The Institute for Learning (IfL) has announced a research project to help the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) prepare for an independent commission into adult education and vocational training.

The institute wants 100 of its members to complete “reflective diaries” which explain how they plan for classes, meet curriculum requirements and the needs of learners.

Lee Davies, deputy chief executive of the IfL,  said: “As the professional body for teachers and trainers, IfL is ideally placed to gain critical insight into vocational pedagogy from the perspective of teachers and trainers.

“Having long called for an independent inquiry into world-class teaching and training in our sector, we are very pleased that we can now offer our members the opportunity to shape the nature of the independent commission.

The project, titled ‘A week in the life of’, is asking specifically for teachers of engineering and motor vehicle engineering, hospitality and catering and business administration to volunteer to participate.

The IfL say they hope the diaries will show the challenges faced by vocational teachers and trainers in their day-to-day work.

“These reflective or descriptive diaries, which do not necessarily have to cover a calendar week, will capture the planning that goes into vocational teaching and training; the challenges a teacher or trainer faces in terms of addressing the curriculum and meeting the needs of learners; the pedagogy or approach to teaching and learning adopted; and general observations on teaching and training practice,” Mr Davies said.

The IfL will hold a number of regional seminars throughout February and March 2012  to discuss vocational pedagogy with teachers and trainers, including participants in the diary research project.

The institute will also ask students’ unions what they think good teaching and learning looks like, focusing on younger learners who have made the transition from school to further education.

The commission into adult education and vocational pedagogy was announced by BIS as part of a formal response to the New Challenges, New Chances consultation, titled “Further Education and Skills System Reform Plan: Building a World Class Skills System”.

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