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Classroom or Clashroom? Learners’ Diversity and Construction of Learners

We [teachers] tend to perceive classroom as a homogeneous venue consisting of homogeneous individuals. It's not! The presentation aims to make us [teachers] aware that classroom is a complex discourse which shapes the identity of learners and that teachers have 'power' to manage/direct the discourse.

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Classroom or Clashroom? Learners’ Diversity and Construction of Learners

  1. 1. Classroom or Clashroom? Learners’ diversity and construction of learners Ardian Setiawan
  2. 2. What do you think?
  3. 3. 17, 508 islands 234 million people 300 distinct native ethnic groups 742 languages and dialects Classroom – learners’ diversity
  4. 4. • 45% of Australian were born or have at least one parent born overseas. • from more than 200 countries – speak almost 300 different languages (including 50 indigenous languages) • Various customs (and religious practices) (Commonwealth of Australia 2009)
  5. 5. It’s likely that you will teach diverse classes – individuals Challenge ---> Inclusive teaching? Classroom
  6. 6. Clash of civilization (Huntington, 1992) the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural Culture as a source of conflict or ‘clash’ Culture in classroom? What else? Classroom or Clashroom?
  7. 7. 1. Classroom as a complex venue/discourse – shaping learners’ identity 2. What is identity? Learners’ identity? 3. Gender --- related issues and pedagogical considerations 4. Ethnicity 5. Religion 6. Race --- subtle 7. Socioeconomic background 8. Cultural background Outline
  8. 8. Classrooms – ‘complex social systems’ (Cazden, 2001, p. 54) Gender Ethnicity Religion Race Socioeconomic background Cultural backgrounds …. Literacy? Intellectuality? Classroom - complexity
  9. 9. Classroom is: the site of various forms of dialogical interaction. Taken together, engagement in such dialogues results in experiences for students that can impact positively or negatively on their personal and social identities. (Stables, 2003, p. 1) classroom shapes learners’ identity Classroom - identity
  10. 10. Do we [teachers] have the ‘power’ to manage classroom? A miniature of the society: teachers --- power ‘To describe the difference in the bluntest terms, teachers have the right to speak at any time and to any person; they can fill any silence or interrupt any speaker; they can speak to a student anywhere in the room and in any volume or tone of voice. And no one has any right to object’ (Cazden, 2001, p. 54). Classroom - teachers
  11. 11. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 Identity Social Science Citation Index – SSCI Journal HOWEVER The concept of identity not clearly defined (Beijaard, Meijer, & Verloop, 2004; Beauchamp & Thomas, 2009; Mockler, 2011)
  12. 12. from social psychology: WHO ARE YOU? WHO AM I? (Vignoles, Schwartz, & Luyckx, 2011) Sense of self – which includes self-esteem Nature --- Identity is both personal and social (relational and collective) Identity
  13. 13. Learners’ identity? Students’ sense of themselves Similarly, it is both personal and social. Constructed by the learners themselves and the society (others in the society) ---- peer students and teachers … and classroom [but teachers have power] Leaners’ identity
  14. 14. Gender bias There exists a widespread assumption that the transmission of knowledge is, by and large, free of gender bias and that therefore in coeducational institutions of learning girls and boys receive equal education. (Abraham & Sommerkorn, 1995) We [teachers] sometimes/often make assumptions regarding behaviours, abilities, or preferences of students based on their gender. Treating students differently? No… Gender - Classroom
  15. 15. Gender Inequalities in the College Classroom (Colombia University) A large body of research shows that instructors: Call on male students more frequently than female students. Are more likely to use male students’ names when calling upon students and in attributing ideas advanced in discussion. Ask male students more abstract questions and female students more factual questions. Are less likely to elaborate upon points made by female students. Gender - Classroom
  16. 16. What to do? Pedagogical level Content – selection of materials Process – activities Be sensitive to the gender dynamics in the classroom. Gender - Classroom
  17. 17. Ethnicity - Classroom 300 ethnic groups
  18. 18. Ethnicity - Classroom 300 ethnic groups Case – example: teaching Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian Language) – a compulsory subject in the national curriculum. Different ethnic groups --- different ethnic languages We use and speak Bahasa Indonesia differently
  19. 19. Teaching religion – teaching about religion If religion is discussed in classroom, address minority and majority religions. The Discussion should be sensitive to the beliefs of students Get accurate information about different religions Different religions, different religious practices – respect Religion - Classroom
  20. 20. What’s race? race - an intricate concept ‘an imagined/social construct imposed upon individuals’ (Liggett, 2009). In everyday discourse, race is usually thought as physically observable human characteristics such as skin colour, hair colour, facial characteristics, etc. (Kubota & Lin, 2009). Race - Classroom
  21. 21. Racism in the class --- Subtle… problematic What is the effect? The Doll test Ms. Jane Elliott's "brown eyes, blue eyes" experiment (1970) Race - Classroom
  22. 22. Racial stereotypes Florida is ‘lowering the bar’ for students of particular racial backgrounds. Race - Classroom
  23. 23. Students are socioeconomically diverse. Can we hide/avoid it? Case – the white-yellow uniform Socioeconomic Bg. - Classroom
  24. 24. Socioeconomic Bg. - Classroom Case – the white-yellow uniform
  25. 25. Culturally diverse Cultural Bg. - Classroom
  26. 26. On a school level: Schools --- ‘agents for social cohesion within the community’ (Burridge & Chodkiewicz, 2007, p. 6) Promoting greater understanding of cultural diversity among students. On a pedagogical/class level: this is our job! Teachers must meet the learning needs of students from diverse backgrounds. Addressing diversity
  27. 27. Classroom is a complex venue. The discourse shapes learners’ identity. To deliver inclusive teaching practices, teachers must be sensitive to --- various aspects such as gender, ethnicity, religion, race, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. --- etc. Conclusion
  28. 28. Thank you

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We [teachers] tend to perceive classroom as a homogeneous venue consisting of homogeneous individuals. It's not! The presentation aims to make us [teachers] aware that classroom is a complex discourse which shapes the identity of learners and that teachers have 'power' to manage/direct the discourse.


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