In pursuit of professional knowledge and practice : some experiences of lifelong learning sector trainee teachers in England 2008-10
This thesis explores the participation of student teachers during their part time in-service initial teacher education course based on the campus of a higher education institution in the North West of England. It investigates the extent to which initial teacher education prepares teachers as professional practitioners in the lifelong learning sector. The research was conducted in a university campus forming part of a higher education institution, using a qualitative, reflexive methodology. The data is derived from naturally-occurring class discussions, a range of course-related artefacts and semi-structured interviews with participants. The fieldwork took place in during the period 2008-2010. The participation of student teachers is examined within the context of work-based learning (WBL) in the lifelong learning sector (LLS), drawing upon the work of John Dewey and a Bourdieusian concept of habitus. The study broadly contributes to debates about the nature of professional knowledge and practice in work based learning. The literature review presents a picture of a sector struggling to define itself and of initial teacher education (the focus of the research) buffeted by external regulation and control. It concludes that restrictive notions of confidence, a contested notion of what constitutes excellence, and routinised practices restrict and constrain the participation, experiences and development of teachers. The data suggests that participants experienced funnelled and routinised practices, resulting not only from initial teacher education curricula, but also from evidence-based practices and workplace regulation. It argues that time and space are crucial elements of the development of professional knowledge and practice, recommending that both the teacher education curricula and the workplace should work more closely to inculcate the processes and practices of an expansive educational experience for developing teachers.