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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Inadvertantly left out of the conversation.

Today during class (comprised of US students on my program) the teacher and some of the students were talking about an activity we are going to do later this week.  They were discussing whether we should do it this week as planned, or move the activity to next week.  That much I understood, but they were talking much more than that, discussing the merits of doing it at the different times, discussing which they would prefer, and chatting about I-don't-know-what. 

 At the end, I told them that I hadn't understood whatever it was they were talking about.  They told me that we were going to keep the activity this week as planned, and that was all I really needed to know.  But, that's not all I really needed to know.  I wanted to be informed on the merits of one day over the other just as much as the others did.  I felt lost without knowing the discussion they all had just had.  Since I was there, I understood some of it, but I didn't understand the details.  And more than not understanding, the thing that made me upset was them telling me that they had decided on a date for the activity without my consent, despite the fact that the teacher had made the pretense of having us discusses it.  In reality, only two out of the five people in the class were active participants in this discussion.

The message I take home from this is, make sure everyone is an active participant.  I guess sometimes there isn't enough time to make sure everyone understands everything, but as a teacher you should definitely make an effort to include all the students in the conversation, not just the most able students.  Especially if the student actively solicits clarification as I did, the teacher should make an effort to include the student in the conversation.  To me it felt like I was being excluded from the conversation.  When they were done discussing it the door was closed and I wasn't allowed to join in.  Sure, they gave me the highlights, but none of the details or reasoning.  If I were to just think about it on the surface, I wouldn't see the specific details as being that important.  But the fact that I was not privy to the details (despite the fact that I was right there when they were being talked about) made me realize how important the little details are if you want to feel truly included in the conversation.


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