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The new further education teacher as an agent of change: A case study of initial teacher training in further education

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posted on 2023-08-30, 15:48 authored by Michael D. Hall
The training of Further Education teachers has been debated since the incorporation of Further Education colleges in the UK in 1992 but, to date, moves by governments and their agencies to professionalise the FE teaching sector have been unsuccessful. The continuation of a homogenous initial teacher training programme within the FE sector has resulted in this sector failing to respond to the changing needs of society and the complex needs of the new FE teacher. This study explored the FE teacher training programme within one college in the UK. The research questions focussed on four elements: the concept of professionalism in FE teaching, the FE teacher as an agent of change, the changing professional identity of the participants and the ways new FE teachers managed multiple professional identities. Using a case study approach, twenty-two new FE teachers undertaking the initial teacher training programme participated in the research as they took on their new professional role as FE teachers. The project used mixed methods of data collection including self-completion questionnaires, focus groups, observations and semi-structured interviews. Thematic content analysis identified that the FE teachers experienced changing and multiple professional identities, from vocational experts to qualified educators, whilst retaining elements of their previous professional identities. Through this process of change, new FE teachers acted as change agents and helped FE students realise their own aspirations. This research demonstrates that Further Education teaching can be categorised into three distinct areas based on the subjects taught: the vocational teacher, the professional teacher, and the academic teacher. Teachers from each area require a different focus in their initial teacher training. The study identifies the need for different approaches to Further Education initial teacher training for the three areas and offers opportunities to develop distinct teaching qualifications and career pathways whilst capturing the generic sociological aspects of FE teaching.



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