I can confidently say that in my classroom, I encourage collaboration in every single lesson. However, it’s a tough sell, since many of my students come from a very old-fashioned educational system. In this system, their main role is to sit, listen and copy. Learning from peers seems not to be very encouraged and I face more than 50% resistance every time I suggest students to work with a partner, or as a group. It seems the concept is very foreign to them. Nevertheless I keep on trying. I believe collaboration in the classroom is fundamental in language learning.
I’ve also had the opportunity to practice originality in my lessons, especially with children and teenagers. I have taken students on field trips where they have the opportunity to explore the real-world and its possibilities. I’m very interested in taking teens to places that can inspire them with regards to their future professional paths. Some of these places are the Air traffic control center at our international airport and a local radio station studio where they’ve been able to experience firsthand the responsibilities of the jobs.
I do encourage students to discover on their own, but it is a challenge since the majority of the time, they expect me to do most of the thinking. I believe this is one of the areas where I can never give up. This is the characteristic I believe, is quite difficult to implement in my class, and a way of overcoming this challenge would be to provide more opportunities in which, students are forced to discover, rather than passively wait for things to be uncovered. Good examples of this would be class projects in which days and weeks are allotted to students in order to collect data and prepare presentations.