Derby's Lifelong Learning Solution To Wolf Report

24 May 2011

Continuing Professional Development in the Lifelong Learning Sector'

The book that could help empower teachers.

Academic experts in lifelong learning at the University of Derby could hold the key to helping the education sector achieve some of the aspirations identified in the recent Wolf Report.

Professor Alison Wolf of King's College, London, was commissioned by the Government to carry out an independent review of vocational education and her findings were revealed in March. One recommendation was enabling FE lecturers and professionals to teach in schools - ensuring young people are being taught by those best suited.

A team of academic staff, based in the School of Education and Social Science at the University of Derby, have built a national reputation for their expertise in supporting lifelong learning for teachers which could help meet this need.

Led by Peter Scales, the academic team have recently had their new book: 'Continuing Professional Development in the Lifelong Learning Sector' published by the Open University Press.

Peter, a Senior Teaching Fellow at the University, taught in a variety of FE college settings in his career and now teaches on the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education for lecturing staff.

He has co-authored the book with colleagues Jo Pickering, Subject Head of Postgraduate Studies in Education and Social Science; Lynn Senior, Subject Head for Social Studies, Kath Headley, Patsy Garner and Helen Boulton, who all have experience of working in the FE sector. Lynn Senior has also written another book published by Pearson Education which is relevant to the lifelong learning agenda called: The Essential Guide to Teaching 14-19 Diplomas (Pearson Education).

The new book by Peter Scales and colleagues, provides teachers with practical support and guidance alongside development activities and promotes the value of continuing professional development.

The authors say that they want to remove the notion that CPD is viewed as an annual 'sheep dip' where ideas and activities are thrust on staff which might not be of relevance to them or their area of expertise.

Instead, they argue, teachers are best placed to identify and arrange their own relevant CPD training and this can be used to empower them and ensure they continue to provide the most stimulating and engaging lectures and classes to capture the imagination of learners.

Topics included in the book include understanding the term 'professionalism in the lifelong learning sector', subject specific CPD where teachers bring their own expertise to the classroom, teaching as a researcher and the reflective practitioner.

In her national report, Alison Wolf was asked to identify ways to see how vocational education could help 14 to 19 year olds make successful progression into jobs, training and higher education more effective than it currently is - especially in the current challenging economic climate.

Derby's authors feel that their new book can help empower teachers to develop captivating CPD plans which help enhance educational standards in the classroom - as well as outlining the value of FE teachers in schools.

Case Study:

Derby graduate Heather Sims, 25, is making huge strides in her new career path in teaching thanks to the lifelong learning qualification she studied at Derby.

Heather studied a Media Studies degree at Derby in 2009 and gained a variety of work experience involving web design, TV production, music production and primary education while also working at Saint Benedict Catholic School and Performing Arts College as an unqualified teacher.

She then returned to Derby and studied for the Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning (PTLLS) qualification and has now become a Media Studies teacher at the college, and is in the final stages of completing the Graduate Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (GDTLLS).

She said: "I wanted to gain some form of professional teaching status that would allow me to be recognised by the education industry but not limited by the subject specialisms. The combination of this professional experience allowed me to gain a diverse skillset that meant a variety of job opportunities were available to me, including the chance to continue in a teaching role."

She says the course has enriched her teaching approaches to help students to gain the maximum they can from lessons, and she has developed the confidence to introduce new methods to her students with success.

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