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  • Publicado : 25 de agosto de 2010
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Instituto Superior Josefina Contte
Profesorado de Inglés, 4º año.
Inglés en Contextos Diversos: Adultos.

“Classroom Dynamics” by Jill Hatfield

Summary

Thanks to all the experience she has undertaken primarily as an EFL teacher, the author of the book Classroom Dynamics, Jill Hadfield, has come to the conclusion that successful learner groups are mainly characterized byinteracting in a positive atmosphere, which features are the following: mutual trust, confidence in self and in the group, empathy within the group, and the building of a group identity.
She considers that the teacher’s job involves mainly transmitting contents, though she still feel with the prerogative of stating that a successful group dynamic is an indispensable building block in the teaching andlearning process. She merely believes that a consistent group works very productively and it is at the same time complemented with effects as regards their motivation, morale and the image the members have from to each other and from the Teacher. Taking everything into consideration, there is no doubt that all those effects affect their learning process, as it creates in them a constructiveattitude to the target language and to themselves as learners. In order to support her view, Hadfield relies on a research in social psychology which states the effects previously mentioned (Michael Argyle 1969, The Social Psychology of Work).
Consequently, in order to manage a learning group with a description of this kind she suggests several strategies directed to lead groups learningEnglish both efficiently and effectively. To select the determined activities characterized mostly by being intuitive, exploratory and tentative, she had to re examine traditional classroom ones but from a different perspective: taking into account the probable effect those activities will have on the group dynamics. The criteria to select determined activities should be based on several aspects asregards the teacher in charge, such us, his or her personality and teaching style, the composition of the group he or she is going to work with, the rhythm of his or her lesson, the term during which the teaching and learning process will occur, and the constraints of the teacher’s syllabus

Section A: Forming the group

At the first instance, when forming the group, it is essential to calmdown the students and reduce the anxiety and nervousness they may be feeling. The reason for doing this is to start to build up both a sense of direction and a feeling of co-operation. The affective and cognitive activities in this section are intended to fulfil these aims.

Breaking the ice: warm-up activities for the first week of term

They could be used in the first week of term toencourage students to know each other and for the teacher to know about them as the time goes by.

Activities:
Guess my name
Shaking hands
My home town
Circles
Group Skills
Family statistics
Forfeits

Thinking about language: individual learning styles and group strategies

Any group of students will have different expectations as regards the English course.

Possibledifficulties:
• they have not really defined these expectations to themselves;
• they have never questioned their own attitudes to language learning;
• they are unconscious of alternatives attitude to language learning and learning styles.

To avoid roughness in the group, the teacher must help learners to understand how aims, attitudes, and learning styles may differ.
Therefore, thequestionnaires in this chapter are focused on helping the students to become aware of different attitudes to learning and different styles within the group.

Activities:
What kind of person are you?
Why kind of language learner are you?
Experience and expectations

Thinking about groups: group strengths, individual contributions

Some dissatisfactions may appear during the learning...
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