The construction of further education lecturers' practice

  • Anne Parfitt

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


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 Award1 Jan 2008
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorPeter Cressey (Supervisor) & Hugh Lauder (Supervisor)


  • knowledge
  • Further education
  • practice

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