Policy and pedagogy in the further education sector
: an emerging professional identity

  • Carey Normand

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education


    This thesis is presented as a portfolio and represents the assemblage of artefacts produced by me for the degree: Doctor of Education. The portfolio is structured in three parts.

    The three parts of this thesis can look disparate and unconnected – separated as they are by time, purpose, intention, thinking and learning – but a common thread runs through my work and is my driving intuition. Essentially, I see five strands as dominant and influential in my work and these can be encapsulated as: my philosophical position and belief in democratic education; my theoretical educational perspective as a social constructivist, stressing the social and culture dimensions of learning; my pedagogical approach as a facilitator of adult learning coupled with my constant enquiry into the nature of learning and teaching, especially within the twenty- first century; my belief in the centrality of narratives - the stories told and the ways in which they are told – and how they are understood and given meaning at a cultural level; and the dynamic relationship between policy and practice.

    The work presented in this thesis builds on my earlier study and professional educational practice. I have lectured in further and higher education for over twenty years and my enquiry is generated by the immediate concerns I have within my own practice as an educator in higher education and post-16 ‘teacher’ education, as is evident in Part One of the thesis. It is also generated by the concerns and enquiry of other educators and theorists at a local and global level. The context and dominant subject of all three parts of this thesis are lecturers who work in the Further Education college sector, in Scotland. The college sector is relatively recent in the history of Scottish education but, and perhaps because of this, is the most dynamic and reflects the essence of Scottish democratic education. Most of the research on the Further Education sector, and those lecturers working within, has been undertaken outside of Scotland and refers to a different set of conditions from the Scottish context in relation to practices and policies.

    I was driven to research the history of Scottish education as I felt I needed to know ‘my’ history and to understand why I had particular views on education that were grounded in democratic principles. This awareness of my own, implicit, values became palpable when working with colleagues in the English further education (FE) sector and those working in English universities as teacher educators for FE. I was struck by the omnipresence of the policy context and how this negatively impacted upon them as practitioners, appearing to paralyse and dominate their thinking and practices. Their professional autonomy seemed compromised, even eradicated and they expressed strong feelings of hopelessness. I often found myself as the lone voice at the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers, Post-16 Committee advocating collective action from members to challenge the barrage of contemporary policy directives, perceived by them as detrimental to their students, the educational sector and their professional status. This seemed anathema to them yet logical to me and I recognised a fundamental difference between us in relation to my own feelings of agency and the belief in the individual potential to effect change and my awareness of a more subtle policy context in relation to FE in Scotland. This recognition made me aware that my cultural experiences as someone educated in Scotland and now as an educator in Scotland was critical. This led me to investigate the nature of Scottish education historically and contemporaneously, especially within the college sector. This work provides the literature review for the study and is found in Part Two of the thesis.

    Following from this literature review, my research for Part Three shifts from a purely theoretical basis to an empirical investigation into the ways in which lecturers are conceptualised as professionals, within the college sector in Scotland. My intuition was that there were stark differences between: lecturer experiences and practices; of conceptualisations of lecturer professionalism; and the relationship between policy and pedagogic practice, in the Scottish and English further education sectors. This perception was well founded and the investigation in Part Three identifies and analyses how and why these findings are significant for lecturers working in Further Education colleges in Scotland and beyond.
    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorYolande Muschamp (Supervisor) & Lorraine Anderson (Supervisor)


    • Education
    • Scotland
    • Scottish
    • Scottish Education
    • History
    • Policy and Practice
    • Educational Policy
    • Pedagogy
    • Policy
    • Graduate
    • Professionalism
    • Professional Identity
    • Identity
    • Democratic Intellectualism
    • Critical Discourse Analysis
    • Neo-Liberal Managerialism
    • Generalist Tradition
    • Further Education
    • Lecturer
    • Teacher status

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