Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Interacting in the Classroom

Having spent year and plus one half-term so far taking an evening class in accounting at college, I have began to pinpoint some observations about classroom interactions, that felt really noticable this week.

We're currently preparing for the first exam for this course, and on Monday's tutorial the tutor gave every student a practice paper to work on in class, that we could do using our books and notes to help and being allowed to discuss the questions with fellow students.

What I noticed particularly on Monday, although I've been noticing this generally since I began studying is how much my fellow students socialise by conferring and discussing the work during the tutorial, and how much they like to compare answers or exchange knowledge from each other when doing excersizes in class. I noticed this particularly on Monday as the tutorial was orientated towards doing a practice exam paper.

Usually, some of the students will ask me "is this right?," or "have you got this?"... during class, and I apperciate that because it shows they must have some regard for me. I always try and help when they ask, and sometimes I feel I do hit the mark by sharing knowledge correctly and interacting well. However, quite often someone might ask about question 2.2b, and I have to say "sorry I haven't read it through yet."  It often takes three reads to really understand the question and focus on it properly. But yes, I try hard to fit in with their way of learning.

Now I consider it perfectly natural to want to discuss the work and share ideas about it, with perhaps a bit of conferrnig outside the tutorial. However what seems bizarre and illogical to me is the extent to which fellow student do this. Considering that all the accountancy exams have to be taken alone, and considering that there are clear notes, explanations, and answers available in the textbooks, which the tutor is able to clarify where necessary, why do students spend so much time conferring with each other on questions, rather than just quietly get on with the work and refer their textbooks for help? Why go to an still-learning student for help who is at the same level as you and has a 50% chance of getting the answer right, when there's a textbook in front of you that is 100% correct?

It just doesn't make sense!

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