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Negotiating learning spaces in an FE college new build

Nelson, Richard (2020) Negotiating learning spaces in an FE college new build. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

In 2015, City Green College, a Further Education College in the North of England, developed a new building designed to enable teachers to use a variety of classroom, open learning spaces and online spaces. The senior managers’ aim was to alter the pedagogy to focus on independent learning. However, the teachers continued to request classrooms and avoided teaching in the newly created open learning spaces. The aims of this research were to: 1. identify the spaces being used by the teachers in City Green College’s new building, 2. examine if there is an expected change in teaching practice through the use of the new learning spaces and, 3. explore the issues raised by teachers while attempting to use the new learning spaces at the college. This case study uses Boys’ (2011) spatial triad as a framework to investigate teachers’ experiences as they moved from an old college building whose teaching spaces were all classrooms, to a new building containing a mix of classrooms and open learning spaces. Three key findings emerged. First, neoliberalism influenced the design of the new learning spaces and their use by teachers. Second, performance pressures influenced teachers to seek out traditional classrooms despite other spaces being available and teachers viewed the classroom space as part of their identity. Third, without time to reflect critically on innovation in their teaching practices, teachers deferred to the classroom as their preferred space for teaching and learning. Four key recommendations arose. First, teachers must be included in consultation regarding the design of learning spaces from an early planning stage. Second, senior managers who develop new learning spaces should communicate a strategic policy explaining how they expect the spaces to be used. Three, a programme of training is needed that encourages teachers to reflect critically on their own professional identity and relationship to teaching space. Finally, I recommend pausing the neoliberal drive for economic and performance target setting, by cancelling observations of teaching practice, in order to allow teachers to explore new learning spaces without fear of individual failure.

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.804600
Depositing User: Mr Richard Nelson
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2020 11:37
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2020 09:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/26601

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