A reflexive breakout: the influence of structure and the agency of trainee teachers, a case study of a large FE College

Olukoga, Titilola ORCID: 0000-0002-4075-3424 (2018) A reflexive breakout: the influence of structure and the agency of trainee teachers, a case study of a large FE College. Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 23 (4). pp. 479-498. ISSN 1359-6748

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Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rpce20/current


The Further Education (FE) sector has been considered by successive UK governments as significant to developing a global competitive edge as well as enhancing social justice. Consequently, these governments have shown keen interests in the sector and have introduced reforms and policy initiatives that have led to cultures of marketisation, managerialism and performativity. This in turn has been viewed as the dominance of structure over agency which has seemingly marginalised teachers’ classroom practice. This case study research employs Giddens’ structuration theory to analyse and understand the interrelationships between structure and agency within a large FE College. Using in-depth semi-structured interviews, data were collected from 16 teachers from both vocational and academic curriculum areas who have completed the PGCE/Cert Ed initial teacher training programme within 3 years of the study. Findings suggest that whilst structure has the capacity to wield its influence, teachers have the propensity to negotiate this influence and ‘breakout’ from the dominance of structure by proactively making effective changes to their advantage – within the confines of their professional practice. This study also advocates a review of politically imposed education reforms and support structures in the College in order to effect the desired change in the professional development of trainee teachers.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Structure, agency, structuration theory, teacher professionalism, reflexive breakout
Divisions: School of Education and Psychology
School of Education and Psychology > Education
Depositing User: Tracey Gill
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2019 09:47
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2019 10:17
Identification Number: 10.1080/13596748.2018.1526905
URI: http://ubir.bolton.ac.uk/id/eprint/2137

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