Teaching and learning in further education in Scotland Jim Gallacher Glasgow Caledonian University
This research is linked to the Transforming Learning Cultures in Further Education project, but the particular focus in the Scottish project is upon teaching and learning in Community Learning Centres (CLCs). The boundaries between the CLCs and the communities from which the learners come are more permeable than those associated with the more formal campus based learning environments. As a result learners bring more of their personal, social and emotional lives into the CLCs. These lives are often complex and many learners have a wide range of personal and social difficulties or problems which they bring with them into the centres. This is a key element in understanding learning cultures within CLCs.
Teaching and non-teaching staff’s emotional labour A key role for staff within CLCs is to help create an informal and supportive environment which enables learners to develop greater confidence, and to be empowered as learners. This can be conceptualised as ‘emotional labour’13. In creating this supportive environment it is not just the teaching staff, but also non-teaching staff (such as centre managers and receptionists) who have a key role. This can involve the development of a different and wider set of relationships than those found in the campus based settings. This raises an important issue regarding how colleges can provide appropriate support for staff in undertaking this work. It also underlines the value of FE’s diverse mission.
Transitions While CLCs are very successful in providing informal and supportive contexts for learners, there is evidence that some learners find it difficult to make the transition from these centres to further study in campus based courses or other kinds of activity, including work. This may be associated with cultural differences between the CLCs and the campuses, or practical difficulties associated with travel or childcare. We are exploring these issues more fully in the final stage of our fieldwork.
Relationship between CLCs and the mainstream FE The peripheral nature of the CLCs, both geographically and in status terms, can make it difficult for staff who work within them to provide the quality of provision to which they aspire. For example, it is sometimes difficult for Centre staff to be confident that they will have the tutors they need to run courses. Staff can also feel more isolated and lacking in support. This can have
Emotional labour has been described as “the labour involved in dealing with other people’s
feelings, a core component of which is the regulation of emotions…
labour p. 15).