FETL Fellow 2018, Carol Thompson, interviewed by Peter Mayhew-Smith
An increase in the scrutiny of Teacher activity has been likened to a reduction in teacher agency and the development of a more deﬁned, less autonomous and potentially formulaic approach to teaching. In addition, the codification of ‘good’ teaching and learning embedded through teacher education, Professional Standards and bodies such as Ofsted has provided very distinct guidelines to direct teachers’ activities in the classroom. This aim of this research was to explore how leadership within Further Education impacts on teaching and learning, specifically on the autonomy Teachers have to construct their work in creative ways. The project investigated how professionals are constrained or empowered to develop methods which allow them to innovate rather than replicate in the classroom; ultimately creating an environment which inspires and challenges learners.
Semi-structured interviews with Teachers, Managers and Leaders were used to explore factors which both enabled and constrained innovation in the classroom. Findings outlined a range of similarities for all groups in relation to specific ‘enablers’ to creativity and some distinct differences in those factors considered to be constraints. One significant difference was the perceptions of Teacher agency which influenced attitudes to whether or not Teachers were willing to move away from more prescriptive approaches in order to explore alternative methods. A stark contrast was found between the views of Teachers and Leaders in relation to the constraints, or freedom to be found in the teaching role suggesting miscommunication or misconception by one or both parties.
This webinar explore the research and findings. http://fetl.org.uk/publications/finding-the-glass-slipper-the-impact-of-leadership-on-innovation-in-further-education