Investigating Impressions of Flow for Inclusive Teaching: An Explorative Phenomenological Case Study Applied To Irish Preservice Teachers

Proceedings of The 5th International Academic Conference on Education, Teaching and Learning

Year: 2022

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Investigating Impressions of Flow for Inclusive Teaching: An Explorative Phenomenological Case Study Applied To Irish Preservice Teachers

Michael Flannery

 

ABSTRACT: 

Inclusive teaching can be challenging for teachers. Low inclusive teaching self-efficacy impedes teachers’ abilities to differentiate while others feel frustrated that they are not differentiating as they would like. The literature indicates that differentiation mainly focuses on content dilution or task simplification as opposed to increasing the challenge for an abler learner or considering differentiation alternatives including resource, support, pace or dialogue. ‘Flow’ theory posits that learners are happiest when they are learning in a state of concentration and complete absorption during which time they feel, think and perform their best. To facilitate flow state amongst learners, teachers need to balance the challenge of the task with the skill level of their learners, echoing a key principle of differentiated teaching. This explorative phenomenological case study investigates impressions of ‘flow’ from eightysix preservice teachers with regard to patterns of similarity and difference. It explores whether flow facilitation can be an additional choice for differentiation or factor in Universal Design for Learning. Following the practice of époche in phenomenological research, the researcher describes his own experiences of, and ideas about flow before data analysis. Research methods included semiotic thematic, content and comparative analytical analysis of visual data. Six themes emerged in relation to openness, certainty, layering and unearthing, dynamism, pattern and control in flow. Ten flow impression categories were identified. While acknowledging the study’s limitations in terms generalisability, the findings suggest that flow could be another lens and tool for classroom differentiation or Universal Design for Learning.

keywords: Differentiation, Phenomenology, Universal Design for Learning, Visual methods.