Demarcations of Detachment: Tensions in Designed Images of Teachers

By Elvira K. Katić.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Designed images provide an exceptional medium for drawing out nuances and contradictions that might not become evident in textual or oral discourse. This study examined premeditated images of teachers that were designed by preservice teachers in a foundational teacher education course. By asking students to engage with non-textual forms of expression in order to create and discuss meaning, students may realize that meaning is not fixed and in fact changes as signs are structured and interpreted in different ways. A design approach to exploring ideologies of teachers and teaching may also empower students to make connections they otherwise would not have, particularly if only working from/with text-based media. In addition, students may learn to engage with familiar teacher education dialogues in new ways. Semiotic analyses of the teacher designs that were created resulted in readings of preservice teachers’ conceptions of teachers and the teaching profession. While the designed teacher images ranged across a continuum of intent from active, positively-engaged renderings to active, negatively-engaged renderings, the greatest number of preservice teachers designed a teacher representation that appeared stereotypical and superficial. These conventional renditions of teachers were saturated with powerful, cultural judgments about who teachers were and were not. The resulting representations could be understood as designed forms that directly stemmed from the preservice teachers’ ideologies regarding teachers and/or the teaching profession.

Keywords: Designed Images, Semiotics, Teachers, Education, Student Conceptions, Cultural Understandings

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.31-38. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 847.053KB).

Dr. Elvira K. Katić

Ramapo College of New Jersey, Mahwah, New Jersey, USA

Ramapo College of New Jersey, USA. Principal research interests include visual and social semiotic research, artworks analysis, visual literacies, and emergent technological literacies.

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