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  1. #1
    LoriSyme is offline Newbie
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    Default How do I improve cooperative learning between students of mixed backgrounds?

    Hi guys!

    My name is Lori Syme and I am currently studying for my Post Graduate Certificate in Further and Higher Education. I am very passionate about EFL teaching so I am basing my research on the subject :) I'm here because I would very much appreciate some participation from other EFL teachers for my Action Research Project.

    Last summer I worked with a mixed class of Chinese and Turkish students. The Turkish students seemed to be much more confident with the material which seemed to intimidate the Chinese students, meaning they shied away from class participation. I want to be sure that in the future, no student feels neglected or intimidated, and that all students feel confident enough to work together to form new knowledge.

    So my topic is: how do I improve cooperative learning between students of mixed backgrounds?

    What I'd like to know from you guys, is:

    Have you ever encountered any problems encouraging foreign language students to engage in activities?


    If so, what do you think the problem was?


    What did you do to rectify the problem?


    Any info that anyone is willing to share would be greatly appreciated as it would really fuel my research :)
    Lori

  2. #2
    KiwiBelma is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: How do I improve cooperative learning between students of mixed backgrounds?

    In my experience, I found empowering all of the students by asking them to teach the others something about their background, culture or interest, seems to do the trick. So that they're experts at least in the content, if not at expressing it.

    Of course, doing a bit of research on the cultural knowledge as a tutor also helps students to get started, or 'excited' about the topic.

    If you throw in a bit of the native language, that is, if you, as the tutor, speak a few words or expressions in the native languages, all helps to break the ice.

    If all fails, try food . Whether you make a lesson out of buying the ingredients and cooking as a group, or going to a restaurant together. I'm sure there are plenty of Turkish and Chinese restaurants in your neck of the woods.

    Hope this is useful & relevant!

    KiwiBelma

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: How do I improve cooperative learning between students of mixed backgrounds?

    Give them time to adjust- I had a student who stood up when I came into the room as in his country (not China) that's what they did (this was in a university). I said there was no need, and he did it for a few days, but by the end of the course, he was lounging around and calling me by my first name- I just let him adjust at his own speed. Students who come from a different educational background will find it strange- they may want to avoid participation at first, but that does not necessarily mean that they are excluded- they will be thinking and analysing what is going on and how the very different system works. Try to make an environment where they can feel comfortable and can start participating when they're ready. Quite often, they're not neglected or intimidated, but simply adjusting.

  4. #4
    LoriSyme is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: How do I improve cooperative learning between students of mixed backgrounds?

    Thanks guys! The project is coming along nicely, just reading about other teachers experiences at the moment, but it really helps to acquire information from you guys too :)

    Thanks again
    x

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