Further Education and the Twelve Dancing Princesses

June 2015
More details
  • Publisher
    Trentham Books
  • Published
    26th June 2015
  • ISBN 9781858566405
  • Language English
  • Pages 204 pp.
  • Size 6.125" x 9.5"
  • Images b/w photos

‘Cinderella’ is the dominant metaphor used to describe further education, but the book challenges this 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.

"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

Preface—Frank Coffield

Introduction: How Grimm is FE?—Joel Petrie

1) Why Teach? Not Afraid to Dance—Maire Daley
2) Teaching and ideology, or why aren't we all dancing? A personal view—Bea Groves
3) Critical pedagogy in FE—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?—Julie Hughes
5) Spaces to dance: community education—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—Matt O’Leary
7) Building Colleges for the Future: what the Ugly Sisters have to tell us about FE—Rob Smith
8) Reframing professionalism and reclaiming the dance—Dan Taubman
9) ‘The soldier danced with them unseen’: Managerial resistance and collusion in FE—Damien Page
10) Dancing in Plain Sight—Doug Rouxel
11) Action for ESOL: pedagogy, professionalism and politics—Rob Peutrell
12) Beyond the Metaphor: Time to take over the castle—Rania Hafez

Conclusion: Leading a merry dance through times of change and challenge—Yvonne Hillier

Coda: Writing as resistance—Kevin Orr


Maire Daley

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

Kevin Orr

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

Joel Petrie

Joel Petrie is a doctoral researcher at the University of Huddersfield.