What is important to you in Lifelong Learning Teacher Education?


What really excites you about Lifelong Learning Teacher Education?

What really frustrates and annoys you?

Just what is important to you as a teacher educator?

I’m trying to start a discussion and promote participation … there are good numbers of people following and viewing this blog, so why not make a post, or make a comment as well as reading those from others? This post is trying to start a conversation, and is a nice simple, personal perspective.

My own answers are:

I’ve always found the whole process of being a teacher, working to help people learn, to be one of the best experiences in the world. Not always worthwhile, often very difficult, but just brilliant when you help someone to develop and grow as a person / professional / member of the community (or even all three!). Not quite as good as seeing your own children do good or nice things, but very close to it. The feel good factor for you as you see confidence, capability and engagement build in your pupils, students, trainees and others is almost unbeatable. Top of the list then is being a teacher, and particularly a teacher of teachers!

Secondly, the fact that the work, particularly in the LL sector is complicated, ever changing and often dominated by things we wouldn’t choose to do. It’s also of course one of the most frustrating things, but I find the ongoing challenge, variety and need to problem solve offers a professional working experience which is unlikely to be boring for long, and which will keep your mind, to some degree your body and probably all of your other senses alive and engaged at all times. This does of course have down sides, including 30 hours of work to fit into every 24 hour day; exhaustion; feeling isolated … !!! but for me, if I can solve a reasonable amount of the problems, help a few people learn a few things every week, and not wake up too often at three am, I’d still choose it on balance above any other work.

Thirdly I actually like learning myself, and there are always many (probably too many) things to learn all the time. Some days you’ll come across a brilliant piece of writing (even occasionally in an academic journal!), another day a great teaching idea, and another day some technology which actually works!!

Fourthly, the community of LL Teacher Educators (yes, I do think there is one!) is a really nice, committed and passionate group of people!

So these are some of the things which are really important to me, and I’ve hinted at the frustrations.

Overall I don’t just (still) believe we can change the world, I know we can!! Maybe only a fraction, and maybe only for one person, but that still makes it worth it.

So what about you?


A-Z of lifelong learning by Jonathan Tummons and Ewan Ingleby (Published soon)

I have just written an endorsement for the A-Z of lifelong Learning. So – here it is:

This is a welcome and timely text. Lifelong learning is characterised by continual revision and radical diversity. This simple A-Z of the sector provides a much needed overview of that complexity.  For the novice unfamiliar with the pedagogies, philosophies and policies that define working with adults – this A-Z of Lifelong Learning is an accessible introduction.  The seasoned professional familiar with a particular institutional setting will appreciate gaining depth and insight into the workings of an entirely different educational context. Those working in a further education college may know little and understand less about the distinctiveness of the Workers’ Educational Association. Each alphabetically listed entry is sharply focussed and accessibly written. The writers somehow manage to stay true to the criticality and contention desired by  those seeking depth. They do more than provide factual information; the reader is gently guided through the broad arguments surrounding that particular entry – audit, OfSTED and part-time tutors are three good examples of how contestation is introduced: there is enough here to appreciate the significance of the concept but too little to completely satisfy. The reader is left curious and inspired, wanting to follow up and find out more. Yet, each entry provides just enough detail to stimulate thought and discussion.

Metaphor and the learning landscape


Some years ago All in the Mind, a programme on radio 4 discussed the impact of using different metaphors to describe crime. They reported on an experiment conducted by colleagues at Stanford University which explored the impact of describing crime using the metaphor of beast or virus. When those who participated in the experiment were asked how best to manage crime, those working within the beast metaphor placed emphasis on responses that favoured enforcement or punishment. Those working in the virus metaphor placed more emphasis on social reform.   The metaphors impacted on how participants in the experiment saw the problem and what they saw as the solution.

I have no idea how seriously this experiment should be taken and the results are not as stark as my re-tellng suggests. But, it does offer a sharp, simple and neatly focused illustration of what critical discourse analysts have for a…

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