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Showing posts from June, 2013

Supportive or responsible? Empathy or anxiety? How to support students without damaging our health

Rather randomly the other week, I happened to attend a research seminar on the effects of stress and 'burnout' in the workplace.  It was very interesting, and rather shocking to discover just what a problem it is.  However, I am grateful for the experience in another way: If I hadn't been, I might not have noticed how close I was to making myself rather unwell.

I am sure most, if not all of us know what it is like to feel stressed and over-worked (working on the assumption that this blog is least likely to ever be read by a Tory MP or Michael Wilshaw).  Certainly I have felt this before, and in a sense it is generally quite easy to deal with.  Getting over-worked means you get tired and grumpy, and this becomes so manifest that you quickly realise that it is time to get some sleep - or at the very least sit quietly in a corner somewhere until the steam stops travelling horizontally from your ears and your eyes un-cross.

More sinister though, is the kind of stress which you…

Who cares about 'Change'? Dealing with change for HE in FE

Today I am on my way to a meeting with the Higher Education Academy about their Paul Hamlyn Foundation-funded ‘Change Programme’. This programme is a response to the ‘What Works?’ report, that highlighted the centrality of student engagement and belonging to student retention and achievement.

The premise of the project, as far as I can make out, is to support and coordinate institutional research which could lead to interventions addressing the issues highlighted by the report.  These issues highlight the importance of increasing student 'belonging' to student success and retention.  They further highlight the need to identify effective strategies for increasing student engagement.  You can read a summary of the report findings here.
My institution is the only Further Education College involved in the project, despite the sector being a major provider of Higher Education in the UK. As Eve Rapley (2012) has shown:

HE in FE is a burgeoning sub-sector with 90% of FECs now deli…