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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Improving Incentives to Learning in the Workplace

Grant reference: L139251005

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Conference paper/presentation details

TLRP: Cultures, communities and biographies: relations between workplace learning and managerialism for schoolteachers
Within adult education and lifelong learning there has recently been an increasing focus on learning in the workplace, but with a central contradiction. Whilst policy rhetoric emphasises the individual worker’s responsibility for her/his own learning, dominant theorising stresses its social nature (Lave and Wenger, 1991; Engestrom, 2001; Beckett and Hager, 2002). Our research, which is part of the Research Network on Improving Incentives to Workplace Learning, within the ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme, explores this contradiction in the context of the workplace learning of secondary school teachers in England. It is a qualitative study of four subject departments in two secondary schools. Fieldwork extends over 6 school terms with alternate terms in each school. The data include documentary evidence, observation of teachers working, and semi-structured interviews with them about their careers and learning. Analysis has focussed upon the relationships between three dimensions of teachers’ learning: their individual biographies; the culture of the departmental communities of practice they inhabit; and the broader policy contexts in which their work is located. The literature on workplace learning concentrates upon the workplace itself, as a community of practice or activity system. Such research sometimes acknowledges the significance of individuals (Billett, 2001), and also the significance of wider social, economic and political contexts and pressures (Lave and Wenger, 1991), but seldom explores either in detail. Here, we examine the interplay between all three dimensions in the context of a history department.
Original Document

Primary contributor

Author H Hodkinson

Additional details