Research Paper Title
Professionalism and Practice: The Development of Situational Vocational Professional Identity Amongst UK Army Reserve Instructors.
This study addresses the concept of developing professionalism and its association with instructional practice. It was conducted against a backdrop of political change affecting the military and the vocational education sector between 2006 and 2014. The political decision to revitalise the Army Reserve will place the organisation under greater levels of scrutiny and is likely to result in an increased focus on professionalism. This may be directed at both individual and organisational levels thus understanding the perceptions from a practitioner level can inform future training and support.
A phenomenological framework was used to explore the perceptions individuals held about their professionalism. The study, conducted within the area of recruit training in the Army Reserve involved 8 participants who provided data through interviews and observations. Thematic analysis was used to explore the relationship between the role of the instructor and the controlling influences of the organisation. This relationship was considered in terms of the impact it may have on individual professional identity. The data provided an insight into personal constructions of professional identity viewed through a lens of social constructivism.
Emerging themes were drawn upon to create a representation of the concept of situational vocational professionalism where the different forces that influence the development of professional identity were identified. The investigation identified three interlinked areas of influence in developing individual concepts of professionalism, its meaning and how it is demonstrated through action. These areas contribute to a model of situational vocational professionalism.
The model suggests that it is insufficient to describe professionalism as a responsibility of the individual without understanding the impact that employers, sectorial governing bodies, and other stakeholders have on the opportunity for developing professional behaviour. The study has identified gaps between situational vocational professionalism and some of the published professional standards in education while drawing attention to the plurality of occupational experiences that may influence perceptions of professionalism.
Dynes, J. (2014) Professionalism and Practice: The Development of Situational Vocational Professional Identity Amongst UK Army Reserve Instructors. Doctoral Thesis. University of Brighton. Available from World Wide Web: http://eprints.brighton.ac.uk/13796/. [Accessed: 17 September, 2015].