Distributing the Modal Load: the Oral Presentation Ensemble and Professional Identity Formation

Terri Grant


Scenario Learning and Pedagogy (SLP) involves immersing an entire university professional communication course within a selected sustainable business practice scenario. This article focuses on the draft and final oral presentations of two teams who chose recycling and sustainable building practices as their institutional “workplace” scenarios respectively. A semiotic and metafunctional approach combined with authorial identity markers produced a sound theoretical frame and methodology against which a multi-layered analysis and comparison of their presentations could be instantiated. Video recordings of both their rehearsal and final presentations allowed for fine-grained scrutiny of selected video clips to focus a lens on various verbal and non-verbal elements of communication such as speech, vocal intonation and projection, dress (appearance), posture, gesture and movement, eye contact and gaze behaviour, and facial expression. The emergence of confidence as a proxy of growing professional identity to a greater or lesser extent could be determined within each team. How each team member leveraged their linguistic and cultural backgrounds, age, gender and scenario knowledge provided individual as well as collective insights into the team dynamic. Although some team members fared better than others, their collective support worked to suppress weaknesses and disjunctures to the benefit of the team effort.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/csm.v3n4p26


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