'Chained and Engrained' – Breaking the PowerPoint Dependency Cycle in English Education

Peter Wolstencroft, Carol Thompson


This paper investigates the over-dependency on PowerPoint within English education. Taking an action research approach with a group of first year students, the authors taught one unit of an initial teacher training programme employing a range of teaching strategies excluding PowerPoint.

Data was gathered using semi-structured interviews at the end of the taught unit. The findings suggest that teachers were aware of the limitations of PowerPoint as a teaching tool yet still chose to use it. The justification for this was that it provided structure for the lesson and was what students and in some cases, employers, had come to expect.

Despite being positive towards the teaching strategies employed in this research, the majority of participants were mindful of the need to meet the expectations of others and as a result were reluctant to change their approach.


PowerPoint; English Education

Full Text:



Adams, C. (2006) PowerPoint, habits of mind and classroom culture, Journal of Curriculum Studies, 38(4), pp.389-411.

Bartsch, R. and Cobern, K. (2003) Effectiveness of PowerPoint in Lectures, Computers and Education, 41(1), pp. 77-86.

Beynon, H. (1973) Working for Ford, London: Penguin.

Brandl, K., Schneild, S. and Armour, C. (2015) Writing on the Board versus PowerPoint: What do Students Prefer and Why? The FASEB Journal, 29(1), Supplement LB465.

Bruner, J. (1960) The Process of Education, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Clark, J. (2010) PowerPoint and Pedagogy: Maintaining Student Interest in University Lectures, Journal of College Teaching, 56(1), pp.39-44.

Coffield, F and Williamson, B. (2011) From Exam Factories to Communities of Discovery, London: Institute of Education.

Doumont, JL. (2005) The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Slides are not all evil, Journal of Technical Communication, 52(1), pp. 64-70.

Greene, M. (2014) On the inside looking in: Methodological Insights and Challenges in Conducting Qualitative Insider Research, The Qualitative Report, 19(29), pp. 1-13.

Hill, A., Arford, T., Lubitow, A. and Smollin, L. (2012) I’m ambivalent about it: the dilemmas of PowerPoint,

American Sociological Association, 40(3), pp. 242-256.

Hutchinson, L. (2003) The Educational Environment, British Medical Journal: International Edition, 326, pp. 810-12.

Mark, E. (2013) Student Satisfaction and the customer focus in higher education, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 35(1), pp. 2-10.

Mayo, E. (1945) Hawthorne and the Western Electric Company, Boston: Harvard Business School. Mezirow, J. (1997) Transformative Learning: Theory to Practice. New Directions for Adult and Continuing

Education, 74(1), pp.5–12.

Murray, J. (2016) Skills Development, habits of mind, and the spiral curriculum: A dialectical approach to undergraduate general education curriculum mapping, Journal of Cogent Education, 3(1).

Pring, R. (2015) Philosophy of Educational Research, London: Bloomsbury.

Roehl, A., Reddy, S. and Shannon, G. (2013) The Flipped Classroom: An Opportunity to Engage Millennial Students Through Active Learning. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, 105(2), pp. 44-49.

Tufte, E. (2003) PowerPoint is Evil: Power Corrupts, PowerPoint Corrupts Absolutely (available online http://www.wired.com/2003/09/ppt2/ accessed 3rd September 2016)

Worthington, D. and Levasseur, D. (2015), To Provide or not to Provide course PowerPoint slides? The impact of instructor-provided slides upon student attendance and performance, Computers and Education, 85(1), pp.14-22.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Peter Wolstencroft, Carol Thompson