Monday, 17 August 2009

A new learning experience: A very thought-provoking classroom observation

This the 3rd report of my Classroom Observations. In this case, it was a lesson in a state secondary in a town near Buenos Aires City. Analysing this lesson helped me a lot to understand how different classrooms realities can be and how difficult it is sometimes for us, teachers, to adapt our own views and beliefs to match the situation and the students' needs.
I really hope you enjoy this report!
Any comments are welcome! Feel free to react to anything you find in this report (:

3rd Report / Alejandra de antoni / Classroom Observation / Methods 2 2009


  1. Wow, Alez! This report of yours has been so juicy it's kept me thinking for hours... (literally!). Let me try and organise my reactions to your thoughtful analysis...

    First of all, I'm glad you've been faced with a class that contrasted your expectations this much. As our dear Yoha loves saying "this is certainly a learning opportunity". Yet, I'd like to share with you two reservations I have about your reflection:

    1. Not all State schools are the same, as no private schools are the same. What is more, not even a given group of students is the same with 2 different teachers, and possibly changing the classroom or the activities would make a big difference even in this same class.

    2. A language is not "foreign" to any human being. It's just the contents we discuss through it that can alienate or integrate people, and as teachers in Argentina-21st centurywe have the privileged right to choose contents we deal with. BTW, the ideas of "no-alien" applies to all subjects taught as "compulsory education" (whether it's FL, History, or any other subject you might think of!). No learning at school should be facts per se, it's education we're all struggling for, remember?

    How to bridge the gap between school culture (which we Ts feel so comfortably a part of) and a certain group of students' culture (which we may find alien and even unacceptable) is an itchy question that has no definitive answer yet, I'm afraid. The "distance" you noticed between T and sts in this case might be part of this gap... The good news is that if any T is prepared to start facing this challenge it's us, FL teachers. After all, haven't we been talking about teaching interculturalism and celebrating diversity for ages?

    Do not let challenging moments make you forget why you've got into teaching. All students need and deserve our help and support, and YOU can make the difference!


  2. Hi Gladys!
    Of course I won't forget why I got into teaching! And let me tell you that, regardless of how I may sound in this report, I really took it as a learning and inspiring experience!
    It's completely true that not all state or private schools are the same! Did I say the contrary? If I did, it wasn't really my intention! I've been to different schools (while teaching and/or observing) and I know that there is no room for generalizations. Each school, each classroom is a world. What I wanted to say, actually, was that the particular context of this state school was more challenging and thought-provoking than many others I've known. There is no better or worse school. They are just different. The only problem is that, sometimes, such differences are really beyond our understanding because we haven't had enough interaction with them.
    As regards the English language and what I said about it being foreign to these students, I wanted to tell you that what I meant was that, since language is the mirror of culture and the culture students were presented with was so alien to them, they may have seen it as an alien combo "the language of a culture I will never get access to..."
    What I really wanted to say was that we should present English as a language to integrate (we can use English to talk about us) rather than a language to alienate people (English is a language for a 22-year-old multimillionaire).
    Of course I am for interculturalism! We should teach our students to pay attention to all the things we have in common and to respect and welcome our differences as well so as to help them understand that we all have something to give and something to learn from others.

    Thanks a lot for reflecting with me!
    See you around!