Pedagogy in Further Education and Vocational Teacher Education

Jim Crawley | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

Connecting theory, practice and workplaces

The multiplicity of contexts, content, theories and practices across education systems, particularly in the English FES, is a significant challenge for the teaching professional. Research has recognised how working to mediate these challenges is one of the most important aspects of teacher education. Crowe and Berry (2007), Davey (2013), Guyton (2000), Kitchen (2005a), Korthagen et al. (2006), Korthagen (2001), Kosnik (2001), Laws et al. (2009), Loughran (2007), Lunenberg (2002), McKeon and Harrison (2010), Murray and Male (2005) and Tryggvason (2012) all argue that teacher education can bridge gaps; cross bridges; surface learning; cross borders and connect diverse and different elements of practice. This common theme of connection and developing connectivity in teachers is described in different terms, but the importance of the connections and teacher educators’ role in helping to make them is consistent.

McKeon and Harrison (2008) and Korthagen et al. (2006) provide an analysis which argues that the learning experiences of trainee teachers are at their most meaningful and powerful when ‘embedded’ in the workplace. This allows opportunities to practise the learning experiences experienced outside the workplace in a real working situation as described by Fuller et al. (2005), in their study of workplaces in manufacturing industry and schools. This also echoes discussions of the expansive learning environment (Fuller and Unwin, 2003) and Work as Learning Framework (Felstead et al. 2011). Research from Boyd et al. (2011), Fuller et al. (2005), Harkin et al. (2008) and Noel (2006) characterises LLS teacher educators as ‘embedded’ in the workplace, or even multiple workplaces. This is because they often (though not in all cases) visit trainees regularly and work with them in their classrooms / teaching sites.