Sue Clayton

  • Non traditional teachers for non traditional students: re-conceptualising teacher training for HE tutors in the creative disciplines

    Sue Clayton 
    Thames Valley University

    Neill Thew 
    Sussex University

    Session 4a

    Tuesday 4 September 2007, 16.00-17.00

    Conceptual paper

    Themes: Widening participation, Better practitioners, Better understanding of the discipline

    Improving student learning for Widening Participation often refers to addressing the needs of non traditional students, in order to increase access to, and progression within Higher Education, and thus increased life chances in the global economy.

    However, very little attention has been paid to the needs of non traditional tutors - particularly professional practitioners in the creative arts, who themselves often have a non traditional educational background. On confronting their student's and their own learning simultaneously, and for the first time, this group of professional learners raise interesting challenges for evidencing the published professional standards of academic practice, the nature of student learning in the expressive arts, and the accepted modes of teaching, learning and assessment in teacher training programmes.

    This paper presents a case study of delivering teacher training ( PGCertHE) to a cohort of part time tutors - working professional rock musicians - employed in a prestigious 'rock school', the Brighton Institute of Modern Music.

    In examining the pedagogical aspects of the increasing interaction and collaboration that is taking place between higher education and working life Päivi Tynjälä, Jussi Välimaa, and Anneli Sarja (Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä, Finland) conclude that the relationship between H.E. and working life should be appraised (1) from the viewpoint of student learning and the development of expertise, (2) from the view point of educational institutions and staff, (3) from the viewpoint of working life organisations and employers, and (4) from the viewpoint of society and the system of education.

    In re-conceptualising the PGCertHE in this context, Clayton and Thew draw also on Engestrom’s work on Activity Theory and notions of ‘expansive learning’ to focus on five aspects in particular:

    • The role of affectivity in teaching and learning
    • The validity of academic writing as the dominant mode of assessment in Higher Education, and in particular in professional development programmes.
    • The relationship of individual development to institutional culture and structures.
    • The role of intersecting – and perhaps conflicting - professional values.
    • Negotiating dual sector professional standards: HE in FE


    • Tynjala,P.,Valimaa,J.,Sarja,A.,(2003) Pedagogical perspectives on the relationships between higher education and working life, Higher Education,46(2)pp147-166
    • Engestrom, Y. (2001) Expansive Learning at Work: toward an activity theoretical reconceptualization, Journal of Education and Work 14(1), pp 133-156