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“The seniors told us...” Insights into a Malaysian Teacher Trainees’ Community of Practice Michael Hall University College Plymouth St Mark & St John ELT.

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Presentation on theme: "“The seniors told us...” Insights into a Malaysian Teacher Trainees’ Community of Practice Michael Hall University College Plymouth St Mark & St John ELT."— Presentation transcript:

1 “The seniors told us...” Insights into a Malaysian Teacher Trainees’ Community of Practice Michael Hall University College Plymouth St Mark & St John ELT Signposts, Brno, 10 Sep 2011

2 Key questions What is a community of practice, and how does a CoP emerge? Do our B Ed TESL cohorts behave like a CoP? How can we foster their CoP? 10/09/20112Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

3 Background Marjon & Malaysia: since 1981 Alignment with consortium partners B Ed TESL Juniors and seniors 2 institutions (East & West Malaysia) Muslims and non-Muslims Male and female 10/09/20113Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

4 Communities of practice “a system of relationships between people, activities, and the world: developing with time, and in relation to other tangential and overlapping communities of practice” (Lave and Wenger 1991: 98) “a sustained pursuit of a shared enterprise” (Wenger 1998: 45) “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (Wenger 2006) 10/09/20114Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

5 Key concepts of a CoP Domain: Members are committed to and have a shared competence in the domain that sets them apart from other people. Community: Members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other. Practice: Members develop a shared repertoire of resources - experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems. This takes time and sustained interaction. Legitimate peripheral participation : New members learn at the periphery, and move towards full participation as they become more involved in the main processes. (adapted from Wenger 1998) 10/09/20115Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

6 Pedagogical antecedents Master and apprentice, guru and disciple Formal education alienates children – Ivan Illich: debilitating effects of schooling – Paulo Freire’s banking concept of education Independent learning: outside the classroom, without a teacher, lifelong learning Social aspects of learning – Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development – Learning by doing (experiential learning, TBL) – Classroom configurations: Pair work & group work 10/09/20116Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

7 Research methodology Volunteers signed up Focus groups: juniors, seniors and mixed groups Script: interview questions Transcription of recordings Analysis 10/09/20117Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

8 Questions (edited) 1.What were your expectations of the other group? 2.Do you feel you had a responsibility towards members of the other group? 3.Does the environment have a role in developing this community of practice? 4.At what point do you think you needed help/advice from your seniors, and what was this help/advice for? 5.What stories have you heard/told about life here from/to the other cohort? 6.Who has helped you best understand your future roles as a teacher? 7.Complete this sentence: I feel part of this B Ed TESL community of practice because... 10/09/20118Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

9 Findings Sense of community Expatriate mindset Kinds of support Towards a community of practice 10/09/20119Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

10 “Expatriate” mindset In Malaysia instead of our friends we have our family, go home at weekends Our relationship here is much closer in UK than those what we have back in Malaysia In the foreign land we tend to stick together so we get to know each other better Large community in a small institution Other Malaysian links beyond Marjon 10/09/201110Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

11 Kinds of support They brought us to the city centre and show us all the places and also help us to survive here like [creating] a bank account the taxis and tips of buying stuff and yeah they are really helpful They normally share with us what they did in class, how they did their assignments and how the lectures going on If I need a second opinion maybe I go for the seniors’ help like help with my assignments where I need a more matured student’s point of view 10/09/201111Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

12 One for all, all for one We live in a community so we are responsible for each other and of course when our friends have some problems we try to help them It’s been instilled upon us back during our Foundation years by our lecturers over there and also our parents that we should be there for each other, help out whenever there’s a problem 10/09/201112Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

13 More than just a community Practice: shared repertoire of experiences & stories Community: joint activities and discussions, building relationships that enable them to learn from each other Transforming legitimate peripheral participation 10/09/201113Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

14 Sharing stories 1.she told some stories of the good times she had the happy things that she learnt the really important things that helped her develop as a teacher 2.I love hearing those stories and all but the story doesn’t necessarily teach me something they’re just sharing experience informally 3.I prefer listen the stories about teaching from my lecturers because as much as I respect my seniors I think they are still in the same level as us 4.experience is the best teacher however when they told me stories it seems to have some effects on my mindset 5.I’m not confident but I have that courage to face students because of their stories and stuff 10/09/201114Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

15 Blog 1... UBUNTU programme at Notre Dame by BAU - Tuesday, 12 October 2010, 03:44 PM We have the chance to attend the UBUNTU programme at Notre Dame today. “Ubuntu” is an ancient African word, which means “humanity towards others.” Through Ubuntu, the Headteacher hopes students will learn more about humanity and emotional intelligence. It’s good to have this programme as it teaches students how to carry themselves in the society as well as to respect others regardless of their differences. by HBH - Tuesday, 12 October 2010, 08:26 PM UBUNTU also strangely can be refered to an operating system which can be installed to your laptop. That aside, I am pretty interested with this programme's concept. Who actually is the main force behind it? The teachers? Or is it more like a workshop for students? by VM - Tuesday, 12 October 2010, 10:33 PM Actually the idea of UBUNTU was first proposed by Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu (Priest) in South Africa. The idea is exactly like 'moral education' in Malaysia but UBUNTU based on the principle ' I am who I am because of other people', literally meaning accepting and respecting people from different races and religious - as a part of the community. Plus, UBUNTU also tries to educate the value of forgiveness in a multicultural society. Some of the interesting phrases are 1) He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass. 2) Forgiveness is a funny thing- It warms the heart and cools the sting. 3) Forgiveness is the answer to the child's a dream of miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is made clean. 10/09/201115Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

16 ... Blog 2 Re: UBUNTU programme at Notre Dame by NBS - Tuesday, 12 October 2010, 10:44 PM wow..this is really interesting. I never heard about this before.The only thing that I heard before was UBUNTU cola, a type of soft drink..ngeeee~ by RBR - Wednesday, 13 October 2010, 09:34 PM haha... The headteacher said Notre Dame RC school is the only school that has this kind of programme across England. She even mentioned that there were few Australians came to their school to observe how the programme is run. Perhaps they're from the Education Ministry. Well, I'm not really sure about this. :) by IBMD - Thursday, 14 October 2010, 09:55 AM [name]....of all things...Cola??!!!!..well at least better than me...I've no idea about it at all.. by WBWMS - Thursday, 14 October 2010, 02:18 PM wow~! this is great! and it's a new information for me. thanks for sharing!^^ by Michael Hall - Thursday, 14 October 2010, 03:33 PMMichael Hall This is the first time I've heard of this - you see, we can all educate each other by sharing our experiences. I was amused to hear that a philosophical concept had become a software programme and a fizzy drink, which tells us something about the way the world works. 10/09/201116Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

17 Expectations of support: juniors on seniors They are like guidance when you meet something new you go to the guidebook and skip through – that’s what they are to me I always seek them for advice and reference because I’m not really confident sometimes in doing my assignments and all that In terms of age we might not be of much difference but there’s still this senior and junior barrier you know what I mean They are seniors and we have responsibility to respect them 10/09/201117Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

18 Transforming legitimate peripheral participation Being a first cohort is like we are setting a stepping stone for everyone a role model for the juniors to see [...] it seems like we have to give good example for them. I expect that the juniors will follow our footstep but do even better than us I think we should work together because we might learn from each other 10/09/201118Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

19 Outcomes Conversations become discussions Stories become relevant as a way of learning from others’ experience Blogs become genuine sharing of ideas and information and help to build the CoP Better learning? 10/09/201119Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

20 Fostering a CoP among your students Students have to be convinced that not everything comes from the teacher You can’t create a CoP, but you can nurture what is already there Draw attention to what is happening in class: make explicit any activity which may contribute to development of a CoP 10/09/201120Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

21 Some final thoughts Learning is social and comes from our experience of participating in daily life (Infed) The class is not the primary learning event. It is life itself that is the main learning event. (Wenger) 10/09/201121Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

22 Suggested reading 10/09/201122Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno

23 Contact me Michael Hall Centre for International Language Teacher Education (CILTE) University College Plymouth St Mark & St John Plymouth PL6 8BH, UK 10/09/201123Michael Hall / ELT Signposts Brno


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