This paper explores data from the UCU Further Education in England: Transforming Lives & Communities research project and through this develops a distinctive, theorised conceptualisation of transformative teaching and learning (TTL). Design/methodology/approach The research used an approach grounded in critical pedagogy utilising digital methods, including video’d interviews, to collect narratives from learners, teachers, family members and their communities from colleges across Britain. Findings Within a context in which there are structural pressures militating in favour of instrumentalising students in further education, TTL offers a way of theorising it as a transformative critical space that restores students’ hope and agency. The research provides evidence of how further education offers this “differential space” (Lefebvre 1991) and subverts the prescriptive, linear spaces of compulsory education. While productivist approaches to vocational education and training support ideologies that legitimate prescribed knowledge, reproducing inequality and injustice through the practices employed (Ade-Ojo and Duckworth 2016, Duckworth and Smith 2017b), TTL shifts to a more holistic approach, achieving a different level of engagement with learners. Practical implications The findings suggest that the TTL lens is a way of focusing on the dignity, needs and agency of further education students. The lens allows us also to identify how the existing structures associated with funding and marketisation can undermine the potential of TTL to activate students’ agency through education. Originality/value (mandatory) Extending on existing literature around transformative learning, and drawing on a range of theoretical frameworks, the article formulates a new, contextually specific conceptualisation of transformative teaching and learning.
- Critical pedagogy
- Further education
- Adult education
- Digital methodology
- Transformative teaching and learning