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Uncovering the Melt: Results from an Action-Oriented Learning Study on Welding in Vocational Education
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Educational Studies (from 2013).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2231-6386
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Educational Studies (from 2013).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3440-8074
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Educational Studies (from 2013).
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This presentation reports some preliminary resultsfrom the ongoing study Learning to weld in vocational education, funded by the Swedish Institute for Educational Research, with the overall aim to examine the relation between teaching and learning in vocational education with a specific focus on learning to weld. The study is conducted as an action-oriented learning study in which two university based researchers collaborate with a vocational teacher at an upper secondary vocational school, and it responds to the request for more practice-based school research aiming for developing teacher’s teaching on a scientific basic (cf Brante et al, 2015; Carlgren, 2017; Lo, 2014; Postholm, 2018;SFS 2010:800). Action-oriented learning studies in iterative circles, where teachers themselves have been involved in formulating the research questions, and where there is a strong focus on the object of learning (what the students are supposed to learn) have been proven to be effective approaches in which teachers can change and develop their teaching practices and their professional learning, based on a theoretical framework (Brante et al., 2015; Pang & Ling, 2012). Hence, learning studies have been emphasised as a solid base for teachers’ professional development as well as improving students’ learning (Pang & Ling, 2012). Learning studies have also been proven to be a fruitful tool for implementing and increasing our understanding of the use of theory in practice, but according to Lo (2012) there is a need to conduct learning studies in more subject areas than what has previously been done. One of these research fields where there is a lack of learning studies and where research that has a specific focus on learning content is sparse is within the field of vocational education. This is something that we will focus on in this presentation, in which we will highlight results from the process of three iterative cycles in which theories gradually have been incorporated in the teacher’s didactical approach when teaching how to TIG-weld.

In the study, the teaching, as well as the research, is planned, conducted and analysed in three iterative cycles inspired by the Learning study method (cf. Pang & Ling, 2012), and is based on two theoretical frameworks; Conversation Analysis (CA) (cf. Sidnell & Stivers, 2013), and Variation Theory (VT) (cf. Marton & Tsui, 2004). Our approach is in line with the content-centered CA-studies that aim to capture interactional practices linked to learning a specific content or practice (cf. Rusk et al., 2015). This means that our focus in our study is on how the teacher and the students orient to the specific object of learning (OoL) of how to TIG-weld, and how the teacher and students adapt and change their participation in the unfolding interaction regarding how to TIG-weld, and where the VT can help us examine the enacted OoL in great detail. 

The specific aim with this presentation is to examine how the teacher is orienting towards the learning content by exemplifying one of the critical aspects of the OoL – the melt - when teaching how to TIG-weld during the process of three iterative cycles. Through concrete empirical examples from video recorded lessons we will explore not only how the theoretical perspectives (Conversation Analysis and Variation Theory Analysis; which we have chosen to term CAVTA) can be used together and integrated in practice when analysing the teaching and interaction, but also how these theories can be used as didactical tools for teachers when planning, executing, and evaluating their own teaching.

Method

Our study is based on a close collaboration between two university based researchers, and one vocational teacher at an upper secondary school. The teaching that the vocational teacher conducts is planned, executed, and analysed in three iterative cycles, inspired by the Learning study method (cf. Kilbrink et al., 2014; Pang & Ling, 2012). Usually, a learning study has its theoretical base in the variation theory and a key feature in the method is the strong emphasis on the learning content (referred to as the object of learning). In a Learning study, the teaching of this OoL should be planned, executed and analysed in specific steps in iterative cycles; pre-testing, planning, teaching, post-testing, analysing and revising (Ko, 2018). In our study, however, the pre- and post-testing has been removed, and instead a CA approach has been added to the variation theory in order to analyse how welding competences are displayed, developed and learned in the actual teaching situations. Approaching the data from a CA’s understanding of participation and social organisation can help us explore the learning processes that take shape in the interaction from an emic perspective (Duranti, 1997). Furthermore, CA can also add another dimension of how the OoL can be varied in the interaction between the teacher and students when using different semiotic resources (cf. Asplund & Kilbrink, 2018; Kilbrink & Asplund, 2018). The teaching that has been conducted in the study has been planned by the teacher, in dialogue with researchers, and each cycle lesson (with three focus students participating in each cycle) has been video recorded. These recordings have been analysed by the researchers at a primary stage, then analysed by the researchers and the teaching vocational teacher together. Based on these analyses, primarily based on a CAVTA perspective, the teacher, together with the researchers, worked on new teaching strategies that were to be incorporated into the teacher’s didactic approach towards cycle 2. In the second and third cycle this process was repeated. In this presentation, based on the outcomes of these three cycles of teaching how to TIG-weld, we will focus on the teaching and learning processes that take shape when the teacher and students orient towards the melt as a critical aspect when teaching and learning how to TIG-weld.

Expected Outcomes

Through the detailed analysis of the interaction that take shape in the teaching, we can identify concrete changes in the teacher’s teaching when CAVTA is gradually incorporated into the teacher’s didactic approach. For example, we can see how the teacher, together with the students, through the simultaneous use of different semiotic resources actively works to try to establish a common understanding of what content is to be learned and how it should be learned (cf. Kilbrink & Asplund, 2018). The study’s approach also enables a teaching method where parts of a subject-specific content increasingly is made explicit during the course of the study and validated in the interaction, there and then. More precisely, in our presentation we will show how these processes are something that take shape in relation to the teacher’s and students’ orientation towards the melt, which in the interaction there and then, is made into a temporarily subordinate object of learning. The critical aspects of the melt are then oriented to and verbalised. We believe that our approach can lead to a development where we can find forms for teaching where specific subject content within vocational education - content which is sometimes a bit carelessly discussed in terms of “tacit knowledge”- not only can be communicated and made visible to both teachers and students in interaction here and now, but also made precise. Thus, our findings suggest that our approach is fruitful in order to develop the teaching, and it offers opportunities for methodological innovation.

References

Asplund, S-B., & Kilbrink, N. (2018). Learning how (and how not) to Weld: Vocational Learning in Technical Vocational Education. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 62(1) 1-16. Brante, G., Holmqvist Olander, M., Holmquist, P-O., & Palla, M. (2015). Theorising teaching and learning: pre-service teachers’ theoretical awareness of learning. European Journal of Teacher Education, 38(1) 102-118. Carlgren, I. (Ed.) (2017). Undervisningsutvecklande forskning: exemplet Learning study. Malmö: Gleerups. Duranti, A. (1997). Linguistic anthropology. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Kilbrink, N., & Asplund, S. B. (2018). “This angle that we talked about”: learning how to weld in interaction. International journal of technology and design education, 1-18 (doi: 10.1007/s10798-018-9490-z Kilbrink, N., Bjurulf, V., Blomberg, I., Heidkamp, A., & Hollsten, A. C. (2014). Learning specific content in technology education: learning study as a collaborative method in Swedish preschool class using hands-on material. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 24(3), 241-259. Ko, P. Y. (2018). Beyond labels: what are the salient features of lesson study and learning study? Educational Action Research (doi: 10.1080/09650792.2018.1530126). Lo, M. L. (2012). Variation theory and the improvement of teaching and learning. Göteborg: Acta universitatis Gothoburgensis. Marton, F. & Tsui, A.B. (Eds.) (2004). Classroom Discourse and the Space of Learning, Lawrence Erlbaum, Mahwah, N.J. Pang, M. F., & Ling, L. M. (2012). Learning study: Helping teachers to use theory, develop professionality and produce new knowledge to be shared. Instructional Science, 40(3), 589–606. Postholm, M. B. (2018). Teachers’ professional development in school: A review study. Cogent Education, 5(1), 1-22. Rusk, F., Pörn, M., Sahlström, F., & Slotte-Lüttge, A. (2015). Perspectives on using video recordings in conversation analytical studies on learning in interaction. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 38(1), 39-55. Sidnell, J. & T. Stivers (Eds.) (2013). The Handbook of Conversation Analysis. Oxford, U.K.: Wiley‐Blackwell.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
CAVTA, Conversation Analysis, Variation Theory, Learning, Vocational Education
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Educational Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-74776OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-74776DiVA, id: diva2:1351823
Conference
European Conference on Educational Research - ECER 2019, "Education in an Era of Risk – the Role of Educational Research for the Future", September 3-6, Hamburg, Germany
Projects
Konsten att lära sig svetsa
Funder
Swedish Institute for Educational Research, 2017-00056Available from: 2019-09-16 Created: 2019-09-16 Last updated: 2019-09-19Bibliographically approved

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