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Professionalising the college workforce through mentoring and professional learning : a neglected perspective on enhancing quality

Cunningham, Bryan (2010) Professionalising the college workforce through mentoring and professional learning : a neglected perspective on enhancing quality. PhD thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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This submission contains an Integrative Statement of 23 000 words (including footnotes and references) and a total of six' published items. Together, these form the basis of my application for the award of the degree of PhD by publication. The Integrative Statement attempts to show the coherence of my published work and demonstrates my deep and synoptic'2 understanding of my chosen field. I argue that my work has made a significant contribution to a sector of education that has both been neglected and prone to serial and sometimes disarticulated reforms. I also contend that it is a sector that has generated a dominant discourse of quality improvement through strategies encompassing such elements as competition between institutions (ostensibly driving up standards), stronger regulation and control, and an overarching emphasis on the `auditable'. In such circumstances, there has been a notable neglect of any purposeful focus on the manner in which professionalism may be enhanced, to the benefit both of teachers and their learners. Such professionalism as may derive from collective ways of working and from an engagement with the notion of the 'learning professional' has largely been absent from the policy discourse, at both national and institutional levels. The potential of mentoring to play a central role in a professionalising strategy has been a particular concern for me. The specific and distinctive contribution I claim to have made is in the form of my examination of the ways in which mentoring as a supportive activity for teachers may not only significantly aid in professional formation and the improvement of teaching quality, but also thereby assist in the national policy goal of raising standards of learner achievement. The focus in much of my published work has been on mentors' individual motivation, attributes and skills, broadening out in one particular article to an analysis of institutional factors that appear to have a strong influence on the environment in which mentoring may take place. The content and focus of the items being submitted is thus essentially concerned with professional learning and development, in particular when supported by skilled mentoring within environments that are appropriately resourced and where their 'architecture' and ethos meshes productively with the nature of effective mentoring. Even more broadly, two published items being submitted explore aspects of professional learning. I use the medium of the Integrative Statement to draw out some explicit links between these and the professional challenges being faced by practitioners in the post-compulsory sector. I also in my statement relate important elements of my own writing to a range of relevant literature, demonstrating my engagement with and understanding of perspectives from this literature.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
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Depositing User: Batch Import
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2011 03:46
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2015 15:53
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