What follows is a description of a single lesson that took place in a different environment, within the same school. In subsequent posts I will walk you through it from three different perspectives.
Marcus and his year eight cohort spilled through the generous doors of the shared learning space. The students were halfway through a French language project and they made their way towards their teacher who, clearly anticipating what was to come, greeted them and invited them to take a seat.
The noise and motion subsided and the students, eager to continue their work-in-progress, listened to the recap and details of the task for the day. After which they slowly devolved into small groups and set to work.The task was to record a response to a question, in French. Each pair, when satisfied, was to email their audio file to the students who had been selected to compile the final video presentation.
Marcus and his partner found a nook on the floor under the stairs and set about practicing their sentence. Using their laptops they repeatedly recorded their bit-of-the-whole. They laughed, moved, deleted and re-recorded their sound-bite repeatedly, all the while practicing their accents and correcting each other.
Their teacher made his way through the space, his eyes tracking movement and his ears alert to the sounds that pre-empt dissolution. He offered advice, asked questions, and redirected both attention and behaviour.
After a gentle reminder of the agreed-upon time constraint, Marcus and his partner emailed their audio file and, keen to see and hear their work, and the work of others, they made their way to the group seating. Jostling and chatting, but converging, the group fell silent and the movement stilled as their composition played before them on the large screen.
There was a palpable sense of delight that hung in the air. Their teacher congratulated them on their work thus far, pointed out that it was not yet finished and dismissed them.
Nobody wanted to leave.
Please note that this series of one, plus three first appeared in the extended research proposal of my PhD (2012). I am sharing it because it is a central part of the evolution of this project. Where posts include in text citations I will add the full citations to a post I shall call – Bibliography! As with all my writing please note that pseudonyms are used for people. However, the school in which I conducted my observations is very real – and I have their permission to refer to them by name.