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Developing a better understanding of classroom practices through the elucidation of teaching puzzles Dr Assia Slimani-Rolls M. Rawson, Dr G. Paul & Dr.

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Presentation on theme: "Developing a better understanding of classroom practices through the elucidation of teaching puzzles Dr Assia Slimani-Rolls M. Rawson, Dr G. Paul & Dr."— Presentation transcript:

1 Developing a better understanding of classroom practices through the elucidation of teaching puzzles Dr Assia Slimani-Rolls M. Rawson, Dr G. Paul & Dr V. Krishnan Regents’ College, London

2 Action Research A primary ‘vehicle for practitioners’ personal and professional development’ (Burns 2005:70) Action research related branches Action learning Practitioner inquiry Reflective practice Exploratory practice (Burns 2005: 57) 2

3 “ Teacher development needs to address that professional self esteem which is rooted in on-going achievements rather than in the attainment of other people's imperatives” (Breen, 2006: ) “ Bottom up teacher development is not only crucial to individual language teaching development but for the teaching profession as a whole” (Mann, 2005:112)

4 Exploratory Practice

5 5 Exploratory Practice involves A. Practitioners working to understand a. what they want to understand, following their own agendas; b. not necessarily in order to bring about change ; d. But by using normal pedagogic practices as investigative tools, so that working for understanding is part of L &T, not extra to it; e. in a way that does not lead to ‘burn-out’, but that is indefinitely sustainable c. Not primarily by changing

6 6 B. In order to contribute to f. teaching and learning themselves; g. professional development, both individual and collective. (Allwright, 2003: )

7 7 Key principles of EP put ‘quality of life’ first work primarily to understand classroom life work to bring people together work for mutual development integrate the work for understanding into classroom practice make the work a continuous enterprise

8 From ‘why don’t the students engage more with my teaching? to ‘why don’t I let the students engage more with my teaching?’ 8

9 Methodology (a) Ts videotape themselves and analyse the teaching episodes in the 1 st 20 minutes of their session. (b) What is a ‘teaching episode’? A segment of clsrm interaction with - Boundaries … beginning and end - Centre of gravity … thematic unity - Significance … in terms of learning [Kiely & Davies, 2010] (c)Group discussions, workshops & learner questionnaire. 9

10 week 2 (12 wk term) Learner responsibility towards the module What do you think your class contribution could be? The learners’ responses were overwhelmingly positive ‘prepare & complete assignments for class & participate in class discussion’, to participate in all aspects’, ‘share my views & questions’, ‘being an active member in discussions’ What are you prepared to do, outside the class, for this module? % ‘read’ % ‘practice the skills that I’ve used learned in this module’ % Other

11  There appears to be a mismatch between the teachers’ perceptions- wanting the students to produce more effort- and the students’ claims of doing so.

12 Some preliminary statistics on classroom interaction T1- Seminar 1: 50 minutes, 35 students 90% talking done by T (31 ?s asked by T & 16 ?s by STS) T2- seminar 1: 50 minutes, 13 students 86% talking done by the T (39 ?s asked by the T & 1 ?s by ST) 12

13 “ Still students are showing engagement” 13

14 14 Excerpt 1: Corporate Social Responsibility T: So, do they (organisations) have a moral obligation to us as mbers of our Sty? St1: Yes. T: Yes, but why? St1: There are moral obligations if they’re inflicting that kind of damage on the surroundings. T: I don’t disagree with you, but legally are they right or wrong? St2: Being legal is different from being moral. For e.g, right now, it’s legal to get an abortion in the States, but not everybody thinks that’s moral. T: So, where do we draw the line for an organisation in our society? Do we expect them to bring + to the table than just make profit? I’m going to show you something now that we’re going to talk about today. [T shows a video clip]

15 The student managed to relate a specific business context to her personal knowledge & understanding of a different socio-political context in her own country: from CSR to abortion

16 16 Excerpt 2: Human Resource Management T: Yeah, eventually they (employees) want a raise. These are 2 terms- disciplinary & grievance- What’s the difference between the two? St: disciplinary is when you have a problem with staff & grievance is when staff has a problem. T: me as a company? St: Yeah T: Brilliant. Excellent. Grievance (writes on the Bd) is you, disciplinary is if I don’t turn to classes & you’re sitting there & I don’t happen to turn up. I don’t mark your coursework & don’t do the things I’m required to do. RC will start a disciplinary action against me. They’ll say you’re not doing the job we’re paying you to do. Therefore we start the disciplinary procedures to make sure either you do it or we get rid of you. Can you read this from where you are? Good.

17 17 The student shows evidence of knowledge by proposing examples and illustrations: ‘disciplinary vs grievance’

18 18 Excerpt 3: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) T: Well, he [student 1] says he’s come here for the money & how the money’s made doesn’t bother him. He’s here to make money, not to save the world. St2: That’s selfish (class laughs.) St1: If I’m not selfish, I won’t make money. St3: You can have money and be a socially responsible cie. You increase your profit if you’re responsible. T: SR increases your profit. You increase your profit, she says. Let me show you something here. [ T shows an ad by Waitrose justifying their prices by setting up crèches for their employees]

19 19 The student is a step ahead of the teacher: ‘we can profit & be responsible’

20 20 Excerpt 4: Introduction to the English Legal System T: Ok, you’ve all got your handouts from last week, so we’re going to start by looking at the 1 st lecture which is basically an introduction to the English legal system, the classification, the sources. Now can I ask you, what is meant by the word source or clause? What is your understanding of it? If it’s a source, what do you mean? St1: A reference. T: A reference, yeah. St2: Where it came from. T: Where it came from, yes. St3: The origin. T: The origin, yes. Anything else? Ok, so one of the things we are looking at today is having an understanding of what is law, looking at its various categories, examining the sources of law…

21 21 The student defines terms: ‘source/reference/where it came from/origin’

22 22 Excerpt 5: Introduction to the English Legal System [T discussing whether and how law protects society] T: If you want to define law, therefore, how would you define it? St1: A rule. T: A rule? St1: A set of rules. T: Is it different when you say rule of law, or rules of law? Are they the same or are they different? St1: You can have laws, but it doesn’t necessarily always cover everything, that’s why you have ethics. T: Rule of law means a system. Rules of law means rules within that system. So law is a mixture of rules & regulations that govern or regulate or seek to draw the parameters of acceptable behaviour both in private and in public. Which does it regulate + your behaviour in private or in public?

23 23 - The student is on the same wavelength with the teacher and shows co-production & intersubjectivity: ‘rule vs set of rules’ - The student brings in a different dimension: ‘laws & ethics’

24 24 “ So students are showing engagement”

25 25 What then comes in the Teachers’ way of not acknowledging the students’ engagement? Seeing learners as ‘capable of taking learning seriously’ (Allwright & Hanks, 2009:5) Complexity in the process of making real-time decisions - dealing w/ sts’ unexpected responses- moving from CSR to abortion in the States; from laws to ethics; - One decision satisfies one variable - rewarding the st by showing through the video that her response was correct has however stopped her from verbally contributing further to the clsrm discourse;

26 26 The feeling that lecturers have to display their expertise - providing a response when the students have already shown evidence of knowledge. Teachers’ Perceptions of what they think they do as opposed to what they actually do. Perceiving students as empty vessels - not tapping in the sts’ prior knowledge in the subject. Focusing on breath of coverage through ppt

27  Transmissive type of learning culture rather than a collaborative type of learning culture based on exchanging & sharing ideas.

28 28 ‘Understanding as a prerequisite to intelligent decision-making’ The elucidation of the puzzle has revealed that there is plenty of students’ engagement. The teachers’ have realised that they were not acknowledging and honouring their students’ contributions in the first place. Pair work & group work could have been recommended right from the start given that most of the talk was done by the teachers. However, these are complex collaborative ways of learning and require that both parties listen and take notice of each other (Slimani-Rolls, 2003).

29 29 “This exercise has enabled me to reconnect with the students”. “I realise that teaching is not about demonstrating my expertise but about conveying it effectively to the students”. “I’ve been on auto pilot for so long that I didn’t realise I wasn’t quite listening to my students & that I wasn’t giving them space”. “More staff should be involved in such activities”

30 30 Allwright, D & J. Hanks The Developing Language Learner. Palgrave Macmillan. Allwright, D ‘A brief guide to Exploratory Practice: rethinking practitioners research in language teaching’. Language Teaching Research. 7/2. pp Bernstein, B Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity. London: Taylor & Francis. Burns, A ‘Action research: an evolving paradigm?’ Language Teaching. 38.2, Breen, M.P ‘Collegial Development in ELT. The interface between global processes and local understandings’. In Understanding the language classroom. In S. Gieve & I.K. Miller (eds.) Palgrave Macmillan Kiely, R. & Davies, M. (Forthcoming) ‘From transmission to transformation: teacher learning in ESOL? Language Teaching Research. 14/3, pp Mann, S ‘The language teacher’s development’. Language Teaching. 38, Slimani-Rolls, A ‘Exploring a world of paradoxes: an investigation of group work. Language Teaching and Learning 7/2, pp REFERENCES


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