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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

Learning Environment Design - Pursuit of Real "Learning"

Ms. Erika Hatsumi
1st year student in the Master Program of the Graduate School of Japanese Applied Linguistics

Those who work in the field of education have the mission to tackle the problem of how to motivate learners to "learn." To discuss this problem, this lecture begins with the review of the underlying problem of "what is learning."

Is "learning" the phenomenon that occurs only when a teacher teaches a piece of knowledge to a learner? Learners are the people who act voluntarily like teachers. The place produced by such people as a community is a classroom.

When recognizing a learner as a "thinking one," "learning" can be defined as "the process in which a 'thinking one' introspects and grows through the interaction with other people and objects (tools)."

Scene of group discussion. Center: Professor Yoko Tateoka. Rightmost: Author.

Scene of group discussion. Center: Professor Yoko Tateoka. Rightmost: Author.

In the case of a Japanese-language classroom, a "thinking one" tries every kind of communication activity by using the tool of the Japanese language in the social place called a classroom.

A teacher must take the roles as the one who "assists" learners in "learning," and consider how to design concrete classroom activities for helping learners "learn." In this lecture, we discuss "peer reading," which is practiced by Professor Tateoka, as a concrete example of learning design. "Peer reading" means the activity in which learners cooperate with one another to peruse texts. Through this activity, each learner sees various ways of reading, introspects his/her own way of reading, and reconstructs his/her ways.

The students who aim to become teachers are also "thinking ones," and so this lecture provides students with the opportunity to make discussions almost every time. In this semester, students discussed various subjects, including the rethinking of the common sense of "basic to application" and the criticism against cram education. Through this class, I myself could introspect my own way of thinking, and nurture new me. Needless to say, teachers' "learning" is essential for assisting learners in "learning" in a better way.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)