• Transition, perspectives, and strategies: on the process of becoming a teacher in higher education

      Austin, Trevor William; Cardiff University (Cardiff UniversityUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2011)
      For those who teach in higher education and draw on vocational rather than academic backgrounds, the processes of socialisation are complex, extended and highly conditioned by their ‘past’ professions. These professions are seen to provide both ‘resources’ and ‘dissonances’ in the transitions that constitute their progress towards becoming a teacher. Whilst a great deal has been written of these processes in older universities with high concentrations of academic staff whose careers are largely confined to higher education itself, relatively little is known of parallel processes in newer institutions that are highly connected to specific kinds of workplace. This study addresses the way in which the current literature has under-represented the experiences and perspectives of ‘late entrants’ to teaching in higher education who come to work in a university from a profession that is ‘outside’ of higher education itself. The study uses a case study approach based on a series of semistructured interviews to reveal and analyse the processes of socialisation for ten participants undertaking a programme of teacher training (PGCAP). It describes a certain kind of ‘insider’ research where closeness and rapport exist alongside asymmetries of power and forms of ‘guilty knowledge’. Narrative methods are used to analyse and represent the data from differing perspectives to reveal a range of engagements, commitments and experience. These are seen to shape the socialisation process through key ‘turning points’ promoting movement towards a teacher identity. The study draws on theoretical perspectives based on the work of Bernstein (2000) and Bandura (1997) in order to analyse core processes both situationally and from an individual perspective. The research raises key questions about the learning environments created for participants on this teacher training course and the wider discourses that influence such provision. It also challenges a growing assumption that the attempts by the state to control and improve teaching in higher education are incorporated into individual teaching practice.