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Dual identities: enhancing the in-service teacher trainee experience in further education

By Kevin Orr and Robin Simmons

Abstract

This project researched the historical and political background to teacher training in the English Further Education (FE) sector. It then considered the experience of HR managers, teacher educators and teacher trainees at two FE colleges in order to better understand the experience of in-service teacher training in FE. \ud \ud The FE sector of England has traditionally emphasised vocational or subject expertise over pedagogy and until recently staff did not have to be teacher-qualified. Consequently, the sector has lacked a culture that promotes the professional development of teaching knowledge and skills. Since the election of the New Labour government in 1997 FE has been central to economic and social policy and there have been initiatives designed to regulate and professionalise the workforce. These initiatives include the introduction of national standards and the requirement for staff in FE to hold teaching qualifications. In contrast to schools, ninety percent of staff train part-time while in-service and so are expected to perform as teachers while also being trainees. Many have to quickly manage full teaching timetables and so have little time to develop their practice, which favours conservative approaches to pedagogy. This is exacerbated by government reforms that have added to the bureaucratic elements of both teacher education and FE more generally. These tend to reinforce a limited perception of teaching as primarily technical, all of which means that coping is prioritised over developing teaching. The professionalism and pedagogy of FE teaching are thus restricted. To help alleviate this situation, the following recommendations are made to FE employers and teacher educators, while understanding the limits of their influence. \ud oRecognise trainees as a defined category of employee.\ud oIncrease trainees’ workload incrementally.\ud oFormally recognise the key role of teacher educator. \ud oEnhance the status of mentors.\ud oPrioritise the teacher training course.\ud oPrioritise pedagogic elements over administration in teacher training.\ud oConsider how trainees can be supported while maintaining challenge.\ud oIncrease the integration and relevance of theory in teacher training

Topics: LB2300, L1
Publisher: University of Huddersfield
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:7656

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