Monash University
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Flow experiences in Shakuhachi teaching via Skype

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posted on 2017-03-02, 00:18 authored by How, Meng Leong
This study examined how flow experiences contributed to the teaching practices of seven shakuhachi teachers from Australia, North America, Europe, and Japan, who were engaged in teaching their students via Skype. Findings in this study suggested that the shakuhachi teachers’ gravitas of teaching and the observed effortlessness in their practices of teaching students contributed to their experience of flow during teaching via Skype. An epi-flow conceptual model was engendered via a review of extant Flow theory-related literature, and subsequently enriched by the data from this study to gain insight into some of the conceivably complex characteristics about the phenomena associated with the participating shakuhachi teachers’ flow experiences in teaching via Skype. Interpretative phenomenological analysis of their idiographic lived experiences, accessed through observations of shakuhachi teachers’ self-recorded videos from their vantage points, interviews, personal communications and an empathetic experiential case encounter of the virtual Skype instructional space by the researcher sharing with a beginner how to make simple sounds on the shakuhachi via Skype, yielded some intriguing findings that were weighed carefully for educational implications. This research found that flow could be experienced not merely as a ‘distortion’ of the sense of time per se, but rather as a complex unity of past, present and future in the lived moments of teaching ideations. In this there might be ‘vital simultaneities’ of actions and awareness, instead of actions and awareness being ‘merged.’ The shakuhachi teachers’ balance between skills and challenges was far from remaining in a state of equilibrium; it was dynamic. The teachers were performing at the edge between vicissitude and ‘business-as-usual’ due to an inherent network lag in Skype lessons. Despite this, the teachers retained a strong sense of control. Questioning was used by the shakuhachi teachers as exploratory feedback of their teaching actions via Skype. There could be a ‘blurring of boundaries’ between the shakuhachi teacher and the activities in the eduction space (to educe / to draw out the potential of the students) of the Skype instructional environment via anthropomorphization of artifacts (with the shakuhachi flute as ‘teacher’). During the teaching episodes, self-consciousness could disappear in four stages: unconscious incompetence; conscious incompetence; conscious competence; and unconscious competence. The shakuhachi teachers’ goals of assessing their students’ progress could be characterized as: linear, lateral, instantaneous, independent, and/or uplifting. Ultimately the autotelic quality of the experiences of shakuhachi teaching via Skype was dynamic.


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Jane Southcott

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Faculty of Education

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