Spontaneous questioning in video-enhanced training situations: two case studies involving contrasted contexts of professional practice

Empirical studies
By Vincent Alonso Vilches, Dominique Verpoorten, Pascal Detroz, Florence Pirard

This article investigates instances of spontaneous questioning in relation to video-enhanced counselling occurring in two contrasted contexts of vocational training: childcare internship and pedagogical guidance of higher education teachers. In both cases, a debriefing session based on the video recording of a portion of the trainee’s practice takes place between the trainee and a pedagogical counsellor. Our study aims at characterizing the counsellors’ questioning practices and at relating it to their professional attitudes. The study relies on two types of data. One type of data corresponds to the material gathered on the occasion of the debriefing sessions. The questions addressed to the trainee are analyzed and the pedagogical aspects targeted by the counsellor on the basis of the video recording of the trainee’s practice are identified. The other type of data results from the counsellors’ confrontation with the video recording of their own debriefing session with the trainee. These confrontations aim at identifying the counsellors’ intentions when questioning during the debriefing. The analysis of six debriefing sessions, three in relation to childcare and three in relation to higher education, reveals similar trends regarding the counsellors’ activity: they ask mostly inductive questions and they have a problem-solving approach to counselling. The analysis of the counsellors’ confrontations with the recording of their own debriefing sessions outlined that the questions addressed to the trainees mainly seek to involve them in a reflection on their professional practice rather than trying to elucidate the practice such as displayed on the screen. By means of questioning, counsellors check their own interpretation of the situations they find interesting and guide the trainees according to their own concerns. Accordingly, counsellors both act as interventionists and mediators. On the one hand, their questions reveal potentially normative values implying that the counsellors’ points of attention are imposed on the trainees. On the other hand, counsellors adopt a mediating posture by drawing trainees’ attention to the aspects of their practice to be improved. This subsequent confrontation with their counselling activity enables the counsellors to take a step back from their counselling activity in order to perceive its complexity and limitations. The difficulties encountered during the video-enhanced counselling sessions are due to a lack of efficacity of the debriefing practices. This could be explained by misrepresentations in relation to action-oriented speech and to the video-enhanced analysis of professional practice. It could also be related to the conflicting postures of intervention and mediation adopted by counsellors.

  • video-enhanced debriefing
  • questioning practices
  • professional attitudes
  • vocational training
  • early childhood education and care
  • higher education
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