. (2009). Reforming further education teacher-training: a policy communities and policy network approach.
  152. (2004). Reliability and validity in research based on naturally occurring social interaction in D. Silverman (Ed.) Qualitative Research: Theory, Method and Practice.
  153. (2004). Research as a form of work: expertise, community and methodological objectivity.
  154. (2007). Rethinking Initial Teacher Education for Further Education Teachers: From a standards-led approach to a knowledge-based approach. Teaching Education. doi
  155. (2004). Revised Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research. Available on line at (Accessed
  156. (2004). Rigour and complexity in Educational Research: Conceptualizing the bricolage.
  157. (2009). Rolling out ‘good’, ’best’ and ‘excellent’ practice. What next? Perfect practice?
  158. (2008). Room for improvement? The impact of compulsory professional development for teachers in England’s further education sector.
  159. (1968). Selected Works in one volume. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
  160. (2004). Semiotic approaches to image-based research in B. Somekh & C. Lewin (Eds) Research methods in the social sciences.
  161. (1999). Shifting Identity: new conditions and the transformation of practice – teaching within post-compulsory education,
  162. (1991). Situated Learning. Cambridge:
  163. (1989). Social Space and Symbolic Power.
  164. (1999). Social Theory: A historical Introduction.
  165. (2007). Sociocultural Perspectives on Assessment
  166. (2000). Standardising teaching: the introduction of the national standards for teaching and supporting learning in further education in England and Wales.
  167. (2006). State control of the English education and training system—playing with the biggest train set in the world.
  168. (2006). Strategy Unit (PMSU)
  169. (2006). Subject specialist pedagogy and initial teacher training for the learning and skills sector in England: The context, a response and some critical issues. doi
  170. (2002). Teaching and Learning in Further Education: diversity and change.
  171. (2003). Teaching in Further Education.
  172. (2007). Teaching Training and Learning: A Practical Guide.
  173. (2008). Tears of the Phoenix: How nurturing and support became the ‘cure’ for Further Education.
  174. (2005). Telling Identities: In Search of an Analytic Tool for Investigating Learning as a Culturally Shaped Activity.
  175. (2004). The ‘FENTO Fandango’: national standards, compulsory teaching qualifications and the growing regulation of FE college teachers. doi
  176. (1997). The Business of Learning.
  177. (2003). The Changing face of Further Education:
  178. (2004). The conceptualization and measurement of learning at work in
  179. (1993). The Cultural Politics of Everyday Life.
  180. (2009). The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education.
  181. (2009). The development of mind: Selected Works of Aleksei Nikolaevich Leontyev. Available on line at:
  182. (2008). The Education Debate.
  183. (1994). The Empty Raincoat.
  184. (2007). The establishment of centres for the training of teachers in technical and further education in England,
  185. (1979). The Ethnographic Interview.
  186. (2001). The Experience of Culture.
  187. (1970). The German Ideology: students edition. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
  188. (2007). The heart of what we do’: policies on teaching, learning and assessment in the new learning and skills sector. doi
  189. (2003). The Initial Training of Further Education Teachers: A survey. HMI 1762.
  190. (1993). The Interpretation of cultures.
  191. (1990). The Logic of Practice. Stanford:
  192. (1995). The Modernity of Further Education: Direction of Change in Further Education Colleges. Bilston: Education Now Publishing Co-operative.
  193. (1974). The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences doi
  194. (1961). The oversocialized conception of man in modern sociology. doi
  195. (1998). The Philosophy of Human Learning.
  196. (2004). The Politics of Care: emotional labour and trainee further education lecturers.
  197. (1984). The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge Theory & History of Literature.
  198. (2007). The public face of teacher identity—narrative construction of teacher identity in public policy documents.
  199. (1998). The Radical Centre: A politics without adversary.
  200. (2006). The secret life of teacher educators: becoming a teacher educator in the learning and skills sector.
  201. (2004). The Significance of Individual’s Dispositions in Workplace Learning: a case study of two teachers.
  202. (1995). The Social Self.
  203. (1996). The State Nobility: Elite Schools in the Field of Power.
  204. (1996). The State We’re In.
  205. (2005). The Systemic-Structural Theory of Activity: Applications to the Study of Human Work.
  206. (1983). The Tacit Dimension.
  207. (1994). The Vygotsky Reader
  208. (1986). Thought and Language.
  209. (2007). Tipping Points in education. Speech to QCA, available at
  210. (2002). Toward a Workplace Pedagogy: Guidance, Participation, and Engagement.
  211. Towards a Reflexive Sociology: A Workshop with Pierre Bourdieu,
  212. (2004). Towards an uncertain politics of professionalism: teacher and nurse identities in flux.
  213. (2003). Trained for Isolation: the impact of departmental cultures on student teachers’ views and practices of collaboration.
  214. (2008). Trainee Profiles: A report on trainees on the Certificate
  215. (2004). Training for Change: New Approach to Instruction and Learning in Working Life. Geneva: International Labour Organization.
  216. (2009). Transformation or transformism: Engeström’s version of activity theory?
  217. (2004). Transforming Learning Cultures in Further Education.
  218. (2007). Translating national standards into practice for the initial teaching of Further Education (FE) teachers in England.
  219. (2007). Unbecoming teachers: towards a more dynamic notion of professional participation.
  220. (2007). Understanding Learning Cultures.
  221. (2005). Understanding Mind in World: The Vygotskian Legacy. Paper presented in ESRC TLRP Thematic Seminar Series: Contexts, communities, networks: Mobilising learners’ resources and relationships in different domains, Glasgow Caledonian University:
  222. (1996). Understanding Practice Perspectives on activity and context.
  223. (2001). Vygotsky and Pedagogy.
  224. (1986). Vygotsky in Context in L.S. Vygotsky Thought and Language.
  225. (2007). Vygotsky’s Neglected Legacy’: Cultural-Historical Activity Theory.
  226. (2007). Website available on-line at:
  227. (1991). Welfare Labourism versus the New Right: the struggle in New Zealand’s educational policy.
  228. (1993). What is Policy? Texts, trajectories and toolboxes.
  229. (2004). Work-based Learning and Social Justice: “learning to labour” and the new vocationalism in England.
  230. (2003). Work-based Learning Programmes and Social Capital.
  231. (2001). Work-based Learning: A New
  232. (2004). Workplace Learning in Context London:
  233. (2002). Workplace Pedagogic Practices: Co-Participation and Learning.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.