Rushton, Ian (2014) Acting like teachers: re-thinking educational identities in the Lifelong Learning Sector. Doctoral thesis, Manchester Metropolitan University.

This thesis is a story and the research that underpins it is intended as a significant
contribution to an under-researched body of knowledge concerned with the pedagogical encounters of trainee teachers in the English Lifelong Learning Sector.
The research emerged from my interest in the values and individual dispositions that trainee mature teachers bring with them to the teaching role from myriad lived and vocational experiences, why those values are held and how they are embodied in pedagogical acts in the sector. Yet the particular nuances of the
sector, imbued as it is with governmentally and institutionally-inscribed politics, tensions and contestations axiomatic of the neo-liberal agenda that drives the sector, surface in trainees’ sites of practice and threaten to expunge their values from them. Therefore, as an Initial Teacher Educator in the sector, I have an
emancipatory interest in attempting to make sense of these sites of political struggle in order to better prepare future generations of teachers for the sector.
Data collection included questionnaire responses from 156 second year trainee teachers, 81 of whom were observed teaching and subsequently engaged in dialogue in order to examine what occurs in the transaction between dialogue and pedagogy in relation to their sites of teaching practice as a critically reflexive emancipatory endeavour. Here, the political and critical theoretical works of Jacques Rancière were central in attempting to interpret how trainees’ perceived
values and discourses sit alongside the realities and sites of pedagogical practice as concepts that can be worked with, rather than simply identified.
The findings of the research amount to a plethora of shifting individual identities, localised political acts and the emergence of new political subjectivities which sometimes work in powerful ways to both unsettle reified sectoral norms and
occasionally allow the voice of otherness to be heard. In doing so, the thesis builds on much of the available literature and research in the sector and offers teacher educators tangible ways in which they can engage and work with trainees’ potential for personal and pedagogic skill growth.

Ian Rushton -Thesis - post-viva version at 4-7-14.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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