TELL Update March 2019

Twitter hashtag #TELLResearch general hashtag #FEResearch

Hi to all

This is a particularly packed update in terms of events, and shows the constantly improving level of networking and support events encouraging and showcasing research in the FE and Skills sector, which is very encouraging in what are generally hard times!
Please do let me know of events, research projects and publications you are or have been involved in, and I will add them to a future update.

TELL Network Meetings
Lincoln College TELL meeting 7th March 2019

Thanks to all involved for an excellent meeting at Lincoln College. To those (e.g. Ofsted) who suggest we don’t do research in FE, the meeting provided (as all of these meetings do) strong evidence to show how wrong they are.Edited agenda below, with material attached to this email update.


Professor Susan Wallace, Emeritus Professor, Nottingham Trent University, The keynote begins by posing two questions: 1) Why do we do research in FE? 2) What is its purpose? We then go on to look briefly at the specific challenges currently facing the FE/Skills sector, and how research might be used as a tool to measure their impact and find ways to address them. The second part of the keynote takes a ‘real life’ example of sector-specific research and looks at some of the practical, methodological and ethical questions which the researcher has to engage with. Questions from participants will be welcome throughout; and there will be time at the end for discussion.

Research showcase 

12.00 Colin Waugh – independent and editor of ‘Post 16 Educator’‘A case study of FE practitioners’ responses to curricular change’The Liberal and General Studies (L/GS) Project has so far conducted between 50 and 60 oral history-style interviews with people who taught this curricular element on vocational courses between 1960 and 1990. Between the mid-1970s and 1990 their work was first radically transformed and ultimately abolished by the introduction of formal assessment where none had existed before. This talk will set out briefly what former practitioners now see as the strengths of L/GS before these changes, describe the changes themselves and how teachers responded at the time, and then focus on what they have said about them more recently in response to the interview question ‘Why do you think L/GS ceased to exist?’ It will seek in the process to account for how key aspects of present-day FE curricula have developed. Copies of the two bulletins so far issued by the project will be available at the session.
There is a bonus added article by Jonathan Simmons to download below.

13.00 Dr Lynn Machin, Award Leader for PhD and PGCIE awards and Sandra Murray, Lecturer, PGCE/Cert Ed, PCET – both Staffordshire University

Occular-centrism in teacher video evaluation; 20-20 vision or simply short sighted?

The use of synchronous and asynchronous video for viewing and aiding reflection and evaluation of teaching practice is well-established nationally and internationally and has yielded positive results for improving teaching quality (Gaudin & Chalies; 2015; Davis et al., 2016).  Rather than a teacher relying on memory recall of a lesson, video provides evidence of the lesson narrative. However, consideration needs to be given to ways in which an ocular-centric lens influences the content of teachers’ evaluations and the extent to which the breadth of desired teacher characteristics is captured. Using Coe’s (2014) framework regarding what makes great teachers, data, relating to this, has been gathered from an FE college. Although yet to be analysed, an initial view of the findings, align,  as one would anticipate,  with the literature read yet also draw out some of the  limitations of this tool.Type of session:A mini session that introduces the research and the initial findings and provides an opportunity for group discussion, questions and sharing of ideas.

13.30  Elaine Battams – Advanced Learning Practitioner and Course Manager for Teacher Training. Barnfield CollegeThe impact of the Advanced Learning Practitioner’s role on underperforming staff in a general FE collegeThe aim of the research was to produce a report on the impact of the Advanced Learning Practitioner’s (ALP) role on underperforming staff in a general FE college.  In doing so, the following questions were addressed:

  • What are the college’s expectations on the ALP role?
  • What are staff expectations on the ALP role?
  • What support do the ALPs provide?
  • What is the impact of ALP support within the college?

Qualitative and quantitative methods were used to collect data from teaching staff in the form of an online questionnaire, using a mix of both open and closed questions.  An interview with the Vice Principal for Transforming Curriculum and Learning was carried out to produce further qualitative data for analysis. Initial findings indicate that the college’s expectations and those of staff match in respect that the overall expectation is that the ALPs are there to support and encourage teaching staff to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment across the college.  Support provided is wide-ranging and is tailored to meet the needs of the staff who are being supported, however there is still more that can be done in order to make sure support is effective and that teaching staff take more responsibility for their own development.

14.00  James Wadsworth, Head of Quality Improvement, Lincoln College Group, 

“It’s just a chair.” Stakeholder views of creativity as an employability skill. “It’s only a chair” – stakeholder views of learner creativity.

Creativity is a concept that has intrigued theoretical and applied researchers for over a century, particularly since the seminal work of JP Guilford in 1950. Whilst research is abundant, the array of associated variables and dimensions have yet to be aligned into a coherent, meaningful framework for which general agreement has been reached (An et al., 2016). The majority of authors (for example Wallis, 1926, Sternberg 2006, Andreasen, 2011) tend towards the virtuous nature of creativity as a human skill both for the individual and at a collective, societal level. As this virtuous skill has been explored and applied, its perceived value has been extended to variety of contexts, such as literature demonstrating the value of creativity in the employment (Bakhshi et al., 2015).Continued and seemingly increasing responsibility has been placed upon UK education by successive governments to develop learners with subject specific and generic skills (including creativity) to meet the needs of the, so called, 21st century knowledge economy. However, given the lack of accord surrounding an underpinning definition, it could be suggested that the development of creativity in learners about to enter into employment is being limited, as neither students, academics nor employers understand the concept fully or have an agreement upon its meaning.

This session intends to illustrate the methodology and methods of a PhD study which attempts to understand the student, academic and employer perceptions of creativity using, it is argued, techniques that are fitting to this emotive subject. Subsequently, the seminar will explore the early findings that are apparent from the data collection and describe how the study is moving towards the creation of recommendations for future practice in the education sector.

14.30 Jason Boucher, Lecturer, Lincoln College Group, 

“Andragogy: Is it the forgotten practice of the FE teacher / practitioner in a Lincolnshire FE Institution”

Andragogy, contentious, conceptual, even perceptual; has been endlessly examined to establish the verisimilitude of its epistemology over its 50-year history since being introduced into the educational practitioner’s vocabulary. Some of its problems lie within the nature of Andragogy itself in that thus far despite its 50-year existence a clear operational definition is yet to be arrived at. However, this provides unique opportunities for further examination, because there is yet to be an insightful investigation into the nature of Andragogy in practice. Within this paper a definition of Andragogy is offered through which an investigation into Andragogical method and understanding is launched within the teaching practices of FE teachers and practitioners at a Lincolnshire FE Institution.  It utilises the methodology of narrative inquiry, to understand the how, and why of its use, or not, within this practice. This narrative inquiry approach was through the use of a structured interview. Analysis of the quantitative data produced will involve an outline of the meaning of ‘praxis’ in this context, as it plays an important role in the ‘practical wisdom’ of the use of an andragogical approach to students. The reasons for its use or not will then be investigated through the Critical Lens of personal experience. This investigation will look specifically at two reasons for the use or not of Andragogical method, that of an ‘educational lens’ and that of a ‘social lens’. Participants were required to complete a short questionnaire about their individual preferences for Andragogical or Pedagogical approaches to learning. The results of this investigation, alongside the analysis of the participant’s approach to the use of an Andragogical method, using the quantitative results from the narrative inquiry and backed up by the qualitative results from the questionnaire, provide the data from which to draw conclusions and to identify future lines of research.

Jason Tsai – Lincoln College

Pilot cohort study: Students’ perception on peer teaching – late agenda addition so no abstract


Friday 24th May 2019 10.00 to 15.00 – Theme for the day “The teacher as researcher”

The TELL Conference is hosted by the University of Wolverhampton at its Walsall Campus.

It aims to promote research in and around Further Education with presentations from practitioners defining on their terms what the issues, questions and ecology of our sector is in the present time.Talks will be wide-ranging reflecting the sector’s various challenges and opportunities, including pedagogical transference from Higher Education to Further Education, transitional experiences of BTEC students, mentoring, widening participation and keynote speech from Sir Alan Tuckett.

Location details: University Of Wolverhampton, Walsall Campus, Gorway Road, WN205/206, Samuel Johnson Building, Walsall WS1 3BWalsall Campus is 5 minutes drive from the M6 Junction 9 and hosts ample free parking. Lunch will be provided
Register at:


Wednesday 26th June 2019 11am-4pm

Jo Fletcher-Saxton has come up with an innovative way of combining two networks into one day with two themes, and this will now be the meeting agenda for the 26th June.

You can book for the full day (11.00-4.00) or book a half day (11.00 to 1.00 or 2.00 to 4.00).


11am -1pm Teacher Educator focus

Dr Jim Crawley: Teacher Education Policy – Where are we now and where are we going?Followed by 2 other presenters from teacher education. Opportunity for discussion following each presentation.

Contributors welcome

1-2 Networking Lunch for those who are here for the full day
2pm – 4pm Practitioner Enquiry focus for Teachers and Lecturers

Dr Jim Crawley: Practitioner Enquiry, why do it? Researching from within.

Followed by a presentation from a practitioner about their practitioner enquiry this year.

3 min thesis type activity allowing everyone (who wishes) to each say something about their practitioner enquiry / research.Networking groups, supporting progress with practitioner enquiry.

CONTACT or @jfletchersaxon (Further details about presenters will be added as confirmed).

To register, visit:



Friday, 12 April 2019 10.00 – 15.00

Kedleston Road, Derby Campus, Kedleston Road, Derby DE22 1GB

The series of cuts to the public sector over the last decade has created a ‘more for less’ expectation in education. With this in mind, teachers are under increasing pressure to teach more, complete more administrative tasks and extend their roles beyond the classroom. Despite the diverse post-14 sector containing individuals with a wealth of knowledge, skills and experiences, not all practitioners in the sector have the time, space and opportunity to engage with research and wider evidence to develop their practice. This forum will provide delegates with just this, illuminating key themes related to research and evidence based practice, leaving them with the tools to help them be autonomous in their development.

Furthermore, trainees from the University of Derby Post-14 Education and Training Initial Teacher Education programmes will be sharing their own foray into evidence informed practice, as new practitioners, and look forward to receiving feedback from delegates to aid their progress.

For more information and to register, visit:–evidence-based-practice/

BEDFORD FEResearchmeet Wed 3rd July 2019

Registration is now open for Bedford FEResearchmeet 2019.  

Keynote to be confirmed

Researchmeets are days FOR FE lecturers BY FE lecturers

If you are interested in presenting, please contact Sam Jones (

This year’s event has two aims. Firstly, to share and encourage research within the sector. Therefore, all research presentations on the day, with the exception from the keynotes, will be from practitioners working in an FE or work based learning environment (WBE). When we say research, we are looking widely at everything from enquiry in your learning environment and action research through to post-graduate and doctoral research. The key is to reflect the breadth and thoughtfulness that exists in the sector. So everyone working in FE is welcome to run a workshop in our ‘research’ strand.

Our second aim is to support people along their research journey. This is new to the format this year. Here we are looking for those within the sector, or who have worked in the sector, to present on areas that can help others develop. So, we are looking for action researchers to explain their experiences to other and recent master’s students to share their experiences and encourage others. 

To register, visit:


Atkins, L. and Duckworth, V. (2019) Research Methods for Social Justice and Equity in Education. Bloomsbury.

Thompson, C. (2019) The MAGIC of MENTORING – developing yourself and others. Abingdon: Routledge

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