The study takes a qualitative approach to the study of lecturers’ practice in FE
colleges. The meanings and ideas that individuals hold about their practice and their
narratives about work experiences are captured through an exploratory methodology.
The study is based in four FE colleges and offers a comparison of experienced
lecturers, novice lecturers and managers to discuss dimensions of lecturers’ practice,
namely their autonomy, responsibility and knowledge.
Macro policies are introduced to FE colleges by external players and are driven top -
down in FE colleges. Here, colleges are defined as the meso level of the Learning and
Skills Sector. Within each college’s unique context lecturers have to negotiate their
daily work routines and practices, that is, forming the micro arena. At the micro level,
termed ‘the lecturer’s space’ the ongoing reconciliation by lecturers of the outside-in
vectors (factors in the work environment that impinge on lecturers) with the insideout
vectors (factors that emerge from their personal orientations and understandings)
is examined to gain an understanding of practice.
Degraded practice found in two of the three case-study colleges is compared with the
third which emerged as having less degradation. Drawing on the evidence for nondegraded
practice in this latter college, recommendations are made with regards to
improving learning opportunities and the workplace, so that lecturers can realise their
potential for flourishing in their teaching.
In conclusion, the position of the colleges in the structured field of post compulsory
education and training was explored in an attempt to explain the pattern of degraded
practice amongst the case-study colleges. It was proposed that those colleges with
weaker reserves of academic capital were more subject to the macro level discourses
that advocated treating lecturers’ practice as a form of delivery. Moreover, the casestudy
college with more extensive reserves of academic capital was less dependent on
external stakeholders’ priorities and as a consequence was able to develop its own
approach with regards to forming a community of practice.
|Date of Award
|1 Jan 2008
|Peter Cressey (Supervisor) & Hugh Lauder (Supervisor)
- Further education