Advanced Studies in Professionalism

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Advanced Studies in Professionalism in Education and Training

Introduction

This essay will argue that a new perception of teaching and managing in FE post 16 education is required, to maintain and retain dedicated and caring teachers. It will not only look at how the lecturer is perceived in FE Education, it will address the political, sociological and philosophical significances and consequences. It will address the valuing of the sessionally paid lecturer, the political influences that surround all issues relating to the lecturer, and look at the working practices within the college system.

Historical Background

The social philosophy of further education colleges and universities has been modified and watered down considerably in the last twenty years. Significant changes have occurred in the vocational curriculum, with new measures and strictures for funding having exacerbated ‘quality assurance’. This major change is a result of professionals sitting on panels for governing issues, who are now from the business sector. The result of this major restructuring in funding has aided the continuing disintegration of non-vocational study.

The management and administrative decision making, now takes place in a very tight framework of financial constraints. The Dearing Report (1995) states quite clearly that the shift for ‘further changes and re-organisation’ will carry on for the conceivable future in this sector.

This leads to teachers having less and less power to be in charge of they're working circumstances. This is leading to major dissention between teachers and the management, and as indicated in the reflections, which accompany this essay, this leads to serious under funding of resources, with the external accountability prioritising over student needs.

Dissention around the FE teacher has always there with considerable force put on the qualification process itself. In a document published for the NATFHE Journal, Bill Oxtoby, (the Principal of the Bolton Institute at this time), wrote that looking to the future of teaching in the 1990’s, s, the issues to be faced were that significance would be attached to the fact that the FE teacher had no pre-service requirement. This he stated would:

“……raise questions about status and the nature of the FE teaching as a profession”

Oxtoby, also in the same article made note of the fact that FE teachers should pull together to format a national forum so that new policies for teacher training could be implemented. These we explore in the following section.

Dual Professionalism

There has long been suspicions of the FE teacher, in that the categorisation of them been ‘professionals’ has always raised contention with public and other so called professionals. Venebles (1967) states that the FE teacher has been characterised by having ‘dual-professionalism”. This is clarified by them by not been identified by their second profession, that is that of a teacher, but more, by their first profession. An example here is that a joiner in their first profession, when asked is still a joiner, not a teacher of joinery.

Venables (1967 states: -
“The teacher in technical college tends not to regard himself primarily as a teacher of a specific subject but rather identities with his former profession and considers himself an engineer or draughtsman who happens to be teaching”

As Jocelyn Robson (1998) states, (www.ifl.ac.uk/developments) dual-professionalism in the context of the above, should have formidable force to be a professional teacher in the truest sense, but this is not the case as most see their first profession pertaining as having more meaning and significance for their ‘professionalism’.

It is without doubt a contentious issue that surrounds colleges across the country, and one that is raising dissention with many. Clarity is given to this in that there are many tutors/teachers out...
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