Dialogue and practitioner relevant research required in FE

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 07:00

On Saturday 25th November the Department of Adult & Community Education attended the ‘Power and Professionalism in FE Conference’ which was held at the University of Huddersfield, UK.

This conference was organised to coincide with, the launch of the book ‘The Principal; Power and Professionalism in FE' published by University College London Institute of Education Press. One of the contributors to this collection is Fergal Finnegan from our department.

It was a remarkably vibrant event that brought together practitioners, policymakers and academic for a highly engaged and passionate day of discussions and presentations. The diversity of participants and the level of commitment to the field was very striking. As was the desire to do research and make interventions that matter to the field. How to ensure these voices are heard became the big discussion point of the day.

It was also noticeable how many of the themes of the event are similar to the sentiments which have emerged at Irish events. We heard of the transformative power of FE and the value of adult education methodologies. On the other hand, outcomes based assessment and an over-reliance on targets, a lack of student autonomy and the downgrading of practitioners’ professional judgement in the sector were noted as major problems.

The conference was energising and we came back with a renewed belief in the necessity of making FE a sector that is based on listening to learners and listening to practitioners.

See some of what went on Twitter hashtag: #hudpowerfe