The Wider Social Context of Learning: Beyond the Classroom Door

By Martin Jephcote and Jane Salisbury.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper draws attention to the complexity of students’ lives, their interactions with teachers, pointing in turn, to the ways in which learning is ‘negotiated’. In comparison with British schools and universities, little is known about what goes on in colleges of further education (tertiary colleges). This study reported here followed the ‘journeys’ of 45 students and 27 teachers over a two year period in colleges in Wales. It recorded the various twists and turns of what went on day-to-day, as revealed from a range of data, some provided by the participants, others from first-hand observation. The purpose of doing this was to improve our understanding of learning processes in further education and to add to knowledge of the relationships between learners and teachers and to the sorts of learning outcomes this gave rise to. Taken together, the data provide detailed insights into students’ and teachers’ lives, illuminating aspects of their life histories and individual career and learning journeys.

Keywords: Learning Journeys, Learning Career, Learner Identities, Professional Identities, Learning Outcomes

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp.281-288. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 548.834KB).

Dr. Martin Jephcote

Senior Lecturer, Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK

Dr. Martin Jephcote’s work is informed by a social constructionist perspective which underpins his understanding of and research into the construction of knowledge, the processes of learning and education and training policies and practices. He is interested in the contested and evolutionary nature of the construction of pedagogic discourse and the ways in which policies are made and implemented. In this vein, he drew on and contributed to the area of school subject histories and was the first to make a substantial contribution in the field of school economics. In ‘Recontextualising Discourse: Exploring the Workings of the Meso-Level’ (2004), he pointed to the functions of the under-researched meso-level in mediating policy and, in ‘School Subjects, Subject Communities and Curriculum Change: the Social Construction of Economics in the School Curriculum’ (2007) further illustrated the interplay of power and control. He is currently principal applicant in an ESRC/TLRP research project called Learning and Working in Further Education in Wales. This research project has been following the real-time learning journeys of teachers and students both to provide a contemporary account of further education and to better understand the processes that give rise to learning outcomes of all kinds. He is also a co-researcher in the ESRC/TLRP Learning to Teach in Post-Devolution UK project. This comparative study focuses on the processes at work that, since devolution, are giving different shape to initial and early years teacher education across the UK in response to ‘local’ social, economic, cultural, and political circumstances.

Dr. Jane Salisbury

Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK

Dr. Salisbury interested in the occupational socialisation of teachers and is an expert in research methods, specialisng in educational ethnography.

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