Small groups will make ya jump jump
The traditional classroom environment works for a lot of people.
It’s been that way for quite a while and it works for certain situations. A teacher stands at the top of the room, instructing students in the given subject and they duly take notes. There’s no easier way to teach 40 eager young minds at once ( imagine trying to keep the attention of children through Skype. Not happening).
There aren’t too many options in school when you have to teach large groups or when there’s a standardized curriculum.
Thankfully, most of us don’t learn in classes of 40 people. We’re not in school anymore and we’re all individuals, so we shouldn’t try to adjust to what’s good enough for most people, but find out what’s perfect for ourselves. Not everyone learns the same way or is interested in the same topics. Class schedules are usually so broad that nobody is offended or excluded from joining the lesson, but on the other hand, nobody is really into any topic.
And then you get classes about water. Water? Yeah….That’s pretty safe, there aren’t too many people who hate water. If you’re not a water sommelier (!) however, chances are it’s not the most fascinating topic for you. No disrespect to the water fanatics out there.
One on one classes are often great to focus on something you like, small groups are groovy as well. You can direct the conversation or join up with people who share your interests. You have to be able to talk. You need an environment you want to join and surroundings that will allow you to join. That just doesn’t happen as much if you’re in a crowd that’s being directed by someone else, or if the group is too big.
Ever notice that sitcoms generally have at least three (or two-and-a-half) people in every scene? That’s because conversation works best with around three people: ideas flow and two people think while one person talks. Bigger groups coming together works great as well, but usually the actual conversations happen in smaller groups.
The logic for learning in small groups outside of the classroom is similar. Conversation flows naturally and students are encouraged to express themselves, rather than being confined by the structure of a textbook. Take grammar as an example. Students learn first person singular through to third person plural. This pattern is repeated through all the verbs. But how many times does a student use any of those verbs in practical situations?
“I jump, you jump, he/she jumps, we jump…” We jump? When does that ever happen? If you’re at a 90s party somewhere in Berlin, that’s an entirely different story.
Kris Kros will make ya jump jump. That’s a fact.
The beauty of conversing in natural situations is that you use the relevant verbs again and again. They become ingrained without you ever knowing it. And by repeating them, you’re learning verb structures, both stems and endings. Students begin to learn how to construct verbs from the patterns they see in other verbs, rather than rote learning. That’s part of the logic of learning outside of class.
How do you know if it works for you?
If you want to be kept up-to date on what’s happening, then sign up for the newsletter in the sidebar or here. This project will be be awesome because of participation and contribution by awesome people (you are awesome). If you want to host an event, write a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll set it up in the calendar.