Monday, December 27, 2010

Deeper Learning

A random reflection:

I think certain qualities must be present in an English classroom to support deeper learning.  Just throwing a few out here:

stability (attendance is regular, group size doesn't vary too much from class to class, students arrive on time)
ownership (students know their goals, and see the class as one resource among many)
appropriate focus (on developing and practicing good communication skills, not on getting "the right answer")
respect (letting go of "right" and "wrong", accepting the presence of differing values, beliefs, opinions)
connection (recognizing the value of classmates, working together and supporting each other)
safety (letting go of defenses, being willing to take risks, be vulnerable, make mistakes)

Over the last year, I've come to realize the role that each of the everyday administrative processes of a language school plays in supporting these qualities.  Or could play.  It seems to me that this connection can get lost in the bureaucratic shuffle.  Maybe I'll ramble in more detail on this in another post.

In reading comments on a recent post on Scott Thornbury's blog, I also recognize how heavily my own beliefs have shaped the above list.  But of course!  Why would I not want to live my beliefs?  However, it's good to be aware of this connection and not to be stuck on it (there are other approaches to teaching English than my own!).