Understanding communication space through instructor use of tools: A two study exploration of the dynamic relationship between instructional engagements and tools of coordination
David John Petroski, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick, United States
Doctor of Philosophy, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick . Awarded
This dissertation explores the utility of the concept of communication space for understanding the dynamic relationship between features of classrooms and the instructional engagements that occur within those settings. Drawing upon a constitutive approach to communication theory, communication space, as a construct, is the system of interaction that is formed by and surrounds engagement between actors in an encounter. Two specific aspects of communication are investigated in relation to the classroom environment. First, it is suggested that the pre-existing architecture of a classroom will impose a “sense of place” on an encounter, providing instructors and students with situation markers that guide (or coerce) them in forming a framing definition. Second, as an instructional encounter progresses and attention becomes focused, features of the environment are co-opted by instructors into the engagement to facilitate and control the flow of interaction.
Two studies are reported. The first uses a data collection instrument developed for this project, the Classroom Profile Instrument (CPI), to investigate the pre-existing classroom arrangement. The instrument was tested and used to collect data on a single lecture hall. The data was then used in an interpretive analysis of the room's arrangement to identify influential discourses conveyed through the features present. The second study employs interpretive microanalysis to explore an unfolding learning space for a videotaped lecture hall class session. Natural history mappings, both in the form of textual transcript and visual maps, provide an overview of the tool use activity of a team of three instructors. Through the examination of the recording, the notion of a tool is problematized as a means of coordinating the common space of attention by the instructors. Five issues of coordination are specifically discussed that reveal the ways in which tools dynamically shape the space of instruction and provide a sense of cohesion (i.e., flow) between moments of engagement between the instructors and students.
Petroski, D.J. Understanding communication space through instructor use of tools: A two study exploration of the dynamic relationship between instructional engagements and tools of coordination. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick.
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