Supporting the Fragile Learner
Project Title: ‘I’m confused’: supporting the fragile learner
The project aimed to consider two questions: first, what level of literacy and language support do trainee teachers require to complete a Certificate/Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (Cert Ed/PGCE); second, what level of support is appropriate for the level of the qualification? A qualitative and quantitative approach was used to explore these issues. Given the richness of data and feedback, a storytelling approach has been adopted. The structure of the report allows the tutors and trainers to tell the story in their own words.
The idea for this research and, indeed, the title for the project, arose from an email from a trainee with the subject “I’m confused.com”. In a different email, referred to in the report, another trainee vents his frustrations about not understanding a reading task. These incidents, together with how we have sometimes found ourselves ‘walking on egg shells’ when incidental comments have been misinterpreted by trainees (Brookfield, 1998) or feedback on their work has caused offence as it has ‘come across as a little bit sarcastic’ (see p9 below) could be interpreted as fragility by some trainees. However, we do not wish to label trainees ‘fragile’: like Eccelstone (2008), we recognise that such labelling might exacerbate trainees’ perceived barriers to academic study, so that support becomes focused on ‘emotional well-being’ (Ecclestone, 2008: no page), rather than on fostering independent learning in the spirit of higher education (HE). The report aims to decipher this perception of fragility from both trainee and tutor perspectives, in order to identify what support should be provided for trainees who have signed up for the HE experience.
See full report with reources I’m confused - supporting the fragile learner.pdf