‘Cracking the teacher’s code’ – an ethnographic study of students preparing for oral exams

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

This paper explores students’ preparatory processes for high-stakes exams using Danish oral exams as an example. To graduate, students must convince two teacher-examiners as the state’s representatives that they deserve to pass. Average grades determine students’ admission into tertiary education. Fieldwork data following students transitioning from teaching to exams show students ‘cracking teachers’ codes’ instead of delivering the curriculum requirement of independent critical interpretations of text material. Abstract norms of subjects called ‘super-addressees’ (Bakhtin sss1986 [“The Problem of Speech Genres.” In Speech Genres and Other Late Essays, edited by Carol Emerson and Michael Holquist, 60–102. Austin: University of Texas Press]) are not transparent to students despite an almost symbiotic interrelationship between teaching and exams. Students identify ‘Fitting responses’ (Bitzer 1968 [“The Rhetorical Situation.” Philosophy & Rhetoric 1 (1): 1–14]) for exams by navigations named 1: Disciplinary seduction in a transparent exam system, 2: Physically observing the teacher’s reactions in an opaque exam system, or 3: Jotting down an encyclopaedia of teacher’s keywords. Researching students anticipating exams illuminates their notions of what it takes to succeed in education.
TidsskriftEthnography and Education
Sider (fra-til)1-17
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - 1 jan. 2024

ID: 392453741