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What is vocational pedagogy? PCET Consortium Conference 27 th June 2014 Industrial Expert to Vocational Tutor in FE and the skills sector: stories of transition.

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Presentation on theme: "What is vocational pedagogy? PCET Consortium Conference 27 th June 2014 Industrial Expert to Vocational Tutor in FE and the skills sector: stories of transition."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is vocational pedagogy? PCET Consortium Conference 27 th June 2014 Industrial Expert to Vocational Tutor in FE and the skills sector: stories of transition Dr. Christine Warr

2 Transition – what? ‘It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions’ (Bridges, 1993:3) Changes focus on outcomes at organisational level whereas transition is more concerned with the psychological processes individuals go through to enable them to deal with change.

3 Focus of the research The research focused on the transition process that individuals undergo when moving from industry to education. Aim was to offer insight into the transition process from the tutor’s perspective.

4 Sample ‘ The aim is to illuminate the general by looking at the particular’ (Denscombe, 2003: 30) Twelve vocational tutors working in the construction or engineering departments of a large further education college. Industrial experience (a debatable concept)on entry ranged from 30 years to zero. Education levels included first degree (not in the vocational subject), HND in the vocational subject, with the majority having maximum of level 3 in their vocational subject.

5 Background Through narrative interviews the research project investigated:  Why some individuals move from industry to teaching (career trajectory)  How the move affected their perceptions of self (identity)  How individuals ‘learn’ to be vocational tutors (socialisation)

6 Conceptual framework ‘three core concepts – individual career trajectories, personal socialisation processes and developing professional identities’ (Stevenson, 2006: 414). This framework directed focus on the experiences of the vocational tutors, rather than organisational and/or sector policy issues.

7 Career trajectory Exploration of past experiences and future aspirations provided ‘the meaning of the present’ (Viskovic and Robson, 2001:225). Adequate subject knowledge, life experiences and willingness to adapt. Why teaching? Often serendipitous, with events such as ill health and redundancy being the catalyst for change.

8 Identity (Am I a teacher?) Perceptions of self seen to be instrumental in successful transition. Continuum emerged from complete denial to total acceptance of a teaching identity. But what is a teacher: ‘If it’s transferring knowledge from one person to another, then yeah, then yes I do’

9 Socialisation A long term process, often including a period of readjustment, for example time between redundancy or ill health and teaching Dual aspect of learning: reforming subject knowledge to facilitate transfer and developing essential teaching skills. Development of career scripts central to the successful relationship between the employer and the tutor.

10 Figure 1.1: The transition cycle - a template for human responses to change (Williams, 1999:2)

11 Life event (b)Life event (a) High expectations Hope, fear excitement, Despair, dissatisfaction Initial career Confidence Understanding Contentment Disappointment, quitting after 18 months Pre - teaching up to 30 years Period of transition up to 7 years Key events and human responses in the career trajectories of vocational tutors. (Adapted from Williams, 1999: 2).

12 Managerialism and the pressures of performativity Genericism and the pressures of differentiation Widening participation and the pressure for inclusion Transition cycles (time) Formal and informal education General life experience Vocational tutor Pressures and expectations Accountability Resources Uncertainty Complexity Tensions Factors influencing the transition process of vocational tutors moving from an industrial to an educational career (Adapted from Stevenson, 2006: 415)

13 Significance for policy and practice (1) New tutors are sometimes ill-prepared to meet the remit of a sector that tries ‘to be all things to all people’ (Lucas, 2004: 139). Need to teach generic skills and provide pastoral care in a target driven environment came as a surprise. Induction programmes provide basic requirements but little evidence of psychological or emotional support.

14 Significance for policy and practice (2) Lack of transparency in recruitment regarding the need to teach outside the area of expertise. The value of tertiary education (for example, Certificate of Education) provides deeper understanding of the drivers of the sector and a ‘sense of collective status’ (Robson, 2001:4).

15 References Bridges, W. (1993) Managing Transitions, Making the Most of Change, Reading: Addison-Wesley. Denscombe, M. (2003) The Good Research Guide, 2 nd Ed., Maidenhead: McGraw Hill. Lucas, N. (2004) Teaching in Further Education. New perspectives for a changing context, London: Institute of Education. Robson, J. (2001) ‘Professional Challenges for Further Education Teachers in the UK’, available at: accessed http://www.som.surrey.ac.uk/TTnet/prof-chn.htm Stevenson, H. (2006) ‘Moving towards, into and through principalship: developing a framework for researching the career trajectories of school leaders’, Journal of Educational Administration, 44 (4), pp Viskovic, A. and Robson, J. (2001) ‘Community and Identity: experiences and dilemmas of vocational teachers in post-school contexts’, Journal of In-Service Education, 27 (2), pp Williams, D. (1999) ‘Human responses to change’, Futures, 31 (6), pp


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