An Improved New Teaching
I’m going to take the liberty to interpret this activity for day 30 as if it was a sort of interview made by Michele Martin to each of us; it will spare me a precious amount of time, although I’m very sorry for not being able to respond with the deepness this reflective task deserves.
1. What have you learned about the give and take of commenting and how it might apply in a classroom?
R: This “give and take” brings along an human enrichment to individual writing; the fact that you share your thoughts and knowledge opens your inner world to the virtual presence of others and, without noticing, you begin to reflect and even to act as a member of a community.
In the classroom I’ve noticed how much young students enjoy to share their own texts reading them aloud in front of the class or silently reading long answers by their colleagues that I extract and copy from their tests; since we have started to dwell on-line they have shown their enthusiasm on publishing their writings.
Now we may not only enlarge and multiply our ways of sharing our work, but we may introduce this totally new feature of mutually commenting our written work, thus generating and enhancing conversations.
2. What lessons did you learn about what it means to “speak up” through comments that is applicable to working with students?
R: To “speak up” trough comments may allow shy students to find their own “voice” in the “maelstrom” of the class; it may act as a strong motivation to write, read and to create new ways of communicating meaningful content; it will certainly develop new and more rich interaction in the classroom; it may improve class citizenship, the sense of fair camaraderie and eventually new friendships may blossom through these intense cross conversatios.
Technically speaking one may “speack up” through several different media, combining audio, video, drawing and so on, thus enhancing the chances of self expression and “community expression”.
3. What did you learn about how to deal with dissent, asking questions, communications… that might influence your teaching practices, either on or off-line?
R: I think I will be more careful when managing students reciprocal dissents, questions and communications; I will try to elaborate a more “fine pitched” quality of listening, and I will show them how different connotations of words may inflect the original meanings intended by the authors, thus generating misunderstandings that may harm the union and consistency of the group. We will then reflect upon several different ways to avoid and counteract these issues.
Perhaps they will be interested in dressing a sort of “Chart” listing a good commenter’s duties and rights, clarifying what it means to democratically dissent, question and argue, thus preventing or correcting possible obstacles to a growingly free and enjoyable communication.