Our classroom culture

Is there evidence of an [ATL] classroom culture & if so, what aspects of the classroom culture are particularly striking & significant?

According to Holliday (2002), ‘culture refers to cohesive behaviour as a basic feature of the human condition’, each I think means that any ‘human unit’ will have some sort of operational principle that informs its thoughts, actions and interactions with other ‘units’ – by units, I mean either individuals or groups, such as family, societies, ethnic groups, nationalities, etc. The combination of cohesive behaviours within a social group defines its culture. Therefore, I suppose the answer to the question above is, ‘Yes, we do have a culture in our classroom.’ The amalgam of our seven individual small cultures creates a unique pattern of behaviour in class that is manifest in the language we use, in the spoken and unspoken ground rules and the way individuals react to the disruption of their own personal values and beliefs.

The second part of the question requires a bit more complex answer though.

If I had to define in one word the culture of our classroom, I’d say that this is a culture of learning. Obviously, each of us has its own learning agendas, learn in different ways and in diverse degrees of depth and you cannot really say how much or what a person is learning but I think I have observed some slight nuances of changes in behaviour even in the more conservative among us. I suppose slowly people are realising that they should have more questions than answers and are starting to question their own positions.

As for myself, I have been learning a lot from my tutors,  my colleagues,  my discussions in the group and with Ed, my reflections in the review task and in this blog. There are moments in class when I try to step out of myself and I try to see the ‘game’ played in third person – as if observing myself.  I try to imagine how the others see me and in doing so I’m learning to evaluate my own contributions and attitudes. It’s quite a funny thing to do – most intriguing indeed.

It is clear from what I’ve written so far that my own perceptions and assumptions heavily influence what I perceive to be the dominant trait of our classroom, especially because I think I have never learnt so much in such a short period of time in my life before.

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