• The impact of work based learning: A creative exploration of learners’ experience

      Scott, Deborah S. (University of Chester, 2019-03)
      The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the impact of work based learning through a creative exploration of learners’ experience. The impact expected in work based learning is at personal, professional and/ or organisational level, and might extend beyond the organisation, to social order. However, the nature and extent of impact is variable, and sometimes not evident at all. This variability and apparent lack of impact is of pedagogical and economic concern for all parties involved in the tripartite work based learning relationship: learners expect to perceive some benefit from undertaking such a course of study; higher education providers need to show relevance to the working world; organisations assume there will be operational or strategic outcome from their employees’ engagement in work based learning. Wider than this, the significance of learning of relevance to the United Kingdom’s productivity is articulated in the government’s Industrial Strategy (GOV.UK, 2017). The investigation takes a narrative research approach to explore the experiences of recent Masters graduates of a negotiated work based learning programme for distance learners. The data were analysed using the concepts of Thirdspace, equality, creativity, and critical reflection. The creation of play scripts is an innovative feature of this thesis, representing an interpretation of participants’ stories about their work based learning experience. This imagined embodiment of learners’ experience facilitated greater empathy and understanding, supporting a critical perspective on the nature of impact. Insights emerging from the research suggest that impact was experienced by all research participants, but varied in nature and extent due to factors such as employment position; self-confidence, self-perception and personal experience; the culture and economic position of the organisation. Some participants’ employment position supported their use of their work based learning to instigate organisational change. For others, a marginal employment position offered opportunity to use learning for professional development. However, marginalisation might also hinder impact beyond the personal when combined with other factors such as an organisation’s financial constraints, and might prevent enactment of emerging radical ideas about the social order. Even when impact was deep, it might not be overt. A further insight was that collaboration was significant in effecting impact. This investigation offers a new perspective on impact in the context of work based learning, which highlights the creative, subtle and emotional aspects. The findings prompt review of teaching, learning and assessment practice leading to identification of strategies to accommodate and support students’ performance and development.
    • Learning to teach mathematics: navigating the landscape of teacher education

      Bamber, Sally (University of Chester, 2015-07)
      Metaphor provides a potentially powerful rhetorical device to help me to tell informed and persuasive stories about mathematics education. In this ethnographic study I consider key episodes that serve to exemplify the complex experience of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) students of secondary mathematics education. I use a narrative analysis to shine a spotlight on the experiences of six beginning teachers so that the metaphors in their stories expose the impact that separately situated sites of teacher education have upon their beliefs and behaviour as teachers. Tensions between school and university contributors to teacher education have been well documented over many decades, but recent policy changes in the nature of post-graduate ITE in England bring these issues to the fore. In this study, I consider the influences of school-based and university-based teacher educators upon the beliefs of student secondary mathematics teachers and interpret the students’ perceptions of these influences on their actions as novice teachers. My analysis is framed by a model of experience and education articulated by Dewey as well as a framework of representations of knowledge in a culture of education articulated by theorists concerned with the relevance of constructivism and situated cognition as theories of learning. In this study, disturbances and discontinuities relating to the location and culture of ITE, together with the development of ITE students’ professional knowledge are uncovered, warranting further research.
    • Leaving everything behind: understanding the experiences of Palestinian academics and their families in the UK

      Atherton, Frances; Moran, Paul; Owens, Allan; Elwaheidi, Muayyad T. (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2018-09)
      This thesis presents a critical study of the experience of Palestinian academics living and studying abroad. Two key, interrelated research questions guide the study. First, how does a Palestinian academic living and studying abroad experience displacement from origin? And second, how can these experiences be written about and communicated? The thesis constructs an experimental proposition by refusing to make distinctions between data, epistemological content and myself as the researcher. Situated at a juncture between theory and story, I draw from my own direct experience of dislocation and displacement, using a narrative mode of storytelling as a mode of inquiry which is then intersected by critical readings of supporting theory. The discourse which emerges is a heterodox mixture of narrative and theory which challenges the conventional separation between researcher, data and epistemological content. This experience is mainly engaged with the theory of the State of Exception by Giorgio Agamben. The study tries to question to what extent Agamben regarding the State of Exception can be applied to the situation in Gaza Strip and the lives of those academics and their families. It deals with this by analysing the day-to-day experiences of Palestinian people, especially Palestinian academics and their families and in this study a Palestinian educator. The work of Giorgio Agamben, Gilles Deleuze and others emerges within this study as a recurrent conversation on the subjects of the State of Exception, bare life, symbolic violence, nomadism, and the rhizome. Just as the narrative voice of the thesis “reterritorializes” the space of academic discourse, so the text shifts between thick descriptions of the spatial conditions of Palestine as experienced by myself and other Palestinian academics and educators and broader critical reflections on the nature of space and subjectivity. Additionally, this textual discourse is joined by a curatorial discourse which frames the events discussed with visual images and objects, the material and visual signs and traces which refract the experience of Palestinian academics living and studying abroad. Questioning conventional limits, the overall contribution of this thesis is to push and experiment with new methodologies of arts-based research which will enable my own subjectivity to present in the data in order for my experiences to be documented.
    • Living and learning through song.

      Poole, Simon E. (University of Chester, 2019-01)
      autoethnography is concerned with the tension between innovation and tradition in the craft of songwriting and the learning this allows for. It is formed by two parts; the following written thesis and a choral song entitled ‘The Walk to Kitty’s Stone’. The work draws upon my own experiences whilst writing this song and qualitative data obtained through recorded discussions with other songwriters, with whom I am part of a folk group called ‘the loose kites’. The thesis is structured and viewed through a folkloristic lens. Bausinger’s work and his concepts of the spatial, temporal and social horizons expanding provide this lens and offer a theoretical framework for folk culture in the digital world to be investigated. Two research methods of songwriting are used within this framework to consider the learning that occurs. The first method allows for an expression of a psychogeographical understanding using a machine called a ‘Perambulographer’ which enabled me to draw graphic scores for composition while walking. The second method was an exercise in ekphrastic lyric writing. Learning is considered in terms of informal education, and music pedagogy and as such builds upon Green’s research. The key interpretations from the research highlight notions of authenticity, respect, political awareness and democratic values as significant features of songwriting. This study does not offer any new pedagogy but instead highlights how songwriting as ‘craft-based practice as research’ might offer an opportunity for songwriters to appreciate the relationships and values that they embody in their practice, specifically with regards to their own identity, when teaching. The work proposes that a songwriter’s home and folk culture has a significant influence on their identity and how they write songs. The main advance in practice is the development of a theory of ‘be-longing’ underpinning the advocacy of a folkloristic disposition in the context of education.
    • Making and Relational Creativity: An exploration of relationships that arise through creative practices in informal making spaces

      Adams, Jeff; Bulkeley, Jane; Bennett, Lindsey, H (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-09-27)
      This thesis investigates the connections between making and relational creativity, exploring relationships that arise through creative practices in informal making spaces. As the researcher, my background is that of both artist and educator, and I combine both roles to work alongside students within the space. The aims of the study are to explore the impact such spaces have on teachers professional relationships with students together with the impact on student relationships. In addition, the research also aims to address the implications of informal making spaces for the school curriculum in England. The research is centred around the A/R/Tography Collective, a making space created to allow students the opportunity to meet and create after school outside of lesson time. The research builds on the democratic learning practices of Room 13 and Reggio Emilia models of learning. Using a qualitative approach within a narrative paradigm in the form of case study, I work alongside students within the field. By employing an immersive approach where field notes were written up retrospectively and reflected upon, I have been able to offer a holistic and balanced account of both my own and participant experiences, exposing the complexities and problematic nature of creative practices emerging outside of the curriculum framework. My findings reveal that by deconstructing traditional pedagogical frameworks, the lived experiences of students are revealed through the process of making, providing a unique insight into their lives. The findings suggest that the current art and design curriculum in England is not meeting the needs of students, and recommends the value of making spaces that exist outside of the curriculum framework to enhance learner experience. The research recommends that by allowing students freedom of expression within curriculum time, relationships between students and teacher are developed and strengthened. This in turn positively impacts on student performance within curriculum time. The research recommends the need for educators to inhabit a more holistic role, to tailor their pedagogy to meet the individual, ever changing needs of students.
    • Making sense of educational leadership. An autoethnographic journey from Soviet totalitarianism to the neoliberal condition of the UK

      Hulse, Bethan; Lambert, Steve; Beattie, Liana (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-12)
      This autoethnographic study seeks to explore educational leadership in contemporary higher education in the UK as experienced by a group of academics with a Soviet background. Prompted by personal experiences of both Soviet and neoliberal environments as well as by the obvious lack of attention in literature to the subject of followership, this thesis brings the followers’ perspectives on educational leadership to the forefront of investigative inquiry. Using an original postmodern methodological approach of ‘symbiotic autoethnography’ in combination with Foucauldian theoretical ‘tools’, the study disrupts traditional modernist categorisations of leadership and followership through unveiling a complex interplay of subversive powers as potential determinants behind the followers’ constructs of educational leadership. Thus, the contribution of this study to the current state of knowledge is on both theoretical and methodological levels. My theoretical approach of contrasting modernist theories of followership against postmodern ways of thinking contributes to redirecting current research agendas away from modernist static and hierarchical assumptions toward more dynamic explorations of educational leadership and followership as spatially- and historically-located problematic concepts that are shaped by a multiplicity of contexts, experiences and powers. In addition, using Foucauldian aspects of discipline and objectification in my analysis provides an opportunity for fellow-researchers to explore further his ‘toolbox’ as the means for developing an understanding educational leadership as an instrument of state power, thus, equipping academics with additional mediums for resisting the existing powers of neoliberalism and intervening in the transformation of the social order. On methodological level, the proposed conceptual framework of symbiotic autoethnography offers a possibility of another contribution, as this methodological approach can, potentially, help those engaged in autoethnographic study to use it as an adaptable structure, capable of accommodating the diversity, the ambiguity and the dynamics of their subjective experiences across varied contexts and disciplines.
    • The Out-of-School Creative Practice of an Art Teacher

      Bamber, Sally; Adams, Jeff; Lloyd-Johnson, Jude (University of Chester, 2018-12)
      This research aims to give a greater understanding of the impact my teaching role has on my creative practice as a self-portrait photographer. This aim has been researched and explored using self-portrait photography and personal experiences in and outside of the classroom. Using the street photographer Vivian Maier as inspiration, I have reflected on how using the techniques of another practitioner could influence my practice and teaching. Pursuant to this, I have produced a portfolio of Street and Home Life selfportraits. With the application of auto-ethnographic research methods and a/r/tography approaches, I explored the tensions and parallels within my creative practice and my role as a researcher and teacher. As a photographer, researcher and teacher, I have found that each of these roles and identities are intertwined and interlinked such that it is impossible to separate them. I found that my creativity does not generally follow a journey from initial starting point to final piece and taking photographs in the style of another photographer limited the generation of my own ideas. Therefore, as a result of my research, I propose that there are two types of art, school art and creative practitioner art. The former follows a set of rules and criteria and is primarily assessed on the merit of the pupil’s skill level by the schools’ examination board. The latter can be organic and sometimes stilted in its creation, but judged by either art critics or purchasers of the art practice.
    • Premature labour? A reflexive appraisal of one young teacher’s journey into first time motherhood and her return to teaching.

      Adams, Jeff; Devarakonda, Chandrika; McCarthy, Elaine P. (University of Chester, 2016-02-28)
      This Ethnographic/Autoethnographic study reflects in rich detail a young teacher’s life as she navigates the changing landscape of her first pregnancy, the birth of her child and her subsequent return to work as a full-time teacher. Using data which has been collected from a personal journal which she kept throughout the eighteen month period of the study, it examines the practical and emotional challenges which she faced, and the commitment, self-sacrifice and dedication required of her for the continuation and advancement of her career. By combining her data with observed field notes, semi-constructed interviews and reflexive narrative, I have been able to offer a holistic and balanced account of her experience and expose the complexities of motherhood today and the impact they have on a woman’s life choices and professional decision making. My study revealed how this new mother faced a myriad of decisions and dilemmas, decisions, which ultimately impacted on her emotional well-being, and her power and identity as a woman, a wife, a daughter and a professional teacher. Its findings suggest that notwithstanding the historical political and legislative policies which have been implemented, in reality, little has changed since my own experience of being a working mother some thirty years ago. It recommends that if the increase in working mothers is to continue to rise, more must be done, both culturally and institutionally to alleviate the physical and emotional pressures which currently only serve to exacerbate the guilt and stress which appear to be an innate characteristic of the maternal condition. It concludes by recommending that working mothers need to harness “their strengths, their ability to learn, their confidence and joy in their work –[because this is] all part of being a woman now, [it is] part of [their] female identity” (Friedan, 1963, p.331), and rather than accepting motherhood as being a moderating factor, they should allow it to become an influence for further personal and professional growth and liberation, so that they can reassert their power and fight back to assume their equal place in society (Kristeva, 2015).
    • Presence that makes a difference: cultivating a transformative agency in education through research-based applied theatre and drama

      Bragby, Kerstin (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-08-14)
      Applied theatre and drama (ATD), defined as an ecology of practices in a variety of fields, is often attributed with the transformative outcomes integral to social change achieved through co-processual art. However, how the nature of transformative learning and change is activated in practice is hard to establish. In this thesis, activation centres on re-cultivation of the core of different professional roles, identities and learning cultures embedded in the disruptive crises and questions of our time. It involves; renewing professional motivation, skills and cocreative performativity in alignment with sustainable inclusion of competition, oppositions, conflicts and systemic demands from a changing world. The thesis explores how cultivated sensitivities, competences and sociality in ATD processes, originating in devised actor and ensemble training and progressive pedagogies, can activate transformative adult learning. Central concepts used are fictional frames in role-taking, improvisation and staging. These allow for self-mirroring one’s own socio-culturally individual and collective enactment as spect-actor; making explicit, the intra- inter- and transsubjective contextuality that otherwise would remain implicit. Transparency and negotiation allow for de- and re-construction, spontaneous re-combination, rehearsal and actualization of alternative realities. A triangulated- socio-cultural systemic and ATD theoretical framework is used to analyse how the generative socio-aesthetic practice of ATD can re-cultivate knowledge process’. This thesis takes the form of an action research project over an 8-year period, a multi-method study of four cases aspiring to socially innovate professional and educational process. The four cases focus in turn on; teachers, female entrepreneurs, adults with functional variations, my own educational and professional trajectory as theatre actress and university teacher. The primary research approach is practice-led research-based ATD informed by a spectrum of social science methods used to develop an interfacing pedagogical, co-learning, co-creative, and co-researching methodology. Inspired by Scharmers systemic view of an advanced tridirectional approach to social science this intertwines the constitution of knowledge, reality and self as a coherent framework. Phenomenologically this involves observing the firstperson’s individualized consciousness and the evolution of self when active in co-creative involvement; it is concerned with engaging collective dialogic conversing social fields in second-person social transformation. Action research connects third person science through embodying and representing the internalised actual enactment of institutional patterns and structures. The findings indicate that these expanded ATD-processes can establish collaborative trust and social explorative creativity through serious playfulness with personal and collective difficulties, excitements, and adversities. These are conceptualised as pedagogical entrances that allow for the cultivation of subtle and complex qualities of presence, meta-awareness and advanced co-inquiring observations. The individual and collective improvisational skills emerge as critical and creative social re-imaginings that can feed transformative learning; raising awareness and critical perspectives, shifting points and frames of references that help re-frame pre-assumptions, habitual blind spots and behaviours and negotiate new meaning and understanding. A core cultivated social capacity is identified, resembling theatre actor’s stage-self, transmittable to different professional regimes. It is defined as a transformative agency, experienced as an expanded centred sense of omni-presence, distributed self and identity. It allows a flexible, improvisational mind-full and socially reciprocal character to emerge.
    • Referral to Occupational Health: A Foucauldian discourse analysis of statutory documents and student nurses’ perceptions

      Massey, Alan (University of Chester, 2015-11)
      This study was carried out using a Foucauldian discourse analysis and involved the examination of three statutory reports into the provision of occupational health in the workplace. The reports analysed were the Report of the Select Committee on the Bill for the Regulation of Factories (1832); the Safety and Health at Work Report (1972); and Working for a Healthier Tomorrow (2008). Additionally, analysis was carried out on oral events with nursing students, which sought to understand their perceptions of referral to occupational health. The objective of this study is to explore how referral is constructed through discourse, categorising how this practice is constrained or liberated by specific discourses and how nursing students are positioned by these discourses. My study highlights both structural and subjective barriers to the use of occupational health. At the structural level, it is observed that referral to occupational health commenced as a form of governmentality, introducing dividing practices which subjected the workforce to forms of classification and surveillance. For those classified as healthy a culture developed within workplaces in which health behaviours needed to comply with the standards set down by occupational health and by the risk management approach. Risk management processes and stigmatisation are used to ensure compliance with the state’s wishes for a healthy and productive workforce. This trend is seen across the reports analysed, and is increased within the Black Report to the surveillance of health both in and out of the workplace for those of a working age. Subjectively, occupational health was identified as a disciplining and subjugating structure by the nursing students. The students evidenced notions of Cartesian duality in their discussions of the outcomes of referral, as they readily accepted surveillance of the body whilst seeking to avoid surveillance of their mental health capabilities. Through observation of architectural signs and organisational images of discourse, students categorised occupational health as an instrument of the higher education institute and not as a form of holistic health support. The research highlights how occupational health acts as a barrier to the students’ fulfilling their societal roles as good students and good nurses. The research also highlights a desire on the part of the student nurses to utilise occupational health within a public health framework which addresses their health in a preventative rather than punitive manner.
    • A reflexive arts investigation: An examination of the shifting gendered identities of mother and daughter through psychodynamic and feminist discourses.

      Sampson-Chappell, Lynn (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-02)
      This research is the culmination of nine years of collaborative and individual arts practice with my daughter, using a range of collaborative and individual art practices to document the stages of my daughter’s development and learning through play and experimentation with art materials. The thesis is a lived enquiry which gives my daughter authorship as co researcher, offering a unique insight into her understanding and learning through arts practice. The arts practice provides a voice to the child, which has been lost to the performativity metrics of the school institution. The research acknowledges the multiple identities of the researcher, mother, artist and educator. As an artist I live and embody the creative and critical inquiry, as the researcher I respond to the culture of the research community and as an educator / mother I respond to others involved in the artistic inquiry. The practice-based thesis consists of two interconnected elements: an exhibition of art practice created by me and my daughter working both symbiotically and independently accompanied by a written account of the process. The art work is a collection of early drawings and experimental mark-making, photographs, screen prints, casts and embossed papers which trace my daughter’s emotional development as she navigates her infancy, latency and emerging adolescence. At the same time the Exhibition documents the parallel processes in me as an artist/teacher and mother of my only child, through her infancy, childhood and adolescence. The practice-based thesis illustrates that healthy separation is a crucial feature of normal development, emerging identity and the journey from dependence, interdependence to independence. The shared and individual arts practice creates an external representation of what is usually an internal, invisible emotional struggle as mothers separate from their children and children strive for their right to become adults independent of their parents. This iii transitional movement is visible in the art practice. Psychodynamic ideas such as the mother as an object and a container are explored as boundaries are maintained by the mother despite being challenged by the daughter; at first these challenges are resisted and then, reluctantly relinquished by the mother. The mother’s own childhood is inevitably present in the art work and the analysis. This thesis adopts an autobiographical, ethnographic and reflexive approach, consequently the findings can only be subjective. It exposes a highly personal journey which is both painful and joyful. It offers insights into how an artist/teacher/mother can engage with a developing child through providing a containing relationship in which shared arts practice reveals and exposes in painstaking detail how separation is navigated as an ongoing, dynamic process. The art itself explores in very concrete ways how boundaries are sometimes held firmly and how they sometimes move, how emerging identity evolves, fades, changes and is finally brought into sharp relief. A parent who herself is not contained will find it difficult to contain her child through the ordinary turbulence of childhood.
    • Student Nurses’ Perceptions of Compassion

      Adams, Jeff; Atherton, Frances; Barton, Janet (University of Chester, 2016-04-30)
      Compassion has been associated with the nursing profession since the days of Florence Nightingale. It is a general expectation that nurses should be compassionate when they are caring for people. In the United Kingdom (UK) concerns have been raised recently that nurses are failing to be compassionate as they carry out their nursing duties. There is little evidence within the literature of how student nurses perceive compassion as they engage in the pre-registration-nursing programme. In this study, I use narrative to produce case studies as a vehicle for the students to voice their perceptions of compassion. My ethnographic analysis of their stories is framed by my own experience as a professional registered nurse and nurse educator situated within their learning environment, and applies theories of compassion and learning. In my study, themes emerge that demonstrate commonalities, differences and tensions relating to the students’ individual beliefs and behaviours, and to the impact of their professional development as they transcend from university learning spaces into clinical practice.
    • The experience of women as mature students in Higher Education

      Atherton, Frances; Hanrahan, Lindsay J. (University of Chester, 2018-08-30)
      There is a substantial body of knowledge into the factors that can influence women’s experiences of Higher Education (HE) such as social class, ethnicity and gender. Additionally, there is a significant focus on women and education in relation to their academic abilities such as comparing their achievement in terms of their gender. However, much of this research focuses on attainment between groups such as men and women or explores the impact of one specific characteristic. The principal aim of my study was to explore the experiences of a small group of women who had returned to education and entered HE. Through a series of conversations their unique stories were revealed, including the challenges and opportunities that they had encountered. The original contribution to knowledge that my study makes is in the way it documents five mature women’s experiences who traditionally would not have been expected to go to university. These women are working class, with caring responsibilities, who did not anticipate a time in their lives when they would continue into HE. To attain an undergraduate degree or professional qualification seemed beyond their particular sphere. In this study, the stories of five women over the age of twenty-one, returning to HE is captured and reveals the complex issues faced as they navigated their way through unfamiliar territory. During the research recurring themes emerged in the women’s experiences including personal motivations and aspirations, challenges to learning, networks of support and learning communities which shaped their time in HE. My ethnographic analysis of their stories is framed by my own experience of returning to HE and is viewed through the lens of feminist theory. The overall conclusions from the research reveal that the five women were able to complete their courses successfully and highlights a range of positive factors about returning to education including the opportunity to engage with fellow students, increasing personal confidence and independence and developing understandings, knowledge and skills. However, my study also illustrates the real barriers and constraints to learning that proved to be tough for the women to overcome both emotionally and practically. By examining several Marxist feminist writers such as Benston (1969) and Putnam Tong (1993), I recognised how women may be oppressed or restricted in their choices based on the numerous roles that they must perform in the home. For some of the women, attempting to study in addition to fulfilling other domestic and caring responsibilities proved to be very demanding. Overall, the research highlights the complexities that this group of non-traditional students face when attempting to improve their prospects and fulfil hitherto latent potential.
    • The international movement of ideas and practices in education and social policy

      Ford, Neville J.; Hulme, Robert I. (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2011-08)
      This thesis comprises eight publications produced between 2000 and 2009 in addition to a critical review of that work. The review considers the contribution made by the author to the perspectives on policy making offered by the framework of policy transfer and its subsequent applications within global social policy and related sub disciplines. It develops to explore the author's use of critical policy sociology and methodological work in social policy, education and political science in order to enhance existing perspectives on policy transfer. In contrast to rational linear models of decision making, alternative recursive deliberate approaches are suggested throughout this work. The review also considers aspects of the author's work on integrated working or trans-professionalism in the public services. Those aspects of his work on policy theory which illuminate professional learning are critically assessed.
    • The LGBT+ Pupil as the Abject: An Ethnographic Exploration of Subjectivity and Discourse in UK Secondary Schools

      Moran, Paul; Wright, Anne-Marie; Clark, Natalie E. (University of Chester, 2018-11-22)
      According to many scholars, schools are the last bastion of permitted homophobia (Beadle, 2009; Grew, 2008; as cited in Formby, 2013). Primarily using the theories of Foucault, Kristeva and Butler, the thesis uses critical theory as a means to both understand and critically analyse the construction of subjectivity within and throughout discourse in the hetero-/cis-normative institution, and how this related to the potential abjection of LGBT+ pupils. Whilst it is agreed in this thesis that LGBT+phobia is still widespread in both schools and wider society, it was found in this research that the impact of direct LGBT+phobic discrimination was less evident. Instead, the discursive spaces where LGBT+phobia had been silenced were filled with hetero-/cis-normative discourse. Concomitantly, the impact of LGBT+ invisibility, the silencing of positive discourse surrounding sexuality and the institutional rejection of performative LGBT+phobia without cultural or organisational change meant there remained a negative impact on LGBT+ young people, despite a reduction in visible LGBT+phobia (DePalma and Atkinson, 2006/2010). Through the use of short vignettes taken from a period of ethnographic research, I have used discursive reflexivity to offer an alternative discourse surrounding the LGBT+ pupil in the school. In a thesis preoccupied with language, the institutional denial of appropriate language, the lack of positive space for LGBT+ young people to construct their identity and the potential risk of abjection from the hetero-/cis-normative institution are all highlighted as points for discussion. Viewed through a critical theory lens, the exemplars used to illustrate these complex theories are chosen from 72 workshops undertaken in schools with Year Nine pupils over a the 2015 to 2016 academic year in the Merseyside region, and also from self-identified LGBT+ young people (also in Year Nine during the academic year 2015 to 2016), who were part of discussions in an LGBT+ Youth drop in based in Liverpool city centre. Intertwining academic analysis and philosophical reflection, the research finds that not only is the LGBT+ pupil abject in the school, but this abjection is threefold. It is enacted by the institution, the peer group and by the internalised LGBT+phobia of the abjected pupil. In the conclusion, it is reflected upon how the impact abjection from school continues to affect LGBT+ people into adulthood.
    • The Neoliberal Educational “Imaginary” as experienced by a group of Primary School Headteachers

      Moran, Paul; Carr, Victoria L. C. (University of Chester, 2019-05-14)
      In this thesis I undertake a critical policy analysis in which I place education reform in the UK within the context of a changing social structure, transformed since the advent of neoliberalism in the 1970s, and examine the implications of reform on the role of primary school Headteachers. In particular, I situate my analysis within increased promotion of global economic competition and policy supported by neoliberal ideology in which the prevailing government seeks to retain legitimacy by claiming to institute reforms to improve education, whilst simultaneously reducing direct funding which is, in fact, destabilising it. Neoliberalism is a distinct political ideology that has flourished in the Western world over the last four decades and is based on theories of the free market; underpinned by economic efficiency, bureaucracy, rationality and measurable performativity. I look in detail at how the leadership of schools has changed, as a direct result of the implementation of new managerial instruments, and how resistance to these changes has been largely futile. Lacanian thinking would suggest that ideology which assumes education is a physical state that is inherently part of a democratic process, inextricably linked to politics, positively transformational and measurable, is in fact imaginary (Lacan, 2006). Our imaginary “order is embedded in the material word” and woven into the reality around us (Harari, 2012, p.127). It is within this ‘imaginary’ conceptualisation that my research is positioned. I present, and analyse, empirical data gathered from a number of primary school Headteachers from a range of contexts that outlines their lived experience as they attempt to navigate the, what could be described as, strongly surreal or ‘Kafkaesque’ (Löwy,1997) educational ‘imaginary’, as it is currently configured and, explore the efficacy of a forum that is used to support them as they therefore attempt the untenable. The significant issue of school context as an effect of how a school performs in testing regimes is substantial. It is clear that context greatly impacts on the extent to which Headteachers must shift their beliefs and practice to satisfy performative expectations. I conclude with an acknowledgement that to attempt to rationalise the educational ‘hyperreal’ without an appreciation of power and manipulation is impossible and, that the role of primary school Headteachers may only be plausible with the scaffold of forums such as the one examined within this research.
    • Understanding Creativity and Alienation in Language Teacher Education: a critical ethnographic study

      Hulse, Bethan (University of Chester, 2015-02)
      This research explores the processes of learning to teach Modern Languages (MLs) in the rapidly changing landscape of teacher education. It employs a postmodern critical ethnographic methodology (Lather, 1991) to examine the experiences of a group of student teachers and me, as their tutor, over the course of a one year PGCE programme. The focus is on how experiences in University and in School shape their emerging professional identities, in particular how these experiences encourage or discourage the development of a creative approach to the practice of language teaching. There is evidence which suggests that ML teaching is often mundane and does not inspire young people to study Languages (The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), 2011). However, the pressures of ‘performative’ requirements which privilege that which is measurable (Ball, 2003) act as a discouragement to creativity. This thesis finds that whilst student teachers express a desire to be more creative, they find it difficult to implement their ideas in School. I draw on postmodern interpretations of Marx and Freud to problematize the notion of ‘professional autonomy’ and to argue that the early formation of professional identity is a process of acquiescence to oppressive external structures over which individuals have no control, resulting in the alienation of the individual from the work they do. I also explore questions concerning the nature of subjectivity and the relationship between the individual and the external world through Romantic philosophy and poetry. As both subject and object of this ethnographic study, I employ a reflexive methodology to explore the evolution of my own professional identity. The critical narrative emerges from the data, which reveals how professional identities are simultaneously constructed and alienated.
    • Understanding ‘belonging’ among undergraduate residential students: A Lacanian perspective

      Garratt, Dean; Moran, Paul; Hughes, Delyth Ann (University of Chester, 2016-03-31)
      This thesis seeks to understand how the notion of belonging is experienced by undergraduate residential students. Framing the research against the influence of neo-liberal policy and practices, this study employs a phenomenological approach and theorises the data using a poststructural framework. Throughout the thesis aspects of Lacanian theory are utilised as an interpretive lens, chosen for its ability to reveal that which is usually concealed. Beginning with an exploration of the reasons that ‘belonging to a university community’ is of interest to higher education student support practitioners, I conclude that this is a result of the therapeutic culture we are currently experiencing in education, along with a need to bring together a heterogeneous group of students who do not seemingly ‘belong’ together. This need comes from a desire to maintain higher education in its position as an elite pursuit which guarantees a better life. Yet paradoxically, in the current economic context, the achievement of a degree qualification can no longer guarantee a better life. Notions of belonging and community are therefore argued to be important in this context, as they serve to retain students and meet government objectives (which are to increase the number of students in higher education, thus sustaining the UK’s edge in a competitive global market). The data from nine participant interviews is analysed and interpreted through a poststructural lens. A poststructural framework is chosen based on my own experiences as a practitioner in this field: that our student support interventions which aim to engender a sense of belonging and community in students are somewhat flawed. Thus, my aim in this thesis is to understand from the students themselves how they experience belonging and community, and in doing so, understand if our University practices have had a part to play in this. Data from participant interviews reveals the themes of ‘stories, memories and rituals’, ‘place and home’ and ‘social networks’ and these are analysed with specific reference to Lacanian psychoanalysis, along with other theorists where relevant. Lacan is chosen as aspects of his theory allow me to take account of unconscious human drives, therefore revealing more than language can alone, and providing a more holistic understanding of how the phenomena are experienced. This thesis concludes with a phenomenological description of belonging, which is a pastiche of my participants’ voices. From this I draw the conclusion that the notion of ‘belonging to a university community’ is largely fictive, and symptomatic of a neo-liberal influence. I contend that experiences related to me by the participants suggest that ‘belonging’ is experienced in a way which is independent of any university interventions, and that ‘community’ is not recognised by students as anything other than a familiarity with their surroundings. I end the thesis with recommendations for student support practitioners and with a reflection on my research journey.