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Title: Academic teachers' workplace learning and its role in the formation of their teaching practices
Author: Chown, Adrian Mark
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 2011
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Few studies have examined the character of academic teachers' workplace learning and its role in the formation of their teaching practices. There is also a lack of appropriate theoretical and conceptual frameworks, or 'analytical perspectives', in the literature. This thesis is based on a small-scale, ethnographic-style case-study of the workplace learning of seven lecturers who comprise the Pharmacy Practice subjectgroup (PPG) in a 'new' university in the UK. During a six month period, qualitative data were gathered through observation of working activities and individual interviews, complemented by document review. The concepts and principles of Engestrom's Activity Theory were used to examine the character of the participants' workplace learning; its motives and its functions in relation to their teaching practices. The case study also evaluated this analytical perspective. Learning was a pervasive constituent of the participants' normal collaborative working activities. It had complex historical, social, cultural and individual dimensions; diverse motives, and its functions included the maintenance; adaptation and radical transformation of teaching practices. A comprehensive, coherent, systematic understanding of these characteristics required the adoption of the work-group as the prime unit of analysis, rather than individual members, and an acknowledgment that learning was a communal process involving various forms of participation. Thus the case study provides further evidence that academic teachers' practices are highly complex, 'situated' and often collectively formed in small-scale work groups, especially disciplinary or specialist-subject groups. These insights indicate that the technical-rational and interpretive-constructive analytical perspectives which are widely adopted to understand academic teachers' work and learning cannot provide an adequate account of their workplace learning or its functions. The thesis provides an alternative perspective, together with detailed insights, examples and findings, which can be used to inform measures intended to improve university teaching and support the professional development of academic teachers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available