Dr. Marije van Braak

Assistant Professor
Language and Communication
Language and education

If teaching is an art and, more specifically a ‘double art’ of craft and wisdom, then it is important that teachers keep working on their own educational ‘artistry’ (...), that is, their ability to make situated judge­ments about educationally desirable ways of acting in the always new situations they encounter. (Biesta, 2023, p. 277)

What does "educational artistry" look like in interaction between students and teachers? How can we give room to teachers to show and develop their artistry in a way that does justice to their uniqueness and to the myriad of various educational encounters that they have in everyday higher educational practice? And also, what would a focus on teaching as an art and teachers as unique subjects bring us in higher education? That is the type of questions I keep wondering about. 

In my role as Assistant Professor, I teach courses in the bachelor Communication- and Information Studies, I'm involved in educational projects, and I study educational interaction (sometimes also medical interaction). With this research, I hope to contribute to teacher professionalization in various educational contexts. The methodological perspective of my research is always interactional (mostly conversation analytical): How do people use language to achieve things, to construct the social world around them?

A specific example: In my PhD project (2017-2021) I studied ways in which teachers can facilitate valuable interaction during educational reflection sessions in the context of Dutch General Practitioner Training. Teachers facilitating such interaction need to balance structure and free exploration, to find ways to bring their expertise to the table in ways that leave room for others' expertise or even lack of experience, and to find ways to balance becoming part of a group (in this case, GPs; a socialisation process) and positioning as a self within that group (subjectification).

Currently, my research focus is on subjectification in higher education: how can students and teachers become visible 'as selves', on their own terms, and what does that look like in educational interaction?