Understanding presentation as a learning activity in Teacher Education

Performing the pre-formed: A multimodal take on presentation in teacher education

This PhD project is part of the IMTE project and is motivated by the common goal of conceptualising improvisation in different educational contexts.  Presentation, supported by PowerPoint, is the preferred mode of teaching in higher education, and it is prevalent in teacher education as well.    The study observes student-teacher’s presentations of various topics for their peer students. The aim is to analyse and understand this practice by approaching it from three different perspectives.

The first study applies a multimodal social semiotic framework and defines students’ actions when presenting as sign-making. Transcriptions of students’ presentations are analysed, and attention is paid to the pre-formed slides, their performance and to the inter-semiotic relations which can be identified between the slides and the performer during presentation. The outcome of the study is a model which maps the meaning making activities that such practice encompasses. The model is an amendment of the Learning Design Sequence, originally conceived of by Staffan Selander and Günther Kress (2008, 2010).

Having established that presentation is an activity which encompasses pre-formed elements which are performed, the subsequent study addresses the performative aspect in more detail. By adopting the jazz metaphor as a lens, theoretical devices from jazz theory are used for analysing the relationship between the constituent elements of slides and their performance. Slides are ‘thick’ or ‘thin’ in their constitutive properties and differ in terms of how much slack is left for the performer’s interpretation. The concepts of horizontal and vertical playing are adopted to study the very performance of slides. The outcome of the study is a model in terms of a double matrix which supports a reflection on what qualities of a presentation are aspects of the performer’s interpretation and what are aspects of the slides as such.

Acknowledging the gap between theory and practice in teacher education, the third study investigates what this gap might mean in terms of how student-teachers represent professional knowledge. The study maps students’ representations of knowledge in a double dichotomy that spans between the universal and local and the theoretical and procedural. The mapped knowledge landscape calls into question what epistemologies students encounter in and outside of campus during their education. A discussion follows on how the traditional gap between theory and practice can be understood when the representations of professional knowledge are made by teacher-students themselves.

The outcome of the study, are the following articles:

  • Kvinge, Ø., Smith, K. & Espeland, M. (in press). Performing the pre-formed: Towards a conceptual framework for understanding teaching as curricular transformation. Designs for Learning, Stockholm University  HVL
  • Kvinge, Ø. (2018). “Playin” the changes — A jazz approach to researching student-teachers’ PowerPoint presentations. Cogent Education 2018 ;Volume 5.(1) Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2018.1461046 HVL
  • Kvinge, Ø (2018). Teaching represented: a study of student-teachers’ representations of the professional practice of teaching. In Smith, K. : Norsk og internasjonal lærerutdanningsforskning : hvor er vi? hvor vil vi gå? hva skal vi gjøre nå?. Fagbokforlaget 2018 ISBN 9788245022599. s. 199-221 HVL

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