Learning to transform or teaching to conform?: the role of criticality in vocational higher education

Rockett, Richard (2017) Learning to transform or teaching to conform?: the role of criticality in vocational higher education. Investigations in university teaching and learning, 11 (Spring). pp. 32-41. ISSN 1740-5106


The role of a university as a provider for teacher training through the PGCE programme is increasingly threatened due to mounting socio-political factors that have a gathering ominous prescience for this route into the teaching profession. The recent policy announced by the government regarding the implementation of new apprenticeship schemes (DfE, 2017) exemplifies current political thinking. The teaching profession has become increasingly acclimatised to political initiatives that are designed to alleviate or solve recruitment and retention issues that have become inseparable from the term ‘crisis’. It is against this backdrop that the role of the university as a provider of criticality and transformative learning as an academic platform for attaining the status of a primary school teacher is appraised. Where does criticality sit in the creation of primary school teachers who will be positioned within an education sector that increasingly conforms to statistical success at the expense of individual professional autonomy? This paper seeks to investigate established and current thinking around the topic of criticality and how it can then be incorporated into a teacher training programme to enhance the quality of the learning experience and acknowledge its role in the formation of discerning professionals.

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