Growing Concerns: practitioners’ positions on engaging in Continuing Professional Development in a deregulated FE and Skills sector

Taylerson, Lynne (2020) Growing Concerns: practitioners’ positions on engaging in Continuing Professional Development in a deregulated FE and Skills sector. Doctoral thesis, University of Sunderland.

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Educators’ participation in formal CPD is declining (UCU, 2016), yet informal, social media-based dialogues are ‘burgeoning’ in terms of participation and academic interest, (Bergviken-Rensfeldt, Hillman & Selwyn, 2018:230), the rhizomatic online spaces where ‘community is curriculum’ (Cormier, 2018:1) grow in number. A netnographic study (Kozinets, 2015) was used to analyse activity on Twitter-based educators’ communities over a 6-month period. A new model mapping the online community dialogues was devised from the study. The model created shows that thematically, dialogues fall under 3 lenses. The ‘Pedagogy’ and ‘Learning Community’ lens discourses show teachers collaborating to build technical and practical wisdom. ‘Identity and Voice’ lens dialogues speak to educators’ praxis-building in demands for agency in CPD choice and desire for holistic, democratic learning experiences for students. Value-laden, political engagement is a key part of participating educators’ identities, an alternative doxa emerges. Social Purpose Education discourses oppose both the neoliberal ‘learning for earning’ agenda (Biesta, 2005:688) and reductive, ‘tick box’ approaches to students’ learning and the judgement of teachers. Focus groups and 1-1 interviews enabled member checking corroborating the value of the ‘3 lens’ model and employed the model as a discursive focussing device. Interview and focus group participants gain valuable learning online from informal social media discourses. Online dialogues somewhat replace a sense of community no longer found where fractional contract working and time pressures have eroded the FE staffroom learning culture. That said, engagement is problematic. Tensions occur and most participants do not formally document informal online activity or disseminate outcomes. Further research is required exploring how we might gather meaningful impacts from informal, ad hoc online learning. FE teachers and teacher educators are encouraged to use the 3-lens model as a comparison tool to reflect upon differences between formal and informal CPD agendas, identifying what might be necessary to professional learning but absent from formal dialogues. Teachers should join social media communities to explore development of authentic digital pedagogies for online informal learning. The sector is urged to revisit and revise the ETF (2014) Professional Standards to promote the importance of individual growth, community engagement, social justice and sustainability in a reframed direction and professional learning agenda for the FE sector.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions: Collections > Theses
Depositing User: Leah Maughan
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2021 08:59
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2021 09:00

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