In search of stability: women studying childcare in an English further education college

Wright, Hazel R. (2013) In search of stability: women studying childcare in an English further education college. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 37 (1). pp. 89-108. ISSN 1469-9486

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This paper demonstrates how women who study childcare achieve congruence in their lives. Rather than simply juggling the needs of family, work and study in order to escape the domestic sphere, they choose to minimise dissonance, finding that parenting children, working with children and studying children creates a stable framework with reciprocal rather than conflictual links. The framework is captured as a model of ‘integrated lives’ and, drawing on Amartya Sen’s capability approach, further conceptualised as an example of a capability set for childcare students. The pattern of drifting into childcare, representing the students’ choices, is made visible through the creation of a set of occupational typologies. Qualitative empirical evidence is used to explore the educational and broader social implications of integrating lives, and how this congruence encourages the uptake of new ideas as learning is multiply relevant. However, shortage of time causes students to modify their approach to learning, causing many who espouse liberal values to favour knowledge transmission over more demanding styles, attracted to the former’s apparent efficiency. Time constraints also encourage a retrospective acceptance of criterion-based assessment because fragmented knowledge is more easily manipulated when study patterns are sporadic and college work confined to those moments free from other commitments. The findings are discussed in relation to concerns that full-time students now need to undertake part-time work and introduce some interpretive detail to this debate.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: adult education, women’s education, work–life balance, childcare, capability approach
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Repository Admin
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2013 15:50
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 16:16

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