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Guidelines to better teaching;FE Focus

A PROGRAMME to spread good practice in teaching has been launched by the Further Education Development Agency.

The initiative, the first part of which is centred on English and communication, is needed, says FEDA, because teaching and learning is now more complex and demanding than ever before.

"The further education sector's recent history of incorporation and the consequent pressure of market forces have also made teachers feel increasingly isolated. In this time of fragmentation, competition and anxiety about every aspect of education, there is a real need to bring together teachers from the full range - school sixth forms, sixth-form colleges, tertiary colleges and FE colleges - to discuss the business of teaching and learning.

"A situation has somehow evolved in which there is not only a separation between these different kinds of providers, but also between post-compulsory teachers and their local authorities and professional associations."

The report, Spotlight on learning: English and communication, is not intended to be a teaching guide or textbook, says FEDA. It simply provides examples of success, and practising lecturers describe the issues and challenges they face in their teaching, how they approach them, and which methods work best.

For example, one college describes the problems when it was merging with other institutions "such as the communication gap between teachers and lecturers (you say 'students', I say 'FTEs', you 'give homework' we 'set assignments')." At times it felt we were in need of interpreters."

The report says that English is a buoyant area, where most staff are highly qualified and enthusiastic, and students tend to perform well at A-level.

But it also notes that some teachers spend too much time talking and not enough allowing students to express their own ideas. The choice of literature texts can be unimaginative or inappropriate.

Spotlight on Learning: English and Comunication, is available from FEDA Publications, Citadel Place, Tinworth Street, London SE11 5EH

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