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Learning for work

The dominant focus upon learning of the GLACIER site is upon learning at work, but workplace learning also has a relationship to prior and continuing learning within formal educational settings, especially but not exclusively that learning that has an explicit concern with learning for work. One of the central findings of TLRP was that in many formal education and training settings a learning-centred rhetoric could actually be less helpful to promoting learning compared to a strategy that emphasised the central importance of learner/tutor relationships in supporting learning.

In further education the Policy, Learning and Inclusion in the Learning and Skills Sector project researchers signal the limitations of the dominant 'images' that government has of putting teaching, learning and assessment at the heart of the Learning and Skills Sector as these involve a narrow conception of learning and skills. The idealisation of learner agency lacks an appreciation of the pivotal role of the learner/tutor relationship and a top-down view of educational change. The quality of interaction of tutors and students is also vital for adult learners. The paper by Karen Evans and Natasha Kersh (2004) Recognition of tacit skills and knowledge: sustaining learning outcomes in workplace environments highlights the key role played by tutor-learner interaction in building learners' confidence as they prepared to re-enter the labour force: 'What is successful in one case may not be very successful in another case, but success is generally associated with a relational emphasis in the learning and teaching approaches used. For example, in Helen’s case, one-to-one tutorial help was the method employed by the tutor in order to identify and make her skills 'more visible' in the context of the course. Helen said that the fact that her tutor spent some time helping her encouraged her a lot.' (p. 66).

In higher education too the interaction between tutors and learners can be crucial. The Learning to Perform project highlighted how in music many students also teach. Their project paper The young instrumental teacher: learning to teach music while a student at a conservatoire recounts how many conservatoire undergraduates, who are already established as young musicians, are also often already experienced as instrumental teachers. Indeed they both expect and hope to include instrumental teaching in their career, consider that teaching will improve their playing, and think that they need to be trained as teachers, as they do not think that good performers always make good teachers. Many students look forward to working out how to improve their teaching and seeing their students progress, and want their lessons to be fun.

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