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Title: Doing it for themselves : a network analysis of vocational teachers' development of their occupationally specific expertise
Author: Broad, Janet Hamilton
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 2013
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This study explores how vocational teachers in English Further Education (FE) colleges maintain and develop their subject and occupational expertise. Actor- Network Theory (ANT) is used to offer an alternative conceptualisation of vocational teachers' continued professional development (CPD) as it enables the complex networks and relations between the various actors of CPD to be mapped. In particular, this approach makes visible the alternate and competing worlds of CPD that teachers and their employing colleges inhabit. A three stage inductive mixed method research approach, congruent with ANT was taken. The first stage involved a questionnaire survey of teachers in order to begin to map the territory. The second stage involved interviewing a sample of respondents to the questionnaire, to elicit their views and perceptions. The third stage 'followed the actor' of CPD so as to understand how teachers, on the ground, maintain and develop subject and occupational expertise. Through the application of ANT concepts of multiple worlds and realities, the different worlds teachers engage with to develop occupational expertise emerged. By following the actor of teacher CPD activities two things were made explicit. First, three key drivers for teachers were identified: a) passion for subject or occupational area; b) maintaining occupational currency; and c) improving teaching and learning. Second, the mechanisms that teachers use and the networks they engage with outside of their employing organisation became apparent. It is through the different conceptualisations produced by the alternate worlds that barriers to CPD emerged. Nevertheless, it is evident that teachers act with agency and, despite the barriers identified, work hard to maintain their subject and occupational expertise. They do this in spite of, not because of organisational approaches to their professional development.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available