Monday, 9 July 2012

Some theory anyone?

an article by Norman Crowther (national official for post-16 education at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, the education union) published online in fenews

Opening paragraph

I remember doing a research paper around 2000 for the LSDA and found it very difficult to find research on FE that was theoretical. Most was done by those working in the sector who were trying to find out what works (or what didn’t!) based purely on empirical findings, usually from LSC, and local generated data.

There seemed to be no conceptual grip on how the system worked, what happened in it and why, and, more to the point, how it could or should work.

I’m glad to say that since then bookshelves are now filling up with not only books on FE but also books that contain theory about FE or aspects of it. There are two current theoretical models which are remarkably well formed to suit exploration of the FE sector and what works.

The first is an ecological systems theory given by Professors Ann Hodgson and Ken Spours. The second is given by Lorna Unwin who offers the much referenced ‘expansive and restrictive apprenticeship model’. Others have given eminent descriptions but not theoretical models as clear and coherent as the ones I’d like to discuss.

I will discuss the ecological systems theory here.

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