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Using the typology of teacher power and control (TTPC) to explore emergent practice in a new innovative learning environment
Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Pedagogiska institutionen.ORCID-id: 0000-0001-8670-9958
Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Pedagogiska institutionen.ORCID-id: 0000-0002-3643-4535
Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Pedagogiska institutionen.ORCID-id: 0000-0002-5251-0374
2023 (Engelska)Ingår i: ECER 2023: Programme, EERA , 2023, artikel-id 56232Konferensbidrag, Muntlig presentation med publicerat abstract (Refereegranskat)
Abstract [en]

This paper reports on a school development project of an innovative learning environment (ILE). Staff and pupils from two traditionally build corridor schools have merged into a new build school, whose architecture is described as new, innovative, modern, and flexible (OECD, 2017). Instead of having one classroom with a standardised size of 60m2, the ILE consists of different rooms both regarding size and furniture. Another change was that teachers had to be prepared to go from the traditional practice of individually teaching a class with approx. 25 students to the practice of team teaching with 2-5 teachers teaching a whole grade with approx. 60-100 students. The narrative of the project focused on the shift from teacher-centred teaching to student-centred learning, which in previous research have been a challenge due to well established teacher-centred methods (Cardellino & Woolner, 2019; Sigurdadottir & Hjartson, 2016; Gislason, 2010). 

The present research project started two years before the teachers moved into the new ILE. During these two years, school leaders prepared teachers for the new practice. Among these preparatory activities, one core activity consisted of prototype ILE classrooms where teachers could practice student-centred learning methods. In our research, the materiality of the new classroom and teachers’ played-out practice are operationalised as two dimensions (Bergström & Wiklund-Engblom, 2022; Bergström, 2019). The first, a vertical dimension, concerns preconditions of the physical learning environment embodied through the arrangement of desks, use of teachers’ and students’ areas, relations between learning resources, and selection of software applications. The second, a horizontal dimension, includes teachers’ communication in practice pertaining to their selection of content, sequence, pace, and speech space (cf. Bernstein, 2000). The combination of the two dimensions creates a theoretical framework for an ecology of teacher practice as an “emergent phenomenon” (Carvalho & Yeoman, 2018, p. 5). This is an illustrative metaphor for the practice that emerge in teacher preparation for teaching in an ILE.

The aim of this study is to examine and unpack emergent and varying practices in the prototype classrooms with regard to the two dimensions. The following research questions were asked: 1) What variations in teachers played-out practice emerge from teachers’ organisation of the classroom space and communication in practice? 2) How can the teachers’ reasoning further explain the variation of these emergent ILE practices?

Theory: One outcome of our prior studies is the development of a new theory-driven analysing tool, the Typology of Teacher Power and Control (TTPC) (e.g., Bergström & Wiklund-Engblom, 2022, Bergström, 2019), constructed from Bernstein’s (2000) theory of power and control. In the vertical dimension of the TTPC-typology, Bernstein’s relative concept of classification is used to analyse how power emerge from the relationship between objects in the classroom. In short, strong classification keeps things apart, which indicates a strong symbolic power relationship. The opposite is true for weak classification. For example, desks in rows keep students apart and indicates a strong classification and teachers’ power. In the horizontal dimension of the TTPC-typology, Bernstein’s relative concept of framing is used to analyse how control emerge from teachers’ communication in practice. Framing is also a relative concept on a scale from strong to weak. Stronger framing indicates that the teacher has more control in the communication, while weaker framing indicates increased student control. Framing is operationalised as the variation of selection, sequence, pacing, evaluation, and teacher-student and student-student communication. Hence, the concepts of framing and classification represent the two dimensions, which construct a two-dimensional matrix illustrating the emerging teaching practices in the prototype classrooms.

Method: We adhere to a convergent mixed methods design where two types of data (classroom observations and retrospective teacher interviews) were integrated through several steps of analysis, data transformation, and integration (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2018; Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004; Bazeley and Kemp, 2012). The rationale for the approach is that observational data, representing objective, formative data, shows the reality of the classroom activities, while the teacher interview data, representing subjective, formative data, provides insights into how teachers’ beliefs and attitudes relate to the choices made in their teaching practice (Bergström & Wiklund-Engblom, 2022). Thus, the use of both observational data and interview data aims for an integration analysis in which conclusions are drawn based on a broader explanation of the variations found in the emergent teacher practice.The classroom observations were conducted from three prototype learning environments in School A, B, and C. School A is a grade 6-9 school where teachers (N=4) were observed during five lessons. School B is a grade 1-6 school where teachers (N=3) were observed during five lessons. School C is a grade 1-6 school where teachers (N=2) were observed during four lessons. During the observations, the teachers’ communication was recorded and field notes and photographs were taken. The recorded material ranges between 20 and 60 minutes. The retrospective interviews (N=10) comprise nine individual teacher interviews and one group interview with the two teachers at School C. These semi-structured interviews included two themes: the physical learning space and teachers’ communication in practice. The audio recordings from both the classroom observations and teacher interviews were transcribed verbatim.In the first main step, the transcripts and the fieldnotes from the classroom observations were analysed using the TTPC typology as it specifically targets variations in teacher-centred teaching and student-centred learning, i.e., to what extent teachers maintain or distribute power and control in played-out practice. Furthermore, in addition to exploring how typologies vary, we also explore why this could be based on the interview data. Accordingly, an integrative analysis was conducted with the TTPC clusters and teacher interviews by using crosstab queries in the QSR NVivo software.

Exected outcomes: The findings will be presented in two phases pertaining to the two research questions. Firstly, the results regarding variations in teachers played-out practice, are based on a quantification of the observational data and teacher audio recordings. Thereafter, a quantitative analysis using the TTPC framework identified clusters of teacher practice. The preliminary analysis indicate three clusters: i) teacher power and control, ii) mixed distribution of power and control, and iii) student power and control. These clusters are plotted in the TTPC-matrix as a visual summary where each teachers’ emergent practice can be identified. In these preliminary findings, we can see that only one teacher is found in the first cluster pertaining to teacher power and control. This cluster is defined by a strong distinction between a majority of the seven subcategories of the classroom organisation. Hence, this teacher had refurnished the classroom space back to a traditional classroom setting. Furthermore, the teachers’ communication was based on strong control in all six control categories. Moreover, the preliminary analysis indicates that the majority of the teachers are located in the second cluster pertaining to mixed distribution of power and control. Such practice is defined by a blurred distinction between the categories of classroom organisation, as well as the categories of teacher control in their communication.Secondly, in our aim to answer the second research question, the interview data will be analysed using thematic analysis. We expect to find themes related to the physical learning space of the prototype classrooms and other themes on influencing factors regarding teachers’ communication. We expect to find connections between teacher beliefs and choices made in their played-out practice by using both types of data in an integrative analysis.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
EERA , 2023. artikel-id 56232
Nyckelord [en]
Innovative learning environment, prototype classrooms, power and control, mixed methods, TTPC framework
Nationell ämneskategori
Pedagogik
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-214637OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-214637DiVA, id: diva2:1799170
Konferens
ECER 2023, European conference on educational research, Glasgow, UK, August 22-25, 2023
Tillgänglig från: 2023-09-21 Skapad: 2023-09-21 Senast uppdaterad: 2023-09-22Bibliografiskt granskad

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Bergström, PeterWiklund-Engblom, AnnikaLindfors, Maria

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