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Contesting the Curriculum in the Cinderella Sector: An Analysis of a BTEC Art and Design Curriculum in an FE College

Newlan, K P (2016) Contesting the Curriculum in the Cinderella Sector: An Analysis of a BTEC Art and Design Curriculum in an FE College. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

In recent years, material resources for art and design in Further Education (FE) have diminished, and Awarding Bodies' (ABs) regulations are frequently changed. FE colleges, which typically provide second chance or alternative pathways for learners, are required to deliver vocational courses of learning based upon current practices. The implications for foundational learning are considerable, especially for experiential learning, as colleges manage the overlapping fields of AB's requirements, FE funding and scrutiny, and art and design practice, to balance the requirements of government and the interests of learners and teachers. The purpose of the study reported in this thesis was to examine the processes of curriculum construction through teachers' course planning and students' responses, particularly in relation to the conceptions of 2D and 3D teaching and learning. The study also aimed to examine the way in which the curriculum reflected cultural values, and to explore the impact of assessment practices on the shaping of the curriculum. The research was undertaken in a large FE college in England, and employed an interpretive ethnographic methodology, gathering data from participant observations and interviews with teachers and students in one class, in a twelve-month period between 2011 and 2012. In addition to this ethnographic methodology, the study also included the analysis of students’ work and a content analysis of relevant ABs’ and course documentation. A thematic analysis of the data was undertaken, drawing on the theoretical concepts of Bernstein and Lowenfeld, in order to consider the nature of the constructed curriculum. The findings suggest that a curriculum in which students have limited experience of 3D and haptic learning discriminates against essential experiences for foundational learning in art and design. In addition, the BTEC curriculum may unnecessarily reinforce cultural bias due to the selection of artists and topics for focus. Further, the nature of BTEC assessment is such that it shapes the curriculum in unanticipated ways, serving to create an emphasis on small units of production, rather than offering sustained opportunities for exploratory and open-ended practice over time. The research questions the continuing claims made with regard to the importance of vocationality and specialist learning for foundational students, in the light of the declining access to fundamental experiences with a variety of materials and technologies.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.698303
Depositing User: Mr K P Newlan
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2016 16:45
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:31
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/15651

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