Student teacher’s prerequisite to be embodied playful presence in lessons with playful approaches to learning

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This qualitative study aimed to investigate student teachers embodied playful presence or absence in lessons with playful approaches to learning. The study was based on insights from theories on playfulness, embodied presence and the notion of situational constraints. A pilot design and two iterations framed by a design-based research approach was conducted and tested design principles regarding playful learning, physical activity and digital materials. Through a hermeneutic phenomenological approach, the analysis focuses first on the students’ negotiation or renegotiation of engaging in playful approaches to learning, second, on the students embodied playful presence or absence in playful lessons and third, on the student’s prerequisite of engaging in playful lessons. The analysis revealed that traditions, habits and practices within the current educational system affected the student teachers’ embodied playful presence because the student teachers were preoccupied with the performativity indicators and reaching specific curricular goals, thus making the playful open-ended teaching a promoted element of the education system. In addition, the analysis also confirmed that design principles regarding embodied playful presence cannot be coerced or imposed on the student teachers but that learning activities can be facilitated for a playful atmosphere or mood to emerge. This was seen because the student teachers responded to the playful teaching at various embodied playful presence or absence. Finally, the analysis revealed that educator's commitment was not necessarily enough for all student teachers to achieve embodied playful presence because there were several other elements that affected the student teachers. In conclusion, the findings in present study thus points out that realising playful approaches to learning in higher education is complex and for student teachers to become embodied playful presence all their prerequisite to engage in playful approaches to learning must be considered.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Play in Adulthood
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)82-106
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2023


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