Teaching and Learning Scholar: Ruksana Patel

Ruksana Patel

Place of work: College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London

Role: Business Lecturer, Advanced Teacher (SET)

I have recently acquired an Advanced Teacher Status from SET and have been a practitioner researcher with SUNCETT. I have been working in FE for 10 years. I graduated in India with a degree in business. I relocated to the UK and worked as an accountant for some time. Alongside the line, I married had three children and was a housewife for 15 years. In 2009, I started my PGCE with the University of East London and started teaching in a local FE college. FE has been a force of change in my life.

FE gave me a platform to progress and develop my pedagogical skills. I believe that education can be perceived as a tool for social change, when the pedagogy lends itself to learning and development informed by reflective experience. I aspire to become a transformational leader in my institution, to live to my values and influence my learners with my words and action.

Research outline

‘Curriculum Design in FE: How can curriculum promote social justice and promote pedagogic rights of all learners’.


The aim of this research is to explore the question of what should inform the curriculum offered in a large FE inner City College in the South East of England. The aim of this research is to address issues and concerns in curriculum design, enable the team at the college to design and deliver a curriculum that captures students’ interest, drives recruitment and meets employer needs in the sector. This research is aimed to improve pedagogy, promote critical thinking and pedagogic rights (enhancement, inclusion and participation) of all learners.

The research questions emerged from the literature review into Freirean pedagogy, Stenhouse’s process model and Bernstein’s theory of Democratic education.

1. Curriculum: Curriculum design in FE does not take into account Freirean pedagogy and its behaviourist and outcome-based approach does not promote democratic education. This research will explore and make necessary recommendations.This research will inform pedagogical approaches that can be used in classrooms to ensure critical pedagogy is practised.

I aim to conduct this research to provide insights that can inform current pedagogical approaches and the observation process. The bursary will aid to cover my expenses for books and other resources that I may need.

I aim to use qualitative research approaches and will interview teachers, learners and managers. My aim is to identify pedagogical approaches that focus on ‘process’ and that promote inclusion and participation of all learners. From this, I will draw up recommendations for the senior management team.


Stenhouse. L (1968) The Humanities Curriculum Project, Journal Of Curriculum Studies, 1:1, 26-33

This article has been influential in my research. It discusses how objectives can be used as a stick to beat teachers. It also foregrounds the importance of considering a process model of curriculum.

Cormier,D.(2008) Rhizomatic  Learning Community as curriculum, Innovate journal of online education, 5(4),2.

(This article sees knowledge as co-created through negotiation due to the access of technology. Rhizomatic learning enables curriculum to be co-created by members in the community.

It also suggests that curriculum design is a social learning process and social media platforms have enabled ‘communities of practice’ which are influential for professional development, critical consciousness and enabling members to connect with current trends.

This journal echoes Paulo Freire’s influential book ‘The Pedagogy of the Oppressed’. Freire places emphasis on Dialogue and Freire’s pedagogy is based on ‘Conscientization and Praxis’ positioning teachers as critical co-investigators. Freire criticised the banking model of education whereby students are thought of as empty vessels. Freire favours an ‘emancipatory approach’ which entails critical reflection and praxis.

Rhizomatic knowledge creation puts emphasis on co-creation of knowledge through negotiation. Stenhouse stressed on the importance of ‘communities of practice’ and rhizomatic learning takes place in these communities of practice.