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Title: "Taking the path of least resistance" : a constructivist grounded theory of H.E. teacher practice enactments at a UK landbased college
Author: Rapley, Eve
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 0382
Awarding Body: University of Bedfordshire
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 2017
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Landbased Studies Foundation and Bachelor degrees (FD and BSc) are generally taught in specialist FE landbased colleges, with teachers typically teaching both FE (Ofqual RQF Levels 0–3) and HE (Ofqual RQF Levels 4–6). Such teachers are designated in the literature as being HE in FE (Higher Education in Further Education) or CBHE (College Based Higher Education) teachers. Using a single case study landbased college, this study adopts a qualitative, naturalistic methodology using intensive interviewing and classroom observations of six Animal, Equine and Veterinary Nursing Studies HE in FE teachers. Characterised as an under-represented group within UK education research, these teachers teach both HE and FE within a small, UK landbased college. The study examines the nature of HE teacher pedagogic practice enactments, and factors which enable and constrain them within an FE college environment. Conceived within a interpretivist socio-constructivist framework, this study is influenced by the anti-dualist social philosophy of Practice Theory (PT) whereby people, places and material objects all contribute to how practice is enacted. Rather than considering material artefacts to be merely background objects and a college being simply an inert container where teaching takes place, a sensitivity to Practice Theory considers the FE context, material aspects and teacher pedagogic practices as a whole, rather than from one or other side of the structure versus agency divide. Within this study a particular variant of Practice Theory, Practice Architectures (PA) (Kemmis and Grootenboer, 2008), has been used to sensitise the study. The study adopts a Constructivist Grounded Theory (CGT) approach as a means of exploring a neglected and under-theorised area of Post-Compulsory education. The CGT methodology influenced and guided the research design and interpretive data iv analysis. Using purposive sampling of teacher participants, theoretical sampling, and the iterative cycles of constant comparison associated with Grounded Theory (GT), the data was used to construct four key categories. From these categories three main theoretical themes were identified from the data; Surveillance and Control, Teacher Identity and Agency, and Pedagogic Risk Aversion. The interpretive analysis suggests that HE pedagogic practice enactments are influenced and constrained by the college as a site, by its management, and by the wider neoliberal landscape of surveillance and auditing, as well as by the teachers themselves, the HE students, and material, non-human physical spaces and artefacts. The resultant HE pedagogic practice enactments are risk averse, tending towards instrumentalism and teacher-centeredness. The final CGT theoretically accounts for the HE practice enactments of the HE in FE teachers at the college and is discussed in relation to HE in FE literature, and to a number of pertinent theories within and beyond education. The CGT contributes to an enhanced understanding of HE teacher pedagogic practice enactments, and has potential for generalisability beyond the specific college. The original contributions to knowledge consists of: devising a novel methodology whereby PT/PA and CGT are articulated; adding to the body of literature for HE in FE pedagogy; and adding to the pauce corpus of literature for landbased education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: constructivist grounded theory ; HE in FE ; practice theory ; landbased ; practice architectures ; higher education ; further education ; X320 Academic studies in Primary Education