Learning a practice through practise: presenting knowledge in doctoral spoken presentations

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Studies in Continuing Education, 2017, 39 (3), pp. 235 - 250
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Learning to ‘become doctor’ requires PhD candidates to undertake progressive public displays–material and social–of knowledge. Knowledge in doctoral pedagogy is primarily realised textually, with speaking and writing remaining as the primary assessment rubrics of progress and of the qualification. Participating textually begins, in a public sense, with the Confirmation of Candidature presentation/paper and culminates in a Viva Voce/dissertation. Drawing on linguistic ethnographic observations and analyses, this paper uses practice-based perspectives to examine a doctoral candidate practising to present knowledge publicly in a university research centre. The paper focuses on sociomaterial shifts in the trial run and final delivery of the two presentations examining how the candidate is initiated into new actions in response to these changes. Findings reveal how the candidate engages with collective understandings of the practice of presenting knowledge provided by feedback from her doctoral ‘friends’. Learning a practice through practise highlights the importance of participating as learning and learning as participating. This is particularly so in a time of change for doctoral pedagogy, when honing a practice collectively is argued to be advantageous in a localised setting that recognises and fosters the benefits of participation.
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