MANAGING UNCERTAINTIES IN DIDACTIC DESIGN
1 University of Macerata (ITALY)
2 University of Chieti-Pescara (ITALY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 17th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2023
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Due to the ecological, socio-political, and health crises (Obura, 2003) that increasingly affect 21st-century society, we have found ourselves in a climate dominated by uncertainty. Compared to the past, changes occur at such a speed as to make it impossible to crystallize routines and practices (Magnoler, 2017) which, on the contrary, need to be continually updated in order to respond effectively to emerging needs and the innovative drive that often follows. This issue affects professionals in the most diverse fields of knowledge, but is of particular relevance in the training of future teachers.
Considering uncertainty as a constitutive feature of contemporary society (Fishman and Dede, 2016; Rossi and Pentucci, 2020), we wondered how it could be possible to support future teachers in implementing quality and formative teaching in a climate dominated by several unexpected events and emergencies that impact on multiple dimensions.
To answer the research hypothesis, first of all, it was necessary to understand how the unexpected (Perrenoud, 1999) impacts the teaching action of future teachers, i.e. teachers in training who have not been explicitly trained to take the dimension of uncertainty into account when planning. In order to achieve this, we analyzed 266 documents in which the future teachers outlined a teaching session they had conducted as part of their traineeship. From this analysis, we isolated four dimensions on which the uncertainty primarily impacts.
- time, which may expand, shrink, or fragment;
- spaces, which may change not only within the physical dimension but also come to include digital spaces;
- activities, which may be eliminated, added to, or modified by the teacher in line with the emergence of the unexpected situation;
- the emotional sphere or the teacher's stress levels, which may greatly increase or be affected by the precariousness that uncertainty brings.
After analyzing and defining the areas in which the unexpected has the strongest impact during a teaching situation, we went on to study how future teachers, who had not been trained to recognize and take account of uncertainty in planning, react to the unexpected. Three attitudes emerged from their narratives to which the various experiences can be attributed: denying the unexpected, undergoing it, or managing it.
The data that emerged from the analysis of future teachers' narratives were re-read in the context of the literature on the topic of uncertainty. In particular, the study of the literature on uncertainty management (Ward et al., 2006) in fields other than education made it possible to reflect on the parallels between the management of unforeseen variables in educational designs and different kinds of projects. Based on the experimentation we conducted, a model was proposed to future teachers to consider whether a more complex design would allow a smoother management and execution of the proposed didactic activity and an improvement in the quality of the educational experience for all those involved. The research will continue by analyzing the data that will emerge thanks to the adoption of this new design model in conjunction with dedicated training on the uncertainty issue.
Keywords: Uncertainty, unexpected, future teachers, uncertainty management.