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School of Education _ Professional Development by panniuniu


									Gender, Discourse and Power

Reflections on the post-compulsory
teacher educator workforce in England
Robin Simmons

University of Huddersfield
School of Education & Professional Development
          Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2007) Teacher
           educators in post-compulsory education: gender,
           discourse and power, Journal of Vocational
           Education and Training, Vol. 59, No. 4, pp. 517-533

School of Education & Professional Development
 Our starting point

             Noel, P. (2006) The secret life of teacher educators: becoming
              a teacher educator in the learning and skills sector, Journal of
              Vocational Education and Training, 58 (2),151-170.

             Among Penny‟s most significant findings were that teacher
              educators tend to:

        1) Come mainly from certain subject backgrounds (Business and
           Management; Social Sciences most commonly).

        2) Have varied career trajectories, teaching responsibilities and
           „routes into‟ teacher education – formal and informal.

        3) Be overwhelmingly white, female and middle aged – even more
           so than the PCET workforce in general.

School of Education & Professional Development
 Our position

          Developed a particular interest in Penny‟s findings
           about gender.

          Related to previous work done on the feminisation of
           FE management - see Deem et al (2000), Kerfoot et
           al (2000), Leathwood (2000), Priola (2004).

          An attempt to use both structuralist and post-
           structuralist perspectives to account for the
           increasing feminisation of the teacher educator

School of Education & Professional Development
 Gender in FE

          Currently, 63% FE teachers are women (LLUK,
           2005); 66% women teacher educators in the CPCET.

          This‟ represents a significant change from FE‟s
           traditional roots - male, craft / technical education
           (Ainley and Bailey, 1997; Reeves, 1995). A culture
           unhelpful to the entry or career progression of

School of Education & Professional Development

          In some ways this is unsurprising: recent areas of
           growth in FE are overwhelmingly „female‟: health and
           social care; childcare; visual and performing arts;
           business admin etc (Noel, 2006:154).

          Therefore, the FE changing nature of the FE
           workforce could be interpreted as „organic change‟
           related to the changing nature of the economy.

          However, feminisation can also be interpreted as part
           of a set of far-reaching changes that FE has
           undergone in its organisation, funding and
           management over the past two decades.

School of Education & Professional Development
 Structural perspectives: A new order?

          Feminisation often takes place under conditions of
           „turbulence‟ associated with economic and political

          Incorporation ended the „old order‟ - and opened
           opportunities for women? Forced expansion meant
           growth in „female‟ curriculum areas to compensate for
           (male) areas of decline.

          Women‟s previous „outsider position‟ may also have
           brought a willingness to challenge the old order
           (Prichard and Deem, 1999).

          Diminished circumstances may also mean men
           actively reject FE as a career choice. Male flight?

School of Education & Professional Development
 Structural perspectives: a new, new order?

          New Labour inherited a sector in crisis:
           redundancies, industrial action, low morale,
           corruption, poor standards of teaching and learning
           (Kennedy, 1997; Robson, 1998).

          However, rather than resolving deep-seated
           problems, imposed a regime of increased
           surveillance and accountability on top of a
           commercial quasi-market system (Williams, 2003).

          Unprecedented intervention and central control – e.g.
           FENTO; LLUK; SVUK etc. Increasing direction,
           control and codification of PCET teacher education.

School of Education & Professional Development
 Structural perspectives: a summary

          Feminisation does not necessarily mean equality has
           been achieved or that women have successfully
           wrestled jobs from men (Deem et al 2000).

          Therefore, one interpretation of feminisation could be
           made through a neo-Marxist perspective (see
           Braverman, 1974): as a result of degradation, de-
           skilling, codification and reduced rewards.

          However, whilst structural explanations should not be
           abandoned it is important also to consider post-
           structuralist perspectives too: perhaps an explanation
           lies at the intersection of the two approaches.

School of Education & Professional Development
 Post-structural perspectives

          More subtle and nuanced. An emphasis on the
           subjective decisions made by women at the locus of
           personal, family and professional identities.

          Feminisation has coincided with a redefinition of the
           teacher educator‟s role – teacher educators
           increasingly concerned with delivery; curriculum
           design increasingly appropriated by awarding bodies,
           government agencies and HEIs.

School of Education & Professional Development
 Post-structural perspectives

          Priola (2004) identifies 4 major discourses of
           feminine identity. Arguably all fit with the new PCET
           teacher education regime.

             Multi-tasking
             People skills
             Team-working
             Care for staff.

School of Education & Professional Development
 Post-structural perspectives

          Previous „outsider‟ position makes women useful to
           management seeking to establish new practices (Prichard &
           Deem, 1999).

               Women prepared to engage in „even little and “dirty” tasks‟
               (Priola, 2004: 424): this is consonant with requirements of ITT.

          Workload, conditions and family commitments may reduce the
           will to contest a ready-made curriculum.

          FE teaching repositioned as „caring and nurturing‟ and teacher
           education as „mothering‟? Increased demands for social
           inclusion has led to a shift away from higher order subject-based
           teaching towards containment, care and welfare (Ecclestone,
           2003; 2005; Gleeson et al, 2005; Wahlberg and Gleeson, 2004).

School of Education & Professional Development
 Jobs for the girls?

          Many of the discriminatory practices of the „old FE‟
           may have been removed but …

          There is still a lack of transparency in the recruitment
           and selection of staff (Metcalf et al, 2005; Noel, 2006;
           Rothwell, 2002).

          Half of all teacher educators in CPCET appointed or
           deployed „informally‟ – the circumvention of formal
           procedures (Noel, 2006: 160-163).

          May help explain characteristics of CPCET teacher
           educators (Noel, 2006: 163) – a lack of diversity.

School of Education & Professional Development

          Despite the majority of CPCET teacher educators
           being women the majority are men at the University
           of Huddersfield.

          Furthermore, men are particularly concentrated at
           higher levels at the University: course leadership;
           Network leadership; Head of Dept.

School of Education & Professional Development
 The gendered division of labour

          Women left „carrying the burden‟ (Shain, 2000) either
           teaching in FE or mainly at lower levels in the
           University hierarchy.

          The marginalisation and exploitation of women
           teacher educators?

          Perhaps due to structural factors working at the
           University is attractive to men: pay, conditions,
           prestige etc.

          Formal recruitment is the norm but men are often at
           the sharp end of the recruitment process in the

School of Education & Professional Development
 A structural and gendered discourse?

          The state and HEIs adopting a masculinist role which
           tends to exploit women‟s labour within a familial

          Role of the FE teacher educator is arguably being
           increasingly re-codified in terms of care, duty and

          The FE teacher educator is highly likely to be female;
           part-time; have a large and varied teaching load; be
           implementing a curriculum over which she has little
           influence; and be grappling with limited resources.

School of Education & Professional Development
          Very little research exists on teacher educators in

          Almost nothing exists on PCET teacher educators.

          Penny Noel‟s (2006) article called for debate.
           Hopefully Gender, discourse and power contributed
           to this.

School of Education & Professional Development

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