Personal development planning in initial teacher training: a case study from post‐compulsory education

  • Published on
    22-Mar-2017

  • View
    213

  • Download
    0

Embed Size (px)

Transcript

  • This article was downloaded by: [York University Libraries]On: 17 November 2014, At: 16:39Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    Research in Post-Compulsory EducationPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rpce20

    Personal development planning ininitial teacher training: a case studyfrom postcompulsory educationRon Thompson a , Linda Hallwood b , Christine Clements b & HelenRivron ba School of Education and Professional Development , Universityof Huddersfield , Huddersfield, UKb HE Directorate, Teacher Education , Wakefield College,Wakefield, UKPublished online: 19 Aug 2009.

    To cite this article: Ron Thompson , Linda Hallwood , Christine Clements & Helen Rivron(2009) Personal development planning in initial teacher training: a case study frompostcompulsory education, Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 14:3, 269-285, DOI:10.1080/13596740903139339

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13596740903139339

    PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE

    Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoeveror howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to orarising out of the use of the Content.

    This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &

    http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rpce20http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/13596740903139339http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13596740903139339

  • Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Yor

    k U

    nive

    rsity

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 1

    6:39

    17

    Nov

    embe

    r 20

    14

    http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

  • Research in Post-Compulsory EducationVol. 14, No. 3, September 2009, 269285

    ISSN 1359-6748 print/ISSN 1747-5112 online 2009 Further Education Research AssociationDOI: 10.1080/13596740903139339http://www.informaworld.com

    Personal development planning in initial teacher training: a case study from post-compulsory education

    Ron Thompsona*, Linda Hallwoodb, Christine Clementsb and Helen Rivronb

    aSchool of Education and Professional Development, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK; bHE Directorate, Teacher Education, Wakefield College, Wakefield, UKTaylor and FrancisRPCE_A_414106.sgm(Received 21 May 2008; final version received 11 October 2008)10.1080/13596740903139339Research in Post-Compulsory Education1359-6748 (print)/1747-5112 (online)Original Article2009Further Education Research Association143000000September 2009RonThompsonr.thompson@hud.ac.uk

    This paper provides a case study of personal development planning (PDP) withinan initial teacher training course for the post-compulsory sector, delivered througha large consortium in the north of England. The paper reviews conceptual andempirical studies of PDP in higher education and reports on the practice andperceptions of students and tutors in the light of these studies. The paper finds thatPDP is often a negative experience and that difficulty and frustration areassociated with the requirement to re-contextualise, for the purposes of externalaudit, practices occurring organically but less visibly elsewhere in the course. Theimportance of issues relating to resources, assessment and ownership of PDPprocesses is highlighted, but the paper concludes that conceptual and ideologicaldifficulties imply that requirements for individual learning plans and personaldevelopment records for trainee teachers may be inescapably problematic.

    Keywords: personal development planning; initial teacher training

    Introduction

    Initial teacher training (ITT) for the post-compulsory sector in England is currentlyundergoing significant change, initiated by the governments reform agenda for learn-ing and skills (Lucas 2007; Nasta 2007; Thompson and Robinson 2008) an agendasuccinctly expressed by its stated intention to put teaching and learning at the heartof what we do (DfES 2002, 15). This process of change aims at theprofessionalisation of the teaching workforce, an aim which, in practice, has beenassociated with a steady increase in central control of a hitherto neglected area ofteacher education (Lucas 2004; Simmons and Thompson 2007). The evolution of anational framework for the training of new and existing teachers in further educationand the wider learning and skills sector comprises a number of key elements. The mostimportant of these have been: national occupational standards (the FENTO stan-dards) for teaching and supporting learning (FENTO 1999; LLUK 2007), againstwhich teaching qualifications were required to be endorsed; the introduction in 2001of a statutory requirement for teaching qualifications; the Ofsted survey inspection offurther education teacher training (Ofsted 2003); the reforms proposed in Equippingour teachers for the future (DfES 2004); and the Further Education White Paper of2006 (DfES 2006). As part of the new curriculum offer embedded in the reforms,

    *Corresponding author. Email: r.thompson@hud.ac.uk

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Yor

    k U

    nive

    rsity

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 1

    6:39

    17

    Nov

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • 270 R. Thompson et al.

    training providers are required to initiate a personal development process whichenables students to identify and address learning needs on entry, during training and by means of a new, mandatory requirement for continuing professional development(CPD) throughout a teachers career path. The various publications cited above useterms such as individual learning plan and professional development record torefer to the documentation associated with different stages of the development process(DfES 2004, 89). These plans and records are intended to take account of the greatdiversity in experience and academic attainment to be encountered in new entrants toteaching in the post-compulsory sector, so that prior learning can be recognised andfuture learning experiences shaped, helping new teachers to achieve their full poten-tial (Ofsted 2003, 4). A key part of the analysis of learning needs is the assessmentof a students attainment in literacy and numeracy, a consequence of the increasingattention being paid by the UK government to the role of these skills in post-16 teach-ing and learning, and specifically to the lack of a national entry requirement for ITTin the sector in relation to mathematics and English.

    At the same time, there has been a more general impetus towards personal devel-opment planning (PDP) in higher education (Clegg 2004; Clegg and Bradley 2006a,2006b). PDP is now a standard requirement in UK higher education, defined as:

    a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their ownlearning, performance and/or achievement and to plan for their personal, educational andcareer development. The primary objective is to improve the capacity of individualsto understand what and how they are learning, and to review, plan and take responsibilityfor their own learning (QAA et al. 2001, 2)

    This requirement for increased learner autonomy contains the usual tension betweeninstrumental and transformative views of higher education:

    A critical element of learner autonomy is the ability to reflect constructively on onesown experience of learning, to record the results of that reflection, to use these both toplan ones own future actions and to present oneself to others (including potentialemployers, tutors and collaborators). (McNair 1997, 24; emphasis added)

    University sector providers of ITT for post-compulsory education are therefore facedwith a dual imperative for the introduction of personal development planning.However, this type of process is inherently problematic, partly because of conceptualweaknesses in the idea of reflection (Ecclestone 1996; Bleakley 1999; Tomlinson1999a, 1999b; Clegg 2004) but also because of a failure to recognise the diverseclass, gendered, racialized locations of reflective practitioners (Clegg 2004, 292).As Clegg (2004, 288) notes, what is striking from the literature is the difficultiesinvolved in the types of reflection PDP requires These difficulties are not merelymatters of pedagogical technique, but reflect the profoundly ideological nature of thetask itself. Often introduced as an add-on to an existing professional or academicprogramme, individual planning and recording processes can be perceived as imposedon learners and tutors, and as responding to external agendas rather than the needs ofthose required to use them. In Foucauldian terms, they may be seen as mechanisms ofdisciplinary power, serving to reproduce the status quo instead of their stated aims inthe opposite direction. It can therefore be anticipated that academics and studentswithin a university introducing or extending such a process will encounter difficultiesproduced by the conflicting pressures of individual need, resource availability and

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Yor

    k U

    nive

    rsity

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 1

    6:39

    17

    Nov

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • Research in Post-Compulsory Education 271

    external priorities. This paper, based on practitioner research into the perceptions ofstudents and tutors, discusses the implementation of PDP in one large provider of ITTfor the post-compulsory sector.

    Personal development planning in post-compulsory education

    There is a growing literature on PDP in higher education, including policy statementsand recommendations (for example, DfEE 1997; QAA et al. 2001; Brennan and Shah2003; HEA 2005); academic research (Bullock and Jamieson 1998; Clegg 2004;Jackson and Ward 2004; East 2005; Clegg and Bradley 2006a, 2006b; Quinton andSmallbone 2008); and a wider literature on reflective learning dating back many years.As noted by Clegg and Bradley (2006b), PDP is not a new idea; however, much of themore recent work locates the introduction of PDPs in higher education withindiscourses of employability, national economic competitiveness and the individuali-sation of social risk based on constructions of the lifelong learner. In England, thesediscourses are increasingly used by the Government to justify unprecedented levels ofcontrol and intervention in all areas of education. This means that the introductionof PDP in higher education is often highly problematic, and can lead to a perceptionof imposed change without additional resources. As East (2005, 166) reports staff atti-tudes invariably range from enthusiasm through ambivalence to outright hostility.Negative attitudes are likely to increase if staff involvement in this process is seen asimposing an additional burden. This may lead, he argues, to universities taking a lineof least resistance and instituting a system of PDP which is merely symbolic and doesnot play a significant role in student learning. However, where PDP initiatives coincidewith, and build on, teacher beliefs, constructive and meaningful change is more likely(Clegg and Bradley 2006a, 72).

    A more fundamental difficulty with PDPs is that they are difficult to conceptualisein a coherent way across higher education. Clegg (2004, 292) argues that PDP is achaotic concept involving different practices, contexts, types of students, culturalexperiences etc., while East (2005, 165) notes the lack of consensus as to which skillsare likely to improve the learning performance and employability of students.However, even if consensus could be achieved, identifying the practices engaged inby students which could potentially form part of PDP activity, and translating partic-ular instances of these practices into a students own portfolio unavoidably mustchange the character of such practices and the way in which they are perceived bystudents and tutors.

    The process whereby they are identified and described as separate practices changes theirdiscursive location even if the particular pedagogic activity remains located in the samemodule. To describe a process explicitly as PDP subtly changes its location frombeing an integral part of learning within the context of specific disciplinary ways ofknowing, to one in which meta-discourses of learning-to-learn or employability apply.(Clegg 2004, 290)

    The difficulty of conceptualising PDP arises in part from the wide variety of contextsencountered in higher education. Clegg and Bradley (2006a) analyse different catego-ries of PDP approach using a typology deriving from Bernsteins (2000) concepts ofintrojection, in which course models arise largely from internal disciplinary andacademic influences, and projection, where powerful external influences help toshape the curriculum. Of particular interest for this paper is the professional ideal

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Yor

    k U

    nive

    rsity

    Lib

    rari

    es]

    at 1

    6:39

    17

    Nov

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • 272 R. Thompson et al.

    type (Clegg and Bradley 2006a, 65), characterised by teacher training and healthcourses. Clearly, in the current political climate such types are projective, with oftenoverwhelmingly powerful outside forces driving change, but also singular, with rela-tively impermeable boundaries between professions and a strong sense of identitywithin each one. In such courses, where reflection is often strongly institutionalised,a reflective approach to learning may be expected to succeed. Clegg and Bradley(2006a, 67) suggest that:

    the strong, singular self-definitional boundary of PDP activities anchored firmly inprofessional identities, sustained in the external world, and anchored in a body of theo-retical literature on reflection means that this model is likely to be extremely robust.

    However, we argue in this paper that, in the case of ITT for the post-compulsorysector, external influences are now so strong that, rather than PDP activities beingsustained in the external world, they are in fact constrained and disrupted byconflicting imperatives from outside, undermining Clegg and Bradleys suggestion ofrobustness. In such circumstances, their observation that in some areas skills aredeeply embedded in core academic practices, and to tea...

Recommended

View more >