• Alternative provision as an educational option: understanding the experiences of excluded young people

      Malcolm, Andrew David (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2015-07)
      Alternative provision schooling is an important and on‐going part of our education system. Annually around 45,000 pupils are educated in alternative provision schools and despite the existence in general of an underpinning rationale of inclusion this number does not seem to be diminishing. In fact, when New Labour focussed on and were successful in getting the number of pupils excluded from schooling down, over the same time period the number of pupils based in pupil referral units (PRUs are considered a type of alternative provision) increased significantly. Given the intransigent nature of the problem of mainstream schooling being unable to cater for all pupils there is a need to think deeply about and theorise effectively the field of alternative provision schooling. In addition to the perennial nature of the problem, the characteristics of pupils, the experiences they are more likely to have had, and the destinations and the outcomes they are more likely than the average young person to experience there is a moral imperative to develop positive and effective practice in this field. This thesis set out to explore two questions. These were the nature of alternative provision, and the effect of this kind of schooling on the young people who attend. Methods used included a survey of providers, qualitative interviews with a sub sample of this group, in‐depth life history interviews with 18 young adults and further qualitative interviews with key professionals. In doing this an articulation of mainstream and alternative provision schooling as distinct fields (using Bourdieu’s field theory) has been developed. This analysis underpins a model of the types of experience of pupils who end up marginalised and excluded from mainstream schooling and of likely trajectories of success for each of these pupil experience types. The dominant habitus in mainstream schooling necessitates that pupils internalise insignificance and inferiority in the pupil teacher relationship. In alternative provision the dominant habitus is a relationally mediated equality which influences pupils in a number of ways connected to the experiences which have led to their exclusion from mainstream schooling.
    • Exploring pedagogic shift in a virtual international school

      Jones, Sarah-Louise (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2015-05)
      In a shrinking more connected world, web based communication technologies play an increasingly important role in educating younger generations. However, the process of change that teachers must go through to accommodate the appropriate use of web based communication technologies for teaching and learning is a complex process, which can be viewed from multiple perspectives. Specifically, this study explores pedagogic shift in the context of a virtual international school spanning five different countries within the European Union. It adopts an interpretive paradigm of research to explore perceptions of teachers in the virtual international school over the course of four years from 2009-2013. Using a constructivist grounded theory approach, a variety of data collection techniques were employed over the course of three different cycles of research. Each cycle built on the previous cycle through an in depth analysis of the data, which enabled the emergence of a model for pedagogic shift. Findings from this research point to the importance of understanding change as a learning journey, which necessarily takes time and is influenced by a variety of factors in which effective leadership plays a central role. Additionally, the research shows how through processes such as understanding each others’ different perspectives and the way technologies are harnessed, change is facilitated and a sense of community is built, all play an important role in enabling pedagogic shift to take place. From these findings a thematic model emerged, which was explored in depth and further refined during the research. The study concludes with recommendations for further research into pedagogic shift, particularly in relation to the dispersed multi-level model of leadership, the evolution of virtual international schools, the changing nature of teacher-student relationships, and the influence of external drivers in models of pedagogic shift.
    • Fragile learning

      Mathew, David (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2016)
      A critical exploration of seven peer-reviewed published papers supports the author’s contention that learning in Higher Education is a fragile system of conscious and unconscious transactions that serve to weaken a process that is already precarious. Over the course of this essay and the accompanying papers, the submission is that learning is brittle, and easily broken. The Fragile Learner is described as someone close to conceding defeat to circumstances that threaten his education. The Fragile Learner might be a student of a Higher Education Institution, but also might be an appointed educator. Alongside notions of barriers to learning, this submission explores identities and tensions. Although some of the ideas that make up my picture of Fragile Learning have been researched by other contributors (notably Meyer and Land; Britzman), my own contribution sees the complexities through various psychoanalytic lenses. Fundamentally, it is the addition of psychoanalysis that makes Fragile Learning original. It is argued that anxiety is an important part of adult learning. Fragile Learners might experience anxieties that are internal and complex but which appear to be attacks from other people. Alternatively, Fragile Learning might be a consequence of learners having suffered illness or indisposition. It is important that something can be blamed. The themes of fragility and anxiety – not to mention the difficulties that arise from distance learning – are present throughout.
    • The knowledge base for physical education teacher education (PETE): a comparative study of university programmes in England and Korea

      Lee, Chang-Hyun (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013)
      This study compares and explains the knowledge base (Kirk et al, 1997; Shulman, 1987) for teaching physical education in Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) programmes in England and Korea from the 1960s to the present. In the USA (Siedentop, 1989), the UK (Kirk, 1992) and Australia (Macdonald et al, 1999), the erosion of time spent on content knowledge (CK) for sports and other physical activities has been noted as a matter of concern. The academicisation of the physical activity field and the marginalisation of PETE within it are major factors in the shift in the knowledge base. Data was presented from a comparative study of four PETE programme in two countries in respect of social constructionism (Berger and Luckmann, 1966). The historical resources such as timetables, curricula and official documents were analysed using documentary methods and grounded theory. Grounded theory was also used to analyse interviews with previous and present teacher educators, student teachers, and teachers who graduated from each university. I found that for universities in both countries, first, the hours of theoretical content knowledge (TCK) and practical content knowledge (PRACK) in PETE had been reduced over time. Time for units of physical activity had decreased significantly. Second, student teachers learnt physical activity to introductory levels only, and the spiral system for the physical activity curriculum, where students ideally move from introductory to advanced levels of knowledge, did not work well. In terms of differences between the countries, first, in England there were many sessions where PRACK was interrelated with pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and knowledge of learners and their characteristics (KLC). However, this was less common in Korea. In particular, interrelationships between PRACK and PCK and KLC were very weak because the Korean system is based on the study of kinesiology. Second, many students and teachers in England requested sessions to assist them to teach at GCSE and A Level. In Korea, in contrast, the need for PCK and KLC was identified. I conclude by confirming that CK forms only a small proportion of the knowledge base for teaching physical education confirming that there is a gap between the knowledge base in PETE and the knowledge requirements for teaching physical education in schools. I suggest developing special units in the PETE course based on models of learning, teaching and philosophy and being suitable for inclusion in the academic and scholarly culture of the university.
    • A pedagogically-informed model of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) for Mauritian higher education

      Ramkissoon, Sharvaani Devi (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-10)
      The purpose of this research was to determine how MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) can be introduced and implemented in Higher Education institutions in Mauritius. The study explored the perspectives of students, teachers and educational leaders using an exploratory case study approach, and involved the implementation of short MOOC-based courses in three areas of higher education in Mauritius. While much of the existing literature on MOOCs has used quantitative data to explore patterns of enrolment and retention, this study explicitly focused on student experience, and used Garrison, Anderson and Archer’s (2000) Community of Inquiry (COI) model to explore patterns of ‘presence’ and pedagogical preferences and needs of learners. In order to explore how these preferences, together with other contextual factors might affect the adoption of MOOCs in Mauritius, Venkatesh and Davis’s (2000) Technology Acceptance Model2 (TAM2) was used. The COI and TAM2 models were used both as analytical frameworks, but also to develop a new composite model that also can function as a boundary object (Bowker and Star, 1999; Fox, 2011) enabling different stakeholders to understand each other’s needs and expectations and communicate better with each other. For Mauritian learners, teaching presence in online environments is of critical importance: this is reflected in different scenarios of MOOC implementation identified, and in a proposed staged model for MOOC adoption across the HE sector in Mauritius. This involves further pilots and preliminary research (stage 1), integration of MOOCs into practice (stage 2), customisation and development of MOOCs (stage 3) and a MOOC for Mauritius (stage 4), with each stage informing the implementation of subsequent stages as part of a broad action research framework. The original contributions made by the research to the knowledge base of its possible audiences include: providing models of practice for teachers and educational leaders; informing the educational leaders and policy makers about how MOOCs can be successfully implemented in Mauritius; providing detailed case studies on MOOCs to the academic audience interested in MOOCs specifically; and proposing a new composite, pedagogically-informed, technology acceptance model to those academics who are interested in online pedagogy and technology acceptance. The results of this PhD research can also inform the introduction and effective implementation of MOOCs in other less-economically developed countries.
    • Practitioners’ constructions of love in the context of Early Childhood Education and Care: a narrative inquiry

      Cousins, Sarah Bernadette (University of SheffieldUniversity of Sheffield, 2015-04)
      This thesis examines practitioners’ constructions of love in the context of their work in Early Childhood Education and Care. Such constructions are of interest since, although the topic is little talked about in professional contexts, and is infrequently included in policies or training programmes, past and present educational thinkers have emphasised the importance of love in education. The thesis aims to contribute to understanding about how early years practitioners construct their work in ECEC. Previous research in this area is explored; it is argued that such research has not focused on practitioners’ perspectives on loving children, and has focused instead on such topics as the importance of attachments, issues associated with emotional labour, the notion of ethic of care, the complexity of work with young children, and parental perspectives on the topic of love. The review of the literature showed that not only is the word love rarely used in current research about early years, there is also an absence of the word in policy documents and professional standards. A broadly social constructionist perspective has been adopted, emphasising that people draw on their social and cultural resources to construct what they say. The thesis resists positivism, and draws on pragmatism as a philosophical perspective and postmodernism as a critical stance. Constructions on the topic of love in ECEC were investigated through individual, unstructured interviews with five practitioners in senior positions in five contrasting early years settings in London. The participants talked about love with very little prompting. Analysis of the data showed that they constructed love as important for child development, expressed through touch, and as natural. They talked about love in the sense of loving to be with the children, involving them as full human beings, and as different in familial and non-familial contexts. The participants said their training did not prepare them for love. They also said very little about policy. The thesis argues that further research on the topic should be carried out and disseminated more widely in order to facilitate a better understanding about the importance of love in ECEC settings.
    • Pre-service teachers’ social media usage to support professional development: a communities of practice analysis

      Shea, James (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2016-09)
      The current study was based in one higher education institution and examined pre-service teachers’ use of social media to support their own professional development whilst on school placement, through a community of practice lens. The trainees were registered on a one year secondary course designed to lead to a Post Graduate Certificate in Education with 60 credits at Masters Level combined with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) for England and Wales during which the researcher repeatedly interviewed a focus group sample from each subject cohort and analysed transcripts of these interviews through the lens of Wenger’s (1998) concept of a community of practice. The research took place in a national context of review and reform of teacher education in England. Some trainees, for example those studying at the higher education establishment at question, might experience considerable challenge in the school placement. Authentic self-reflection requires a safe place in which pre-service teachers can openly articulate with others what they might see as their own failures as well as successes in the classroom in order to develop a greater sense of self-efficacy and new ideas about teaching. In some instances, such as in the area of behaviour management, the national focus on maintaining good order means that it may become even more challenging and ultimately riskier to share the experience of failure because acknowledgement of this risks the possibility of failing to achieve the requisite standard for qualified teacher status. Besides, to gain qualified teacher status a trainee must attain the Teachers’ Standards (DfE, 2013) which include a requirement that a professional teacher upholds the ethos of the school to which the trainee might not be sympathetic. Findings from this research cannot be generalised. However, in this small-scale study it was found that pre-service teachers used private social media to support each other on the course in a number of ways: to establish a group that might be viewed as a community of practice and then, as part of the core enterprise of becoming a qualified teacher, to offer or to receive shared practice or support from another pre-service teacher in the role of more knowledgeable other and to broker new ideas about teaching to each other and to schools themselves from the other communities to which they belonged. Those who networked socially as part of the community of practice were more organised around deadlines. They also more likely to manage risky and stressful situations collaboratively and present an enhanced image of “…a body of common knowledge, practices and approaches” (Wenger, McDermott and Snyder, 2007, pp. 4-5) during their school placement which was unavailable to the trainee who did not participate within the online community. The scope for openly sharing practice and the development of learning communities among pre-service teachers is potentially restricted by the current national and local context of teacher education. However, one conclusion from this study might be that social media can potentially enable pre-service teachers to communicate privately in important ways that support their professional development whilst undertaking their training.
    • The social construction of physical education and school sport: transmission, transformation and realization

      Ives, Helen Maria (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2014-04)
      The development of physical education and school sport (PESS), a once ‘marginalised’ subject within the school curriculum, over the period 2003-2010 has often been referred to as the ‘quiet revolution’. An increased political interest in PESS and the idea that sport could be used to address wider social issues resulted in two major strategies, Physical Education, School Sport and Club Links (PESSCL 2003-2008) and Physical Education and Sport Strategy for Young People (PESSYP 2008-2013) and £2.4billion of funding. Drawing on Bernstein’s concept of the pedagogical device, this thesis seeks to understand how these two strategies were transmitted, transformed and realized in the secondary field and examines the extent to which they impacted on the pedagogic practice of PESS. This research study, conducted from within a School Sport Partnership, draws on a range of ethnographic methods including in-depth interviews with Partnership Development Managers, School Sport Coordinators, Primary Link Teachers and physical education teachers across a sub-regional area of London. This data was supplemented with extensive field diaries, partnership documentation and emails. Analysis of the data was conducted using grounded theory in NVivo9. The research findings are presented in three data chapters. The first examines the positioning of the PDM in the space at the interface between the recontextualising and secondary fields. The second results chapter investigates the realization of the PESS strategies and specifically examines the process of transmission and transformation of discourse as it passes through the complex infrastructure of School Sport Partnerships. The final data chapter discusses the impact of the PESS strategies on the pedagogic practices of teachers, and focuses extensively on the target driven culture which dominated practice within the secondary field. The lack of impact on pedagogic practice, particularly within secondary physical education, emerges as a key issue. The dominance of policy targets as the core evaluative rules of the PESS strategies emerged as a limiting factor in the realization of change. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the key findings and the implications for agents and/or agencies tasked with implementing and enacting change in the school setting. In applying the pedagogic device, we are able to analyse the role that the evaluative rules have in prioritising aspects of policy implementation and investigate the challenge of innovation and change. However I argue that Bernstein’s theory is not sufficiently sensitive to a number of the complexities of the contemporary educational landscape and needs further development and adaptation if we are to continue to use the pedagogic device to examine the process of recontextualisation and realization of policy in PESS.
    • Teaching as an evidence informed profession: knowledge mobilisation with a focus on digital technology

      Procter, Richard (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2014-01)
      The use of research evidence to improve the practices of teachers is considered one of the ways of improving the educational outcomes for children. This study was focussed on determining how an online approach could be used to increase knowledge mobilisation in education, by giving teachers better access to research knowledge that they could use to support and develop their practices. This study had two aims. The first aim was to investigate what research knowledge and research practices teachers were using and what value they ascribed to those practices; the second was to explore teachers' views and opinions of a new online approach to the presentation of research knowledge. This was a mixed method study using questionnaires, interviews and focus groups to gather a range of both qualitative and quantitative data. The findings of this study show that practitioners value research practices more than they are able to participate in them, and that there is a consistent valuepractice gap across the range of research practices. Exploratory factor analysis revealed five underlying factors; engagement with research, engagement with the research community, promotes professional discussion of research, promotes teacher knowledge generation, and promotes wider engagement of the school with research and the research community. These factors showed that teachers and their schools want to engage both with research knowledge and with the wider research community so that the use of research knowledge can be enhanced in education. The findings also show that practitioners were receptive to the use of an online approach to the delivery of research knowledge and the piloted approach was accessible and intuitive. Practitioners exhibited interest in using the approach in a range of collaborative interactions with colleagues. Overall this study revealed that online approaches to knowledge mobilisation have potential but that teachers need to be supported in their engagement with research and the wider research community. This thesis is a contribution to the knowledge of how online approaches can be developed and deployed to enhance knowledge mobilisation towards teaching being an evidence informed profession. Equally school leaders and policy-makers need to create environments that are supportive of teachers' use of research, if they want teachers to use research knowledge to inform their practices.
    • Transforming self as reflective teacher: journey of being and becoming a teacher and teacher educator

      Akinbode, Adenike (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2014)
      The nature of reflective practice in teaching and its development is the focus of this research. The research approach is reflexive narrative through systematic self-inquiry using Johns (2010) six dialogical movements. This methodology is new to researching the practice of teaching. The research process involved constructing stories of practice experiences, culminating in the construction of the reflexive narrative charting the entire journey over three years and four months. Creating the stories involved in-depth reflection using the disciplined practice of journaling. Reflection was deepened using reflective models, and dialogue with a range of literature sources also supported the creation of the stories. Central to the study was guided reflection through regular engagement with an established inquiry group, which provided a high level of challenge and support for the research. The reflexive narrative was constructed from 25 stories of practice experience, which represents the journey of being and becoming a reflective teacher and teacher educator. The research presents aspects of the lived experience of teaching which includes foregrounding some of the complexity of classroom practice. The research demonstrates how engaging in in-depth reflective process can transform moment to moment practice within the fast-paced crowded classroom experience. This is achieved through gaining an in-depth understanding of self as a teacher, and of the education system and its policies and practices. As a result of in-depth reflection on practice, aspects of teaching which usually remain hidden are exposed. The research identifies how emotion impacts on teaching in some depth. An understanding of one’s emotional self in practice, and one’s personality preferences are essential in developing desirable practice. The research makes a contribution to knowledge about narrative research in educational practices. The methodology demonstrates a valuable approach to developing teaching practice, and enabling a teacher to identify issues which impact on practice but which have been hidden. Teachers also gain an understanding of the fear and constraints which limit desirable practice and enable one to find ways to work that are liberating rather than limiting.
    • Understanding the educational world of the child: exploring the ways in which parents' and teachers' representations mediate the child's mathematical leaming in multicultural contexts

      O'Toole, Sarah (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2004)
      This study investigates the ways in which parents' and teachers' experiences and representations mediate their child's mathematics learning as they make the transition between home and school to either a multiethnic or mainly white school. In particular, it examines if the forms of mediation they adopt can shed light on the academic success of the child in school mathematics. The focus on mathematics learning has been chosen for the study because of its relative neglect, until recent times, to be seen as a subject influenced by cultural representations. Furthermore, there are significant implications in the relative neglect of understanding the achievement of ethnic minority pupils in mathematics. The research was framed by Vygotskian sociocultural theory and Wenger's (1998) communities of practice to explore the construction of meaning, identity and representations of practice. The amalgam of Wenger's communities of practice with sociocultural theory provided three key theoretical facets: (i) multiple levels of understanding in the form of meaning, practice and identity, (ii) the scope to explore the social and cultural worlds of the learner and (iii) understanding the ways that past experiences impact on current practice. Three different forms of qualitative data collection were used within the context of an ethnographic approach: (i) investigations in the form of classroom observations, (ii) in-depth semi-structured interviews and (iii) a child identity task. Twenty-two parents, eight teachers and fifty-eight children took part in the interviews, which form the main part ofthe data analysis. Out ofthese fifty-eight children, twenty-seven undertook the child identity task. The research took place in three schools with different ethnic make-up: a multicultural school, a mainly white school and a predominantly South Asian school. Two year groups were chosen, year 2 (ages 6/7 years) and year 6 (10/11 years), balancing high and low achievers. This study has provided data, which suggests that the way parents and teachers mediate the child's learning involves more than representations of mathematics. In making meaning of the mathematical, they draw on wider representations of the educational world, which include aspects like child development, notions of achievement, past experiences and the child's projected futures. This complex picture emerged from studying the highly interwoven aspects ofthe construction of meaning, identity and representations of practice. Representations of learning can be borrowed from both communities, providing the ethnic minority pupil with the potential to create hybrid representations of learning as they make the transition between home and school, which may be attributed a cultural status within the home. Each social actor has the potential to borrow from the home or school community to a greater or lesser degree. lfthe gap between the shared representations of the home and school are large, then this increases the likelihood of difficulties for the child in transition. However, the data suggests that even if the cultural representations of the home are very different from the school, the identification of high achievement and the engagement in mathematical activity at home can still provide success in learning. From the school community perspective, classrooms were represented by the teacher informants as 'cultureless' in both the multi ethnic and mainly white school. For example, in the multicultural school the teachers felt that there were so many ethnicities that differences were not visible. In the mainly white school, there were so few ethnic minority children that teachers also struggled to identify issues of culture. In the predominantly South Asian school, issues surrounding culture were brought to the forefront of the teacher discourse. However, in many ethnic minority homes, parents described how culture was influential in mediating representations ofleaming. This has implications in the educational arena with respect to the teachers' understanding of the transitional process that ethnic minority children undergo and the levels of visibility that culture and ethnicity is given in the school community.