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There is an excellent blog called Dancing Princesses – in which colleagues in the FE sector are talking about, and doing, many of the things I have been discussing in relation to school teacher professionalism. They left this comment on my last blogpost, and I thought it was worth a blog in it’s own right . . .
Why did we set up Tutor Voices?
• Voice of democratic professionalism: To enable practitioners to have a strong, democratic, collective and autonomous professional voice on issues of practice and policy.
• Research and pedagogy: To encourage a network of practitioners and researchers committed to a culture of discussion, sharing, reflective inquiry and joint practice development informed by research and linked to policy.
• Champion sector: To defend and promote well-resourced vocational, academic and community-based education and comprehensive lifelong learning and education for democratic citizenship. To champion different types of knowledge (propositional, procedural, craft knowledge) and the three dimensions of professionalism (knowledge of subject; knowing how to teach it well and how students learn it; and involvement in local and national politics as they affect education as a whole).
• Influence Policy: To represent tutors on all government reforms effecting the professional lives of tutors.
• Releasing the creativity of all members: a creativity that has so far been stifled by government changes and managerial diktats.

Proposed founding principles:
1. Democratic: the association’s fundamental operating ethos will be democracy.
2. An ethic of professional service to students: our expertise in TLA will foster our students as independent, critical thinkers who are also active citizens in our democracy.
3. Inclusive: open to all sector practitioners, and interested HE researchers, HE FE teacher trainers etc.
4. Representative: whilst membership will be inclusive, democratic decision making processes and eligibility for elected posts will be solely open to professionals with substantive teaching roles.
5. Participatory: encourage engaged associates, and principally organised by lay activists.
6. Egalitarian: actively promote equality, with no grades of membership or patrons.
7. Transparent: establish electronic archives of all key association documents.
8. Independent: no government funding, and no formal links with any sector body or trade union.
9. Collaborative: committed to a culture of discussion, sharing, reflective inquiry and development informed by research and linked to policy.
10. Campaigning: with the professional knowledge and expertise to challenge college managements, sector bodies, and government.


In 2013 I was fortunate to have a visiting scholar from Turkey work with me at the University of Nottingham.  As with all such experiences, I learned a good deal.  In particular I gained a better understanding of the threats to democracy in Turkey at the current time, and the particular challenges for educators working in Turkish schools and universities.  I have blogged about my own experiences of visiting Istanbul, and seeing first hand how the police were being used to crush peaceful protest and dissent.  More recently, my friend and colleague from Turkey sent me the following material as a guest blog. Today, International Women’s Day, seems like a particularly apposite day to post it. Continue Reading…

Since my visit to Istanbul in September 2013, when I witnessed the democracy movement in Gezi Park and Taksim Square, I have taken a keen interest in the protest movements in Turkey.  In this guest blog academic colleague Kadir Beycioglu offers a personal insight into life in the country.  At the start of 2014 these protests were continuing, and these blog entries represent, in a modest way, a display of solidarity with those who are organising for democracy in Turkey today.


I live in Izmir, a city in the western part of Turkey, on the Aegean seaside. Known as Smyrna in ancient times, through history the city has been governed by Lydian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman and Turkish rulers. Not only Izmir, but also nearly all parts of Anatolia have witnessed many civilizations. In terms of debates on democracy, Anatolia could be respected as one of the vibrant lands since it was very close to the birthplace of the concept of dēmokratía. As an individual living in Minor Asia, I have been reminded of the central meaning of democracy on two specific occasions.

Continue Reading…