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Observing vocational practice: a critical investigation of the use and value of teaching observations in the training of vocational teachers

Lahiff, Ann Theresa (2014) Observing vocational practice: a critical investigation of the use and value of teaching observations in the training of vocational teachers. PhD thesis, UCL Institute of Education.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the use, value and practice of teaching observations conducted as part of vocational teachers’ in-service initial teacher training (ITT) in Further Education (FE) Colleges in England. The study is framed by a conceptual examination of the meanings of vocational, vocational learning and observation. This thesis emphasises the importance of understanding vocational learning as an embodied practice and as ‘learning as participation’ in the workplace and in work-related settings. It conceptualises vocational learning as part of the development of expertise along a horizontal axis, which encompasses social and cultural aspects from different disciplinary and/or vocational areas and not only cognitive dimensions. The thesis presents a conceptualisation of the observation of teaching as a contexualised and developmental process. Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) is used to both frame the research methodology and subsequent analysis. A case study approach addresses the research questions through the observation of ‘observations’ and interviews with vocational teachers, teacher educators, and vocational mentors. Two distinct activity systems are subsequently defined by their respective yet interacting objects of activity. These are identified as the development of ‘pedagogic expertise’ and the development of ‘pedagogic expertise for vocational practice’. The thesis confirms the value of ITT teaching observations to vocational teachers’ development. It concludes with some implications for practice and contributes to our understanding of vocational teachers’ learning and development.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Controlled Keywords: Vocational education, vocational teachers, teaching observations
Subjects: Departments > Lifelong and Comparative Education
Depositing User: Mr Julian Zerfahs
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2015 10:33
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2015 15:14
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