Teacher decision making in further education
Teachers' decision making is a crucial element in the quality of delivery of teaching and learning and, therefore, of educational outcomes in the form of student performance. There is, however, a dearth of relevant studies in this area, especially in the F. E. sector. This study sets out to investigate the practice of teachers' decision making in the substantive context of the Further Education sector in Scotland. The investigation adopted two main approaches: firstly, an interpretive approach,in which qualitative and quantitative methods were combined to collect and analyse data by the protocols of individual interviews, case studies and questionnaires: secondly, a developmental approach involved the application throughout of constant comparative analysis,in the tradition of "grounded theory". The population of the study, the source of both qualitative and quantitative data, was made up of 145 practitioner- subjects, drawn from a range of subject specialisms and approximately evenly split in terms of gender. The qualitative data,when statistically analysed permitted comparisons of the responses of the subjects to be made in terms of major subject specialisms in their teaching,and also in terms of gender. The major conceptual and theoretical outcome is a descriptive model of the practice of teachers' decision making, developed on the basis of subsidiary outcomes: a new, operational definition of decision. an innovative typology of decisions; an original way of categorising decisions by their content or substance. The developed versions of these outcomes constitute the major findings of the research. Recommendations include: potential applications of the outcomes of the study; possible research routes to further development of the conceptual findings presented. The boundaries and limitations of the study are also described and discussed.