Posts tagged ‘collaboration’

May 22, 2010

Me and them

This is individual work, I uttered unexpectedly but purposefully.

I was talking to my labour-division-fan groups, trying to get them involved into a collaborative work. C-o-l-l-a-b-o-r-a-t-i-v-e. The thing is they kept stuck to that group notion. Kill the group, I thought. Individual, I said.

Have I become a late neoliberalism agent?, I feared.

Soon, traces of collaboration started to show up.

I work with words. I teach a foreign language. Even foreign to me. I know words are tricky. I know they can mean what they don’t mean. Why would it matter if I’d said individual when I meant collaborative? It just worked.

I was trying to start a learning experience. I don’t know whether learning is social or not. I do know it’s an experience. As such, is it explainable? Well, at least it’s livable.

This is what we are living:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “2001: A Space Odyssey“, posted with vodpod

We are reading 2001: A space Odyssey and after our first academically correct students’ production, I decided to make a change. I told them they would become experts. I selected four quite broad topics related to the book and asked them to jump into the universe (wiki included).

I jumped as well. I didn’t keep my safety teacher feet stuck to the planet earth.

  • Two classes are working together. Same school. Different ages. Same language level. No class face to face contact between the two groups, but for the wiki. (Still weak wiki.)
  • I know nothing about their fields of future expertise. (I’m far older than my students, though. Sometimes that is an advantage.)
  • I’m working without a plan. Yes, no planning at all. I  improvise. Constantly. Thrilling, isn’t it? It’s working. Furthermore, I think it’s working because I don’t have a plan. As the only thing I have is the pure experience, I observe. Constantly. And I try. Trial and error. And patience. Loads of.
  • I’m not grading them. They’re working for free. And they are secondary school students. At secondary school everything is about marks. (Well, some are not working much, I admit. But they wouldn’t be working even if I was grading them.) No marks, but assessment.  Me and them.

I don’t know what the outcome might be. I do know that to some of them it will be meaningful.

As a teacher -that observer/doer who is within the picture, I’m enjoying my own learning experience. Individual up to now, socialized after clicking publish. I’m also enjoying witnessing my students’ learning experience. Individual? Social? Personal. Yes, personal. And shared. And distributed.

En Español.

April 9, 2010

Odyssey or Journey

With two of my groups we’ve started to read an abridged version of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I introduced the book with a presentation on how the year 2000 was imagined in the sixties and one of the first assignments was to prepare a group class on the sixties and the noughties.

These were roughly the instructions I gave them:
Prepare a 30 minute group class including a presentation. More details here.

All the classes were well prepared and enjoyable. Yet, I couldn’t avoid noticing that Frankenstein result group work usually shows. I’m talking about those stitches which put different contributions together into a whole. I’d love those stitches to be invisible, or maybe I should say I’d love those patches to merge.

Group work, at least to my students, means division of labour. Far away from the collaborative work I always hope for. The thing is, can collaboration be taught?

I’ll try.

Will that be an odyssey or just a journey?