27 fev 2014 Experiences: a window to deeper understandings of classroom events
Have you ever wondered about classroom experiences? About how can they bring an expanded understanding of the teaching and learning process?
Starting today, I`ll be contributing with posts on classroom language learning experiences because they can provide a lot of information about what goes on between teachers and students as well as a holistic perspective of the process of teaching, learning and evaluating – the three most common reasons for bringing people to a language class. Every month, I’ll post excerpts of students’ or teachers’ narratives. Selections will highlight recurrent experiences. These will be discussed to broaden comprehension of their significance.
Hopefully, you will find similarities among the experiences posted and your own and, through our discussions, find support to deal with classrooms events.
Before our first narrative, let me introduce the nature of classroom experiences, as depicted in the picture below, since the following posts are framed by this view of classroom events. Click on the image for a better view of its elements.
This picture expands Allwright’s (1991) original representation for understanding the classroom context. In accordance to our research results (Miccoli 2010) it illustrates that classroom events can be described from the surface lesson (what one sees) – usually learning opportunities and tasks or from the deep lesson – what teachers and students tell about their behaviors in oral or written narratives. In-class pedagogical or cognitive, social and affective experiences are influenced by teachers’ and students’ out-of-class personal, conceptual, contextual and future experiences. You will gain better understanding of these categories with the forthcoming posts. Now, our first narrative:
Have you ever wondered about students’ recurrent behaviors? They may reveal much more than just personal preferences or habits…
Fernanda, a university student, frequently referred to interaction and interpersonal relationships. She had trouble interacting with others. In the excerpt below, she describes how she relates to classmates:
“Uhrn.,. I observe that I’m NOT too close to my classmates … l have my circle of friends”.
In interacting with her teacher, she revealed a recurrent behavior.
“I always say ‘teacher” because I know I’m going to make mistakes. She can correct me. I also don`t care if others are listening or not. … I talk to her because … I believe every student addresses the teacher. Maybe it’s a wrong thing, not caring about what others are going to say or if they are listening or not …”
Fernanda seems to move from not being close to her classmates to wondering if her attitude – not caring about what they have to say and keeping to herself is the right thing to do. By reflecting on her behavior, she becomes aware of a potential problem. We also learn that when she calls “teacher” she wants more than attention – she expects to be corrected.
How do you deal with students who keep to themselves? How do you make them interact? Learning depends on it, you know.
Which experiences intrigue you? Share them with me.
More to come next month,
All the best,