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Author Topic: When there's no class identity?  (Read 246 times)

Calach Pfeffer

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When there's no class identity?
« on: May 15, 2018, 11:12:46 AM »
This is one I hadn't know about until today: the efficacy of Chinese class identification.

Class groups in China, as you know, stay together forever. Typically, also, in my experience, they unify. This, it turns out, eases the way for such grotesqueries as small group discussion and large class activities. A unified class is entirely okay with babbling away to their immediate seat mates seemingly in the knowledge that everyone else in the room is doing the same thing, and for the most part they stay on task. And they are willing to listen to other groups in later discussion.

But when the class, for whatever reason, has not come together as a unit... silence reigns.


So when your classroom, long term, is about as cohesive as a train station waiting room? First thing I thought of was team building exercises, but intruding on a class identity of having no identity is itself a problem, right?

What do you do when your classroom has no unity?

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Granny Mae

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Re: When there's no class identity?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2018, 10:00:25 PM »
Calach, does this apply to all age groups?

old34

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Re: When there's no class identity?
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2018, 06:27:14 PM »


...So when your classroom, long term, is about as cohesive as a train station waiting room? First thing I thought of was team building exercises, but intruding on a class identity of having no identity is itself a problem, right?

What do you do when your classroom has no unity?


Sometimes it's a monitor issue (a shitty monitor or more likely, cliques within the class some of whom don't like the monitor). If the monitor is heavy-handed and often criticizes/reports other students, outside of your hearing range, students will be reluctant in class (aka silence).


I did have this issue in one particularly difficult class. My first thought was to go to talk to the "class teacher"-every class has one. But sometimes the class teacher and class monitor are in cahoots. I got this impression when I first spoke to the class teacher. ("Mei ban fa"). This, then, turned the monitor against me. Some students in the "out" clique came to me in secret and warned me. So I bypassed the class monitor/class teacher and went directly to the dean. He made the wise decision of calling a class meeting and having the students themselves elect their monitor by secret ballot. The result? The next class I had with them, the monitor and 2 or 3 of her besties skipped my class, but we had a 180 degree change in class participation going forward. The monitor clique returned to class and I grouped them together in group work.


Addendum: 2 years later the deans invited me to their graduation dinner. The dean told me they had specifically asked that I attend because I "had turned that class around". After the dinner, as I was leaving, a group of students walked me to the door to say goodbye. After I left and was walking down the street, the previous monitor, came running down the street after me. Alone. She had tears in her eyes and told me she was sorry for having tried to undermine me. Then she handed me a card with a beautiful thank you note in it. 3 years later when WeChat had become all the rage, she added me to her WeChat. We still keep in touch and I'm happy to say that she is now a teacher.


In short-look at the monitor situation in such a case. Therein may lie the solution.


 
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. - B. O'Driscoll.
TIC is knowing that, in China, your fruit salad WILL come with cherry tomatoes AND all slathered in mayo. - old34.

Calach Pfeffer

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Re: When there's no class identity?
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2018, 11:54:33 PM »
Ironically, maybe, it was the monitor who said first that the class was "not unity".

I asked some other classes about the question of unity and they agreed that when a class "loves" each other, it's easier to speak, and that when there isn't that fellow feeling, it's like talking in front of 30 strangers.

But this class, it's a strange class. Awkward. The boys sit at the front, there are a few outstanding students (the monitor included) who put themselves forward and show willing, and everyone else disperses as much as possible. They're not badly behaved per se. They're just.. kinda... blocked from participating, seems like. And there's 45 of them in total.

They'll perform writing tasks. And actually, the standard of their written English is following an overall trend I think I've been seeing over the years, of basically being at a higher level than similar sophomore students have had in the past. And they likely have better speaking skills too. I just can't seem as readily to draw them out as I'm used to.

» now with New and Endlessly Improving CV 4U  ٩( ᐛ )و