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ERIC Number: EJ925031
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0309-877X
"Teaching" or "Support"? The Poisoned Chalice of the Role of Students' Skills Centres
Barkas, Linda Anne
Journal of Further and Higher Education, v35 n2 p265-286 2011
After the 1992 Further and Higher Education Reform Act enabled polytechnics and the qualifying franchised colleges to be renamed universities or higher education institutions, the dominance of the rhetoric of skill development aggravated long-standing schisms between further and higher education about whether or not degree-level courses should be available in further education. One aspect of these disagreements concerns the dominance of a skills deficit model and its influence in learning and teaching. This article draws on the findings of a study into the role of a Students' Skills Centre (SSC) in a post-1992 university. It focuses on how and why working in SSCs is envisaged as a subordinate function, as a "support" and not a "teaching" role. The research study utilised both quantitative and qualitative research methods in a case-study design to examine the nature of students' requests for help in an SSC. The article argues that academic skills, including writing, study and key skills, are more effective if taught in a subject/disciplinary-specific context. Hence, lecturers in the SSC had to provide intensive teaching, which, at the same time, also addressed this contextual dimension. This is a complex and highly specialised teaching process, yet, despite the yearly increase in numbers of students attending the centre for help, university managers and some academic staff refused to acknowledge the complexity of the nature of students' learning requirements or the teaching function of the role of lecturers working in the SSC. (Contains 2 figures and 2 tables.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Further and Higher Education Act 1992 (Great Britain)