Karina, Eduardo, Emilia, Diana, Diego, Pablo, Leidy, Karol, Michelle, Alisson and Cristopher are students in General Didactics here at Salesiana University. We discuss topics related to methodology and techniques for improving the learning process in schools. Today, I’ve made a question…
What do you understand as learning?
All of them consider that motivation is important when developing the learning process. It means that the person who in in charge of it must know students`needs in order to satisfy them.
Using approppriate techniques is relevant because not every student has the same learning pace. Sometimes we should think about the facth that we are facing individuals with so many different ways to learn and the school pretends to teach all of them inm the same way, which is not possible.
Once we know our students’ differences, then we can use the correct method, technique and instrument to make sure that we are insde a learning process that makes pupils grow in terms of knowledge.
Most of the time, students and teachers consider evaluation as a hard, complicated, weird task. Teachers may use evaluation in a way that shows control or punishment in a noisy class; and students, however, expect never to face an evaluation. So, it is a delicate topic that education should consider in a serious way in order to get the best of it. Evaluation implies measurement and a process of making decisions the right moment a teacher has this valuable source of information.
Learning a foreign language has become an important issue today at different levels. More and more professionals are exposed to English when they have to do business and communicate with other countries; also, students are required to get information especially from Internet and sometimes web pages in English pop up and even though they can use translation tools to get access to information, it is necessary to read and understand the real message that may be altered when translating a document.
Learning English implies learning the culture in which this language is spoken. This aspect permits students understand language in a better way by using the cultural context of foreign countries in examples in class. The way people celebrate a birthday, the way families have a special dinner or simply what students do in universities are topics that may get students interested in learning a language. This step implies that students need to be involved in a cultural space in order to have a meaningful learning of it.
On the other hand, to understand a different cultural context may not be as simple as it seems because students may not be able to have a clear picture of a context that has many different representations. Students would find hard to understand cultural expressions based in specific circumstances from other spaces. The weather, for example, makes people express feelings and adopt attitudes according to a specific time of the year that is totally different in our country, and make students understand examples from school books related to weather and customs could be a pain in the neck for teachers.
Considering this information, we can say that learning English is now a must in our society, but it is also a big challenge for students. They try to learn English in a context that does not use English and it is sometimes the main reason that makes students feel less motivated to the learning process. Now, the question is WHAT TO DO?
Mixing experiences when learning English is a good alternative in class, in other words, learning from my context and learning from another context. This would be applied when teachers provide students with real examples from their context and expose them to examples from other contexts that would be easy to understand considering they live in a different context. It is like comparing two different cultures in order to find out similar aspects and different aspects. It will help students create a mental picture of what people do in other countries as well as making them visualize that we perform same activities, too. By comparing two contexts, the purpose is not to create a kind of a “competition” between two cultures, but the aim is getting the most significant information from both societies in order to provide students with meaningful activities that will help them learn a different language in an effective way.
Every time we face a group of students when we start a new cycle of education, we are placed in front of a number of human beings looking at you and expecting to learn something new from you; but, what is beyond those faces? What background do they have? What kind of customs do they practice?
Many teachers may not consider how important the context of students is and how it modifies the way they learn. Context is understood as the space, situations, representations that exist around a person or a place. Those factors may help a person, a teacher in our case, to define and understand a situation.
But, how can context affect the learning process? The answer relies in the fact that every person has its own background and of course their learning pace. A student who comes from a context where parents spend time reading, tend to have it as a custom and it becomes evident in the language used in class, or the knowledge applied to solve a problem in class.
Context is something that has to be considered not only for planning, but also when teaching. It surely helps us understand reactions, attitudes, responses and every manifestation inside schools.