Attempts to professionalise the Further, Adult, Community Education and Skills (FACES) sector have too often adopted a deficit analysis, with an assumption that tutors are not professional, and with a lack of a fully participatory, democratic, ethos.


http://www.fenews.co.uk/featured-article/tutor-voices-in-fe

  

JoelPetrieAttempts to professionalise the Further, Adult, Community Education and Skills (FACES) sector have too often adopted a deficit analysis, with an assumption that tutors are not professional, and with a lack of a fully participatory, democratic, ethos.

In a forthcoming chapter to mark the centenary of Dewey’s Democracy and Education (1916), Frank Coffield argues that teacher professionalism has been undermined with the abolition of the General Teaching Council (GTC) and the collapse of the Institute for Learning (IfL):

“Right from the start the IfL failed to establish itself as an independent organisation, free from government influence. It could not even get its own name right. Its core function was to further the development of tutors in FE, so it should have been called the Institute for Tutors or Teaching. That said, it did much good work… It needs to be replaced, preferably by a body, established by FE tutors themselves, run on democratic lines and with the professional knowledge and expertise to stand up to both government and management. I offer as a working title: Tutors’ Voices…”

In his recent piece for FE News Frank further argues for the establishment of an independent, democratic association to promote Tutors’ Voices; a network that might become “a coalition of resistance to government bunglers and hectoring inspectors.”
We have taken up Frank’s challenge, and are seeking the views of FE colleagues about a new democratic professional association. The association is categorically not intended to replace any former FE professional bodies, or to encroach on the vital work around pay and conditions of sector trade unions, or to replicate the service functions of government funded sector bodies. Neither do we have any appetite for a role around issues such as professional regulation. It is intended that the association should become, in time, the collective voice of powerful, democratic professionalism for the FACES sector. Should there be any attempt in the future to compel lecturers into a fee-paying, mandatory professional body, we should be better placed to resist such a move.

Why is a professional association important?

  • Voice of democratic professionalism: To enable FACES practitioners to have a strong, democratic, collective and autonomous professional voice on issues of practice and policy.

  • Research and pedagogy: To encourage a network of practitioners and researchers committed to a culture of discussion, sharing, reflective inquiry and joint practice development informed by research and linked to policy.

  • Influence policy: To defend and promote well-resourced vocational, academic and community-based education and comprehensive lifelong learning and education for democratic citizenship. To champion different types of knowledge (propositional, procedural, craft knowledge) and the three dimensions of professionalism (knowledge of subject; knowing how to teach it well and how students learn it; and involvement in local and national politics as they affect education as a whole).


Our proposed founding principles


1. Democratic (both as its fundamental operating ethos, and as an ethic of professional service to students: our professionalism should both promote expertise in teaching, learning and assessment and foster independent, critical thinkers who are also active citizens in our democracy)

2. Inclusive (open to all sector practitioners, and interested HE researchers, and HE FE teacher trainers)

3. Representative (decision making / elected posts in due course solely open to chalk face FE teachers)

4. Participatory (encourage engaged associates, and principally organised by lay activists)

5. Egalitarian (actively promote equality, and with no grades of membership, or “patrons”)

6. Transparent (establish electronic archives of all key association documents)

7. Independent (no government funding, and no formal links with any sector body, trade union etc.)

8. Collaborative (committed to a culture of discussion, sharing, reflective inquiry and development informed by research and linked to policy)

9. Campaigning (with the professional knowledge and expertise to challenge college managements, sector bodies, and government)

10. Non-mandatory (no cost to join, but in the long run the association may need to have a subscription basis to be sustainable)


Projected opening campaigns 

There are two obvious initial campaigns we intend to pursue:

1. The powerful professional bodies in law and medicine have control over standards and practice. We need to assert our right to control teaching and learning, by demanding full statutory representation on all proposed sector educational reforms. This should be pressed after the forthcoming General Election.

2. The association should mobilise and lead the call for an end to all grading of teaching observations, instead promoting participatory and empowering forms of teacher development. 
Research in the sector suggests that this is an urgent priority

If you are interested in engaging with us please email: 
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ” >TutorsVoices@mail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ” >

Joel Petrie teaches in the PCET sector in the NW and is the co-editor of Further Education and the Twelve Dancing Princesses, published last week by Trentham / IOE

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About Paul Champion

Some have called me a leader, and a entrepreneur, they say I have integrity, presence and skills to ensure continuous improvement and success in whatever challenges I face. They also tell me that I am positive, resilient and motivating. I say, I'm just a normaI guy from Gateshead in the North of England, who started as an apprentice engineer. I have been in the right place at the right time and in the wrong place at the wrong time! I have successfully initiated and led complex organizations and situations to completion and success, and I have been in some jobs where success seemed untouchable. Mainly though, I have tried to learn everyday, help people to progress and learn the skills they need to be successful. I have had the privilege of working with some great people locally across the UK and more recently internationally in Asia, Europe and now USA, where I am lucky enough to work for www.3aaa.co.uk where I am head of 3aaa USA. This website is just me having an outlet to talk about all those thoughts, ideas and things I learn that pass through my head every day when I face the challenge of doing business. I will also rant on about how great apprenticeships are, and how you can help change peoples lives through them. After all thats how I got to do the great things that I have done, and also I am still an apprentice everyday! All I ask is that if you find it interesting then leave a comment and share what you read. THANK YOU.

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