You Can Go Your Own Way: Exploring the professional characteristics of modern day further education teachers

Marriott, Theresa Marie (2019) You Can Go Your Own Way: Exploring the professional characteristics of modern day further education teachers. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln.

You Can Go Your Own Way: Exploring the professional characteristics of modern day further education teachers
Marriott, Theresa - PhD Professional - Education.pdf - Whole Document

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Item Status:Live Archive


The central aim of this research was to determine if Further Education (FE) teaching could be classed as a profession and how this impacted on FE teachers’ professional identities. This research explored the concept of teacher professionalism and professional identities within the FE sector. It examined the relationship between normative accounts of professionalism and FE teachers’ professional identities, and investigated where FE teachers’ professional standing positioned itself within the education sector. Previous research indicated that accounts of FE teacher professionalism were tenuous, and not fully engaged with by the individuals at which they were aimed. Another contention was whether within the literature FE teaching could be considered a profession in its own right when compared to traditional indicators of a profession from prominent authors in the subject area. These ‘issues’ provided a tangible link to Foucault’s work on ‘problematisation’ which was utilised as a tool to facilitate strong discussion within the research.

The qualitative research approach, grounded in an interpretive paradigm, involved a single representational case study which was an FE provider situated in the north of England. Methods used to collect data were a pilot questionnaire, exploratory questionnaire, two focus groups, and unstructured interviews. Additionally, document analysis was undertaken on policy and regulations relating to teacher professionalism ranging from 1960 to 2014, alongside key literature on models of professionalism; this was to provide a through contextual background of the vast and successive changes within the sector which occurred over a relatively short time period. FE teachers’ personal narratives were thematically analysed and showed strong associations with issues on the distribution of power, and the complexities of professional identities within FE which were similarly reflected in the literature.

The findings suggested that FE teachers were unclear about their professional identities and were adopting a ‘pick and mix’ approach to their professionalism, utilising normative accounts of professionalism from other sectors and professions to support their ideas. FE teachers demonstrated that their professional identities are fragmented and complex which impacts on their acceptance and recognition as professionals in their own right. Furthermore, their work appeared to be more aligned with being recognised as an occupation, which tries to act professionally, rather than a profession in its own right.

Keywords:Further education teachers, Further education professionalism, Further education professional standards, Further education professional identity, Further education teacher professional behaviour
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:44795
Deposited On:05 May 2021 10:41

Repository Staff Only: item control page