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Telling stories from the sea: Boundary work and face-saving strategies in maritime post-simulation debriefing

Conference contribution
Authors Charlott Sellberg
Astrid Camilla Wiig
Published in ViLär, Trollhättan 5-6 december 2019
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Language en
Keywords Professional learning; Simulation; Debriefing; Storytelling; Narrative analyses
Subject categories Other Engineering and Technologies, Educational Sciences


This study examines storytelling episodes in 13 video-recorded and fully transcribed post-simulation debriefings from a maritime navigation course. The aim is to scrutinize the facilitators’ practice of telling stories from the sea during debriefing, in order to find interactional patterns in regards to the following questions: a) what occasions branches of storytelling in debriefing? b) what lessons to be learned are made through storytelling? c) how do the students respond to the stories? A combination of dialogical-performative analysis and a structural narrative model was conducted in order to both analyze and contextualize stories from working at the sea in the debriefing practice. The analysis show how storytelling in debriefing were frequently occurring, and mainly occasioned by critical discussions about students’ mistakes during the simulated scenario. In such a critical debriefing practice, our results show how telling stories about lived experiences of professional dilemmas and mistakes serves multiple functions. In line with research results from previous studies on storytelling in higher education, this study show how storytelling provides concrete examples on topics that might seem abstract or illusive in an educational context, and connects the simulation event to the professional responsibilities onboard seagoing ships. Moreover, the results suggest that facilitators’ practice of highlighting working professionals’ dilemmas and mistakes do face-saving work in debriefing, and might contribute to a psychologically safer debriefing climate.

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