10 SES 11 A, Differentiation, Performativity, and Gender Equality in Teacher Education
Mentoring during internship in teacher education is assumed to impact student teachers’ learning and professional development. When studying content and processes in mentoring conversations in two different settings analyses based on thin descriptions revealed that focus on doings were predominant at the cost of other categories in the material (Helgevold et al. 2014). This is consistent with other findings in studies of mentoring conversations during internship (Sundli 2001, Ottesen 2006), and researchers suggest that instead of being regarded as learners, student teachers are seen as deliverers of curriculum (Edwards and Protheroe 2003). In this presentation we will first outline how doings emerged through analyses of video-recorded mentoring conversations during internship by using an observation protocol (thin descriptions). Thereafter we will show how further analyses based on thick descriptions can illuminate the importance of doings in teachers’ work. Our research interest is related to why doings seemingly show to be an important aspect of teachers’ work, and we ask how doings are dealt with during the mentoring conversations and what the doings refer to explicitly and implicitly. Activity theory provides a framework for understanding human beings and their actions in the social world. Establishing action as the most important object of analyses in social science, Wertsch (1998) argues that such analyses attempts to account for complex human phenomena where it is made possible to link (not to reduce) one perspective to another through the concept of mediated action. The unit of analyses is then the persons - in – the - situation, and not the person as a separate entity (Havnes 2004). According to Havnes (2004, p. 162) the emphasis is thus on action patterns typical of specific social contexts. Individual actions should in this respect be understood as contextualized within certain historical, institutional and cultural activity systems where culture is seen as part of the individual, and not as an external force that either affords or constraints their actions. Work within this theoretical framework is used about all human activity and expresses motive for improving, developing or changing existing reality. Work is object oriented and always directed towards something or someone (Leontjev 2002). Teachers’ work is also an occupation, which means that certain societal expectations are expressed regarding purpose and performance of work. Performativity derives from the verb perform and denote execution of action and attempts to achieve results as intended or planned. Action in our presentation is restricted to how student teachers and their mentors talk about what to do or what they have done, and how the doings eventually are connected to other objects of work. The performativity of oral language is within the theoretical lenses thus aspect of the dialectics between thought and action (Vygotsky 1986) where mediating tools is a central concept and provides a framework for understanding the impact of language in learning to teach.
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