ADOPTING EXPLORATORY PRACTICE IN A COLLEGE EFL CLASS: TOWARD RECIPROCAL COLLABORATION AND REFLECTION
As globalization is progressing, English has become an important subject in Japan. Although developing higher-order thinking skills through debates and presentations are emphasized, entrance examinations still require rote-learning and detailed grammatical points. Even in college EFL, many universities designate course syllabus and teaching materials in often traditional ways of teaching. Along with long years of teaching in both liberal arts and science fields, the author has realized the importance of teacher beliefs and how to reflect them in assigned classes. Applying a holistic way of teaching is one example, which includes reaction papers, discussion, presentation, and a group-project to raise learners’ awareness and knowledge. This paper begins with a brief explanation of English teaching in Japan. Then, what exploratory practice means and why it is necessary in professional development is discussed. Next, how the presenter’s teacher beliefs have reflected to actual teaching will be demonstrated with several concrete examples. Finally, it will be discussed that collaboration and reflection in exploratory practice works reciprocally; one way is for teacher’s reflection on teaching, and for learners, it will be reflection on their own learning and hopefully their sustainable learning styles. Students’ actual comments on reflection will be introduced. Thus teachers can learn from learners and eventually both can collaborate toward a better ‘quality of life’.
Keywords: teacher belief, collaboration and reflection, holistic way of teaching, exploratory practice (EP).
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