The construction of teachers with specific learning differences (SpLDs) as subjects in the English Further Education sector
: an exploration of the contribution of policy techniques, policy process and performativity.

  • Annemarie O'Dwyer

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

This research explores the contribution of policy techniques, policy process and performativity in the construction of teachers with specific learning differences (SpLDs) as subjects in the English Further Education (FE) sector. The research inquiry moves beyond subjective accounts of how teachers with SpLD navigate through the expectations of what it is to be a teaching professional, and instead appreciates how a set of circumstances created by FE sector policy reform and policy techniques, contributes to the subjectification of teachers with SpLDs. There exists a dearth of research that explores wider policy influences and policy techniques at the micro and meso levels of the FE sector. This research is situated within the interpretivist paradigm, adopting the qualitative technique of semi-structured interviews with fifteen participants from the FE sector. This research explores policy in practice and appreciates a much wider approach to policy, moving beyond just considering policy as text and encapsulating policy as discourse (Ball, 1994) within the analysis. Existing policy in practice research tends to adopt a managerial perspective in understanding the policy process. This research looks at both the micro and meso levels of the FE sector by including policy actors from a range of FE institutions, agencies, organisations and departments. In addition, the inquiry appreciates the hegemonic macro influence of performative discourse. The research concludes with three findings: 1 the cult of the performative teacher; 2 post-panoptic performativity; 3 prove or improve techniques. The teacher with SpLDs as a policy actor is orientated within the same policy environ as all policy actors from the FE sector. This thesis further contributes to the practice of research in terms of the process of data analysis, but also by placing the policy research within the practice of education in the FE sector.
Date of Award2 Oct 2021
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAnthony Thorpe (Director of Studies) & Sarah O'Flynn (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • Performativity
  • SpLDs
  • policy
  • policy process
  • policy techniques
  • panoptic-performativity

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