• VET realignment and the development of technical elites: learning at work in England

      Esmond, Bill; Atkins, Liz; University of Derby (European Research Network in Vocational Education and Training (VETNET), 2020-08-11)
      An enhanced role for work-based learning is advocated increasingly widely across industrialised countries and by international VET policies. However, this is framed differently in each country by long-term policy orientations that reflect VET’s relationship with wider economic and social formations. These national differences reflect path dependency but also distinctive responses to contemporary challenges such as globalisation. In England, recent reforms strengthening workplace learning are constrained by existing patterns of skill formation and may be shaped by further market liberalisation and divergence from social and economic policies in Europe. The study examined the relationship between greater emphasis on workplace learning in England and societal change, addressing the research question: how are early experiences of work in England, as part of young people’s full-time education programmes, positioning them for future employment? Case studies were organised around apparently distinctive placement types that had emerged from earlier studies. Using the constant comparative method, the team identified a series of categories to distinguish the way each type of work-based learning positioned students in a particular type of labour market transition. Evidence emerged of divergence in England’s ‘further education’ system, across mainly male ‘technical’ routes, young people on vocational courses preparing them for routine, low-skilled, precarious employment, and an area of greater uncertainty preparing young people for digital routes linked to the ‘new economy’. Key dimensions of difference included study locations, discourses of occupational status, types of valued learning content, approaches to socialisation, sources of expertise and processes of credentialisation. In each case, learning at work served to position students for a particular type of labour market transition, which we characterise as technical elite formation, welfare VET and new economy precarity. Approaches to workplace learning in England already reflect social distinctions but entail the possibility of reinforcing these, supporting a more hierarchical pattern of labour market transition. Whilst the upper strata of VET shift their purpose to support the formation of new ‘technical elites’, others face the possibility of further marginalisation. Such new inequalities could become central to a further fragmented society in a post-Brexit, post-COVID-19 Britain. Other European states facing challenges of globalisation and the transition to services are also likely to experience pressures for VET stratification, although they may seek less divisive solutions.
    • El enfoque mosaico, derecho a la participación y la voz de los niños en investigación educativa

      Delgado-Fuentes, Marco Antonio; University of Derby (Universidad CESMAG, 2020-06-11)
      This review article explores and discusses some of the methodological in-novations regarding childhood and education by focusing on the mosaic approach. It is a methodological approach -not constituted as a method yet- which has been mainly developed in English and it is founded on concepts such as those of qualitative research, childhood studies, the rights of the child and particularly, their right to participate in research about themselves and their world. A historical framework is presented to facilitate the understanding of the multidisciplinary origins of this approach. The process of the literature review was made in a database that contained 71 million references, out of which 28 references, which identified the mosaic approach as their method, were selected. The analysis of this approach presents a diverse panorama in its use, although it mainly focuses on preschool and early education. To conclude, a reflection about the use of this approach in the future is made and, particularly in Latin America where the incipient use of the mosaic approach seems to be relevant.
    • Surveillance of modern motherhood: Experiences of universal parenting courses

      Simmons, Helen; University of Derby (Palgrave MacMillan, 2020-08-23)
      This book explores the reflections and experiences of mothers of children aged 0-3 years that have attended universal parenting courses. Simmons considers the factors that motivated mothers to attend a universal parenting course and explore the wider experiences of early modern motherhood in the UK. She investigates participants' perceptions of benefits of attending a parenting course, different forms of parenting advice accessed by mothers, and how this provides an insight into the wider constructs and experiences of modern motherhood. Ultimately, the book considers, through a feminist post-structuralist lens, the social and cultural pressures within modern motherhood in relation to different levels of surveillance, and produces new knowledge for practice within the early years and health sectors in relation to the support currently offered to new mothers. It will be of interest to students and scholars across the sociology of education, gender studies, and childhood studies.
    • Student autonomy of feedback format in higher education and perceived functional behaviours for academic development

      Sparrow, Abby; Smith, Samantha; Petronzi, Dominic; Wilson, Helen; Roeschlaub, Sarah; Smith, Melanie; University of Derby (Octagon Education Consultancy, 2020-05-11)
      In the current context of promoting active learning and raising student engagement within Higher Education, an increasing amount of research has looked at pedagogical-based design and factors that contribute to functional behaviours surrounding the interaction and use of academic assessment feedback. However, few studies have considered the perceived influence of student autonomy over feedback format and whether this promotes engagement and academic development. In this study, we recruited level 5 and 6 students (N = 38) on an undergraduate Education Programme (that has consistently implemented student feedback choice) to participate in initial self-reporting and subsequent focus groups ("soft triangulation‟). The findings revealed three core themes: [1] Personalisation – (a) sense of autonomy/involvement, (b) engagement and (c) motivation, [2] Clarity – (d) depth and detail, and [3] Areas for development. Overall, these findings suggest that feedback type – and the inherent option to choose – has a functional impact on academic engagement and development. We discuss these findings in relation to a sense of being valued that was associated with autonomy of choice, a divergence in how and when students engage with feedback, as well as the requirement for academic clarity and provision of formats that support academic development.
    • Raising regional academic voices (alongside data) in higher education (HE) debate

      Hayes, Sarah; Jopling, Michael; Hayes, Dennis; Westwood, Andy; Tuckett, Alan; Barnett, Ronald; Hayes, Dennis; University of Derby (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-05-13)
      As agendas for data-driven measures of excellence dominate policy in UK Higher Education (HE), we argue that the generic structure of national policy frameworks virtually silences regional voices. This furthers a territorially agnostic discourse about universities, downplays institutional history and purpose, risks concealing innovative practices, and fails to tackle entrenched inequalities. In response, we point to the value of live, place-based debate in HE institutions to highlight distributional inequity, raise local voices and connect these with national policy. Yet even as we compiled this article about HE debate, the Covid-19 pandemic took hold globally, cancelling face-to-face meetings, by necessity. We therefore draw on a postdigital perspective, as we share our individual dialogues in support of debate, via collective writing, against this new backdrop of social distancing and widespread uncertainty. We may not currently be able to convene our Midlands HE Policy Network (MHEPN) debates in person, but we can voice the essential part that regional universities play in connecting global technological and biological change, with local social projects, citizens and industry. Postdigital theory offers one route to understanding that Covid-19 does not sit apart from other political economic challenges in HE and beyond, that we need to debate simultaneously.
    • Tackling the personal tutoring conundrum: A qualitative study on the impact of developmental support for tutors

      Walker, Ben; University of Lincoln (SAGE Publications, 2020-06-10)
      The significance of personal tutoring continues to increase as a result of contextual developments and the outcomes of key research on student retention and success, and yet these developments simultaneously create significant challenges in delivery within the pastoral model of personal tutoring. In addition, it remains an under-developed and under-researched area. Personal tutors’ needs and concerns have been established, and assessment of an intervention to address them has been recommended. This study examines the impact of the intervention of tailored professional development materials for tutoring within a pastoral model created in response to these issues. It reveals the usefulness of this developmental support and the need for such guidance for this work. It is argued that there are implications in terms of approaches to tutoring within this pastoral model, developmental support provision and a need for consistency of standards in personal tutoring across the sector.
    • Vocational teachers and workplace learning: integrative, complementary and implicit accounts of boundary crossing

      Esmond, Bill; University of Derby (Taylor & Francis, 2020-05-25)
      Where young people’s upper-secondary education spans work and institutional domains, questions arise about learning across both spheres and its guidance. Theoretical accounts of ‘boundary crossing’ have explored how vocational teachers can integrate learning across domains by drawing on extended concepts and theoretical knowledge to solve workplace problems; whilst empirical accounts have validated the role of vocational educators by describing the workplace and schools as equally valid, complementary spheres. Different understandings, described here as ‘integrative’, ‘complementary’ and ‘implicit’, appear to reflect different national patterns of vocational education. The paper reports a qualitative study conducted around two case studies, located in Germany and England, of the way vocational teachers’ understandings of facilitating learning across domains are constructed. Vocational teachers working in Germany’s ‘dual training’ claimed to provide advanced knowledge that they compared to practical work skills, reflecting ‘implicit’ or ‘complementary’ approaches to learning across domains. Teachers in England, where workplace learning elements are more unevenly developed and lack institutional foundations, nevertheless described colleges and workplaces as distinctive, little-connected spheres. These differences suggest that teachers’ approaches are less shaped by the potential or necessity for ‘integrative’ approaches than by the way different systems enable or constrain their conceptualisation of ‘possible futures’.
    • A holistic approach to teaching and personal tutoring

      Walker, Ben; University of Lincoln (2016-05)
      Workshop training session to pre-service trainee teachers
    • A shot in the arm for teacher education within FE

      Walker, Ben; University of Lincoln (2016-06)
    • The future of student success

      Walker, Ben; Manchester Metropolitan University (2019-03)
    • Personal tutoring – boundaries in student support and success

      Walker, Ben; Manchester Metropolitan University (2018-10)
    • A defining moment in personal tutoring: reflections on personal tutoring definitions and their implications

      Walker, Ben; University of Lincoln (University of Lincoln, 2018)
      Despite personal tutoring being a highly important area, it has a contested nature. One contention concerns its definition: in simple terms, what personal tutoring is and, by extension, what effective personal tutoring is. A book on personal tutoring (Stork and Walker, 2015) I co-authored entitled Becoming an Outstanding Personal Tutor - which aims to define the role of the personal tutor in further education as well as explain and demonstrate how to carry out the role effectively) - raises a number of questions to be explored further. These have been brought into sharper focus by both my journey from further to higher education and as a result of my ‘practical’ role as a manager of personal tutoring. The most urgent of these questions are centred on the theme of definition. What alternative definitions are out there? Are single definitions sufficient for the complexity of tutoring? When it comes to personal tutoring, what constitutes a definition anyway? The urgency stems from the increased importance placed on personal tutoring resulting from contextual developments and as shown from the findings of key research reports on the retention and success of students. Similarly, if there is a broad consensus that personal tutoring is vital, then further debate around what it stands for, and should stand for, in terms of good practice, needs to take place. Informed by critical pedagogy, this article will consider these questions of definition and the potential implications for organisations, those undertaking the role and students.
    • Effective personal tutoring in higher education

      Walker, Ben; University of Lincoln (Critical publishing, 2018-10-08)
      This is an important new text for all academic and professional staff within higher education (HE) who have a personal tutoring, student support or advising role. It examines key topics in relation to tutoring including definitions, coaching, core values and skills, boundaries, monitoring students, undertaking group and individual tutorials and the need to measure impact. Throughout, the text encourages reflection and the need to think critically about the role of the personal tutor. A scholarly and practical text, it comprehensively brings together relevant academic literature to inform tutoring practice as well as contextualising the role within the HE policy and quality assurance landscape.
    • Measure learner performance on a scale of 1 to 10

      Walker, Ben; Stalk, Andrew; University of Lincoln (2015)
    • Becoming an outstanding personal tutor: supporting learners through personal tutoring and coaching

      Walker, Ben; University of Lincoln (Critical publishing, 2015-10-21)
      How confident do you feel in your personal tutoring role? In the face of ever-increasing and demanding learner issues, do you feel equipped to provide the essential support to meet their needs? This timely book provides you with essential help in an area which has often been given little attention in comparison with curriculum delivery by contextualising the support side of a teacher’s role within further education; looking beyond conventional notions of personal tutoring and coaching; appreciating the real world applications of issues; recognising the benefits personal tutoring and coaching bring to learners and educational institutions and reflecting on a variety of different approaches to support learners’ achievement as well as positively affecting institutional key performance indicators. It provides proven practical advice and guidance for planning and delivering group tutorials, undertaking one to ones, identifying and managing vulnerable learners and those at risk of not achieving, as well as helping learners to progress onto their chosen career paths. It explores methods to engage the most disaffected and hard to reach learners, as well as stretching and challenging the more able. It includes clear aims, detailed case studies, learning checklists and a unique self-assessment system for the reader and the educational institution. The text is an excellent foundation for the majority of modules on teacher training qualifications and is relevant to any pre-service or in-service trainee teacher or existing practitioner with a personal tutoring role, a specialised personal tutor, manager or anyone in a learner-facing role within further education.
    • How the lessons we learned become lessons we can learn: Understanding memories of primary school experiences using narrative inquiry

      Shelton, Fiona; University of Derby (Waxmann Verlag, 2019-08-15)
      This chapter reflects upon the experiences of the methodological journey I undertook to collect and analyse data for my doctoral research. The reflection explains approaches I took to attempt an authentic and open approach to my research which positions the participants (narrators), as co-authors of their stories of their primary school experiences. In this chapter, I have focused on one theme which related to the lessons learned at school, as remembered by the narrators. The paper explains why narrative inquiry is a valuable method to understand experience and how I try to make sense of stories, recognising that narrators remember the stories with recollections, reflections and feelings (affect). I observed how stories needed to be ‘awakened’; they are not simply remembered and retold. Extracts from different stories told by some of the narrators are shared throughout the paper to exemplify the narratives and how I attempted to create a sense of equality in the co-construction of people's narratives. The final reflections demonstrate the lessons I have learned, looking beyond others' ways of approaching narrative research and finding ways to be an authentic researcher. This paper tells the story of what I have discovered in the research process and makes a methodological contribution to the field of narrative inquiry.