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    Is it what you know, who you know, or just ‘luck’? What are the experiences and challenges of Adult Educators having recently qualified from a university accredited post graduate teaching qualification in Further Education?


    McIntyre, Lisa Ann (2018) Is it what you know, who you know, or just ‘luck’? What are the experiences and challenges of Adult Educators having recently qualified from a university accredited post graduate teaching qualification in Further Education? Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Abstract

    This thesis is an inquiry into the experiences and challenges of Adult Educators (AEs) having recently qualified from a university accredited post-graduate teaching qualification in Further Education. It seeks to question the challenges faced by Newly Qualified Adult Educators (NQAEs) and look at their journey at the beginning of their careers. The language that surrounds the Adult/Further Education (AE/FE) sector is perplexing. To avoid uncertainty in this thesis, I will use the term Newly Qualified Adult Educator (NQAE) or Adult Educator (AE) when talking about my research population and topic (language will be discussed on p.14). The adult and further education (AE/FE) sector in Ireland has undergone a series of changes in recent years. The findings reveal a link towards austerity and the neo-liberal society we live in which contributes to the instability and precarious nature that comprises the AE/FE sector. This research will explore the policies surrounding the sector, those of which along with neo-liberalism, played a role in the professionalisation and quantifiable nature of adult education where outcomes and employability precede learners needs and wants. This thesis argues that both the socio-economic and policy context mentioned above contributed to the lack of permanent contracts, but abundance of short-term, zero-hour contracts, pay cuts, increased pressure on measuring outcomes and lack of job security to name a few. The framework for this thesis is based on the theories of Mezirow/Illeris and Noddings. Mezirow/Illeris allow the research to investigate transformative learning through the identity of an AE. This looks at where the individual fits into the collective and how a questioning of identity may arise in the beginning of the NQAEs career, where new experiences do not fit with the AEs beliefs and may cause a change of such beliefs. The findings show both an allowance for self-identity but a conformity to policy, where ‘ticking the boxes’ overrides the learners needs. This has a clear impact on AEs who strive to meet the learners needs. Noddings brings in the element of care that AEs feel for their learners. Care clearly underpins the work of AEs, where they want to make a difference in the lives of their learners. This research took a qualitative approach and is grounded in social constructivism with elements of autoethnography using vignettes to depict my own experiences beginning my career as a NQAE. The vignettes are conversations either in my own head or with others. The fieldwork was based on focus groups, semi-structured face-to-face, telephone and email interviews. The research shows that the beginning of a NQAEs career is a scary, unpredictable and unstable process which brings many challenges, but it also brings pleasure and enjoyment to anyone who truly cares about the learners of adult education. The dedication and challenging work of the participants and all educators shows testament to the wonders of becoming an AE, despite the intense precarity and countless challenges associated with it.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Additional Information: Submitted in part fulfilment of the requirements for the M.Ed in Adult and Community Education
    Keywords: experiences and challenges; Adult Educators; recently qualified; university accredited post graduate teaching qualification; Further Education; M.Ed in Adult and Community Education;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Adult and Community Education
    Item ID: 12237
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2020 17:14
    URI:

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