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Title: Core skills in context, dispelling the myth of simplicity.
Author: Foulkes, Gordon Thomas.
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis explores the derivation of the core skills curriculum prescription through the layered perspectives of globalism and its interpretation at national level. I critically examine the claims made in the government rhetoric around improving the core skills of young people through vocational education and consider the nature of core skills and the complexity inherent in the concepts of embedded knowledge, transfer, and learning styles. The introduction of core skills in GNVQs into a college of further education shortly after incorporation in 1994 was the setting to explore students and lecturers perceptions of core skills learning alongside the impact of the changes in education policy. Drawing on the data that my study provided I analysed core skills learning within the contextual complexities of a large college of further education. I report the students and lecturers perceptions of the nature of the core skills, the methods of learning established in the college, and their reactions to change. This thesis is partly about my journey which started with my accepting that the curriculum prescription for core skills in GNVQs was appropriate for my students and adopting a realist / empiricist approach to my research. As my research proceeded my journey was taking me from the simple to the complex and this led me to question this stance and adopt an interpretivist position as a way of coping with the complex messages I was receiving from lecturers and students. I analyse the lecturers and students perceptions and explain them through linking the literature relating to innovation and change to that on the nature of learning. I conclude that core skills learning and rhetoric mean little until they are linked with innovation strategies and the nature of teaching and learning. I suggest that core skills learning was unclear but was presented in the rhetoric as self evident and its implementation in the college was reduced to a learning design problem. This led to uncertainty, insecurity, anxiety and frustration for both students and staff. I explore three models relating to innovation, planned learning and fluid learning and demonstrate that oversimplified approaches to a whole range of complex social, organisational and interactive processes are unlikely to work and that innovation, planned learning and fluid learning are linked and interlocked.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Further education; GNVQs; Innovation