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Title: Second chance learning and the contexts of teaching : a study of the learning experiences of further education students with few qualifications
Author: Coalter, Vicki
ISNI:       0000 0001 3559 3465
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis examines the learning experience of a group of students in a further education college. This group, mainly adult returners, (there was a small cohort of school leavers) with few academic qualifications, succeeded in gaining Higher National awards and some went on to complete a degree. Students from 1995-2002 on one course in a college of further education were surveyed and interviewed. Findings from 95 questionnaires and 60 interviews on what factors they considered important to their success, how they learned best, and what elements of the learning experience were important to them, were all used to examine the learning of this group of students, both with Highers and without Highers, adult returners and school leavers, with a view to designing a teaching model for both sets of students. The initial hypothesis that those without Higher qualifications required something radically different from those with Highers, was disproved. Three case studies were used to give a more chronological and holistic picture of the student experience. The study shows that discussion, group communal learning and the trust and reciprocity exhibited within the dynamics of this particular FE classroom contributed to the efficacy of the learning experiences. Concepts of learner identity, discourse, student and teacher identities and pedagogical traditions were explored in the light of the data. Social capital was used as a heuristic device to examine the mechanics of classroom activity, the bonding of the group and how the small world of an FE classroom related to the larger networks of the workplace, the community and higher education. The final outcome, the model, was presented as a broad set of principles based on the students’ comments, the teacher/researcher’s experience and education theories. It was to be “learning focused” rather than “training focused” (Eraut et al. 2000: 240). Relationships between staff and students, students and students, modes of thinking linked to critical discourse and collaborative activity were the key factors in their successful achievement. The workplace context and the use of the practical setting were seen as important in making the learning link to “real life” but were not seen as the pivotal force. This combination of social and cognitive forces was translated into a model. The principles contained in the model were an expression of the way the students changed in their thinking, and in themselves, and what classroom dynamics brought these changes about.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: L Education (General) ; LB Theory and practice of education