Further Education and the Twelve Dancing Princesses

Paperback / softback, 204 pages, 234 mm x 156 mm
1 May 2015
Trentham Books

Price: £24.99

‘Cinderella’ is the dominant metaphor used to describe further education, but this book challenges the deficit metaphor and replaces it with another of the Brothers Grimm’s tales, the ‘Twelve Dancing Princesses’. The twelve princesses escape from the room they are locked in to dance all through each night. As a metaphor for teaching in FE, this tale suggests the possibility of subversion, of autonomy in teaching and learning, and a collective rather than individualist notion of professionalism, even within repressive contexts.

Twelve chapters from twelve experienced practitioners suggest professional development that will culminate in a collective, celebratory alternative. They explore the professional aspirations and commitment to social justice of prospective teacher education students in spite of the current ideological context of FE. They argue for inspiration from critical pedagogy so FE can maintain transformative professional space. They explore the impact of technology on learning, and the physical spaces in which teaching and learning are situated. They challenge the prevailing managerialist use of lesson observation and the resistance and collusion of FE managers. And they propose a notion of professionalism that focuses on educational values rather than market forces.

This engaging, accessible and thought-provoking book is essential reading for teacher training courses, postgraduate students, sector researchers, and members of professional bodies and trade unions. If the sector is to be Grimm, asserts this inspirational collection, it should be so on our own terms: powerful, democratic and professional.

  • Maire Daley

    Maire Daley is the former Programme Leader for Teacher Education at the City of Liverpool College.

  • Kevin Orr

    Kevin Orr is Reader in Work and Learning at the University of Huddersfield.

  • Joel Petrie

    Joel Petrie is Advanced Lecturer for Higher Education at the City of Liverpool College.

  • Gemma Breed

    Gemma Breed is programme leader of a Higher National Certificate in Dance at the City of Liverpool College.

  • Frank Coffield

    Frank Coffield was formerly a Professor of Education at the University of Durham and the Institute of Education, University of London.

  • Beatrix E. Groves

    Beatrix E. Groves taught in adult and further education for over thirty years, and is a former President of the Institute for Learning.

  • Rania Hafez

    Rania Hafez is senior lecturer in Education at the University of Greenwich and visiting research fellow at the universities of Derby and Buckinghamshire New.

  • Yvonne Hillier

    Yvonne Hillier is Professor of Education at the University of Brighton.

  • Julie Hughes

    Julie Hughes is Head of Department for Post-Compulsory Education at the University of Wolverhampton.

  • Rebecca Maxted

    Rebecca Maxted is Head of Chapeltown Academy sixth form college in Sheffield.

  • Lou Mycroft

    Lou Mycroft teaches at the Northern College, Barnsley, where she developed the TeachNorthern model of Social-Purpose Education.

  • Matt O'Leary

    Matt O’Leary is principal lecturer and research fellow in Post-Compulsory Education in the Centre for Research and Development in Lifelong Education (CRADLE) at the University of Wolverhampton.

  • Damien Page

    Damien Page is Head of Department of Education and Community Studies at the University of Greenwich.

  • Rob Peutrell

    Rob Peutrell is an ESOL and language support teacher at Central College Nottingham.

  • Doug Rouxel

    Doug Rouxel is lecturer in Music Technology at Staffordshire University.

  • Rob Smith

    Rob Smith is a principal lecturer in Post-Compulsory Education in the School for Education Futures at the University of Wolverhampton.

  • Wesley Storey

    Wesley Storey is a photographer specializing in documentary photography and informal portraiture. His photographs were published in 'In the Footsteps of Giants' (Liverpool University Press, 2012).

  • Dan Taubman

    Dan Taubman retired from his post as Senior National Education Official with NATFHE and UCU at the end of 2013.

  • Jane Weatherby

    Jane Weatherby is a Development Worker and Tutor Organizer at the Northern College in Barnsley.

CONTENTS: Preface by Frank Coffield; Introduction: How Grimm is FE?, by Joel Petrie; 1. Why Teach? Not Afraid to Dance, by Maire Daley; 2. Teaching and ideology, or why aren't we all dancing? A personal view, by Bea Groves; 3. Critical pedagogy in FE, by Rebecca Maxted; 4. Frivolity as resistance? What do the dancing princesses and their shoes that were danced to pieces tell us about risk taking and the potential for pedagogic bungee jumping in FE classrooms?, by Julie Hughes; 5. Spaces to dance: community education, by Jane Weatherby and Lou Mycroft; 6. Breaking free from the regulation of the State: the pursuit to reclaim lesson observation as a tool for professional learning in FE, by Matt O’Leary; 7. Building Colleges for the Future: what the Ugly Sisters have to tell us about FE, by Rob Smith; 8. Reframing professionalism and reclaiming the dance, by Dan Taubman; 9. ‘The soldier danced with them unseen’: Managerial resistance and collusion in FE, by Damien Page; 10. Dancing in Plain Sight, by Doug Rouxel; 11. Action for ESOL: pedagogy, professionalism and politics, by Rob Peutrell; 12. Beyond the Metaphor: Time to take over the castle, by Rania Hafez; Conclusion: Leading a merry dance through times of change and challenge, by Yvonne Hillier; Coda: Writing as resistance, by Kevin Orr; Index

'There is not a lot of dancing in FE these days. Neoliberal practices bite deep into the experience of teachers and students, creating much anxiety and unhappiness. This book both reflects and refuses such unhappiness and offers a playful but very serious view of what might be done differently. Using fairy tales and dance to represent FE as a space of struggle and of possibility the book will energize and inspire readers with stories of creativity, resistance and imagination. Such times call for such books – and perhaps the twelve princesses will not have to dance in secret for much longer!'

Stephen J. Ball, Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology of Education, UCL Institute of Education

'Marrying personal narratives with research into students' and colleagues' experience, the book draws the reader into reflection on the past and future of further education. It provokes, inspires and renews commitment to the values which draw people to further education. All those who care about the sector should read it.'

Professor Jacky Lumby, University of Southampton

'How refreshing to read such a provocative, thoughtful and highly original book from FE professionals who value and champion their work - and FE - amidst increasing pressures and restrictions. The twelve chapters, each written by a dancing princess, provide principled, passionate discourse and authentic protest - mature dissent - ranging from "angry and defiant to hopeful and heartening". I hope this book opens a new level of debate, understanding, synergy, practice and thought leadership between FE staff and FE leaders (at every level). It highlights the need to challenge the prevailing political and neoliberal paradigms which restrict our educational ideals and possibilities. I hope many, many people in FE - and elsewhere - read, engage and dance.'

Dr Lynne Sedgemore CBE, Executive Director, 157 Group of FE Colleges

'These 12 Dancing Princesses have authored a series of protest songs, history lessons and love letters to the sector. The book documents the everyday struggles teachers working in the sector face, provides inspirational stories of courage and resistance in the face of managerialism, explores the notion of democratic professionalism and how those working in the sector might reconstruct their profession. It is a rallying cry for collective action and public protest by those who work in the sector and are committed to an active and democratized profession. This is a must-read for students of education, trainee teachers, experienced teachers, teacher educators, managers and principals.'

David Powell, Director, The Education and Training Consortium and HUDCETT

'This wonderful book deliberates on how to put the joy back into teaching and, thereby, increase the passion for learning in students ... An inspiring pedagogy of resistance is emerging here. It's a fertile process where campaigners make excellent educators. And, since resistance is the secret of joy, cast your dancing spell my way. I promise to go under it.'

Paul Mackney, General Secretary, Natfhe/UCU 1997-2007

'This is a cracking book, and anyone who loves what FE at its best can be and do will find it both inspirational and useful ... its main purpose is to intervene and breathe fire into the current debate over FE in England, and in this it succeeds admirably.'

John Field, Journal of Vocational Education & Training, Vol. 67, No. 4, 597-598