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'The heart of what we do': Policies on teaching, learning and assessment in the learning and skills sector

Finlay, Ian J. and Spours, Ken and Steer, Richard and Coffield, Frank and Gregson, Maggie and Hodgson, Ann (2007) 'The heart of what we do': Policies on teaching, learning and assessment in the learning and skills sector. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 59 (2). pp. 137-153. ISSN 1363-6820

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Abstract

One of the stated aims of government policy in England is to put teaching, training and learning at the heart of the learning and skills system. This paper provides a critical review of policies on teaching, learning and assessment in the learning and skills sector over the past five years. It draws upon data collected and analysed in the early stages of an ESRC-funded Teaching and Learning Research Programme project.1 Using evidence from policy sources, we argue that despite policy rhetoric about devolution of responsibility to the 'front line', the dominant 'images' that government has of putting teaching, learning and assessment at the heart of the learning and skills sector involves a narrow concept of learning and skills; an idealization of learner agency lacking an appreciation of the pivotal role of the learner-tutor relationship and a top-down view of change in which central government agencies are relied on to secure education standards.