About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5133-5140
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain

CULTURE CLASH: MENTORING PRE-SERVICE LITERACY EDUCATORS IN A MARKETISED AND INSTRUMENTALIST FE POLICYSCAPE

G. Garbett1, D. Orrock2, R. Smith3

1Wolverhampton Adult Education Service (UNITED KINGDOM)
2Birmingham Metropolitan College (UNITED KINGDOM)
3University of Wolverhampton (UNITED KINGDOM)
At the centre of this study, there is a sense of cultural collision. While from a global perspective Literacy education has an exciting and radical pedigree, the teaching of Literacy in England has been harnessed to an explicitly instrumentalist policy agenda since the introduction of the Adult Literacy Core Curriculum in 2001 (Literacy Study Group 2010, p7-8). This paper sets out to explore the impact of this policyscape on the mentoring of Literacy student-teachers.

A review of the literature on mentoring to date (e.g. Cunningham 2004 and 2007, Cullimore and Simmons 2008) reveals a primary focus on the interpersonal aspects of the role and while these are important, specifically in the extent to which mentors are able to apply pedagogical principles to the relationship, these considerations can be greatly influenced and even outweighed by contextual considerations. Next, the study draws on a qualitative data set from a series of interviews with Literacy mentors from different colleges in the English West Midlands. These interviews and the collaborative analysis that followed provided a textured perspective on the salient issues in Literacy mentoring.

In a sector of education in which marketisation and its cultural complement managerialism have become structural features (Coffield 2008, Shain and Gleeson 1999; Smith 2007,), this study found that Literacy mentors are able to promote the holistic and student-centred approaches that are fundamental to established Literacy pedagogy but that institutional and cultural factors can militate against this in decisive ways. To start with, Literacy as a subject discipline continues to battle against perceptions of low status by other related, but more established subjects (like English). Literacy tutors report feeling marginalised and devalued (See Dhillon et al forthcoming). In addition to the issue of status, the place of Literacy within the FE curriculum appears to be vulnerable to policy fads and interventions. The instability of the subject area is witnessed by a recently announced reduction in government funding for Adult education (BIS 2009), apparently in response to a report by the Confederation for British Industry (CBI 2009). These issues are overlaid in some settings by a lack of recognition of the mentoring role itself as the mentors often operated within efficiency orientated environments that gave few or no hours remission for the role.

The paper concludes that whilst Literacy mentors have a particular and significant role to play in the education of new Literacy teachers, the motivations and values associated with Literacy mentoring seem to jar in many cases with the institutional and marketised cultures in which they operate. Mentoring Literacy student-teachers involves a complex negotiation of interpersonal, institutional and hegemonic policy perspectives and while this is the case, the culture and values of Literacy Education will remain an important resource for Literacy mentors.
@InProceedings{GARBETT2010CUL,
author = {Garbett, G. and Orrock, D. and Smith, R.},
title = {CULTURE CLASH: MENTORING PRE-SERVICE LITERACY EDUCATORS IN A MARKETISED AND INSTRUMENTALIST FE POLICYSCAPE},
series = {3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2010 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-2439-9},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {15-17 November, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {5133-5140}}
TY - CONF
AU - G. Garbett AU - D. Orrock AU - R. Smith
TI - CULTURE CLASH: MENTORING PRE-SERVICE LITERACY EDUCATORS IN A MARKETISED AND INSTRUMENTALIST FE POLICYSCAPE
SN - 978-84-614-2439-9/2340-1095
PY - 2010
Y1 - 15-17 November, 2010
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2010 Proceedings
SP - 5133
EP - 5140
ER -
G. Garbett, D. Orrock, R. Smith (2010) CULTURE CLASH: MENTORING PRE-SERVICE LITERACY EDUCATORS IN A MARKETISED AND INSTRUMENTALIST FE POLICYSCAPE, ICERI2010 Proceedings, pp. 5133-5140.
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