Flip and Retrofit University Lecture Theatre Into Caribbean Classrooms: Turning Teacher Education and Training Inside-Out

Flip and Retrofit University Lecture Theatre Into Caribbean Classrooms: Turning Teacher Education and Training Inside-Out

Paulette Joyce Feraria (The University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8142-0.ch003
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Caribbean students and teachers in training in a university setting explored teaching and learning in a new dialogic wall-less classroom space in their dual roles as teachers and learners in flipped classroom assessment spaces. This chapter explores how placing university course delivery and assessment within a television teaching-learning studio registered a shift from the usual top-down classroom practice (teach-learn-test) towards synchronous teacher and student inquiry, innovation, experiment, and assessment. Flipping print-rich classrooms into performance-rich classrooms and regular classrooms and lecture theatres into a television learning studio resulted in teacher-student and secondary students role reversals as teachers and learners, symbiotic learning and the strengthening of teacher pedagogy. The findings are indicating that the flipped classroom is a cognitive space that can be retrofitted into teacher- and student-created media spaces for sustainable practice in teacher education and assessment that support alternative pathways to teaching and learning.
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There has been much talk about student-centred classrooms and students being in control of their own learning. Such notions, even with good intentions, create tensions in classrooms as the power relations between teachers and students are never equal. Students expect teachers to take charge and to teach; teachers expect students to learn and to know who is in charge! Everyday classroom spaces are clearly not ideal for teachers to become learners and learners to be teachers in role reversals that lead to both learner and teacher empowerment. There was need for a physical but wall -less space that merged teachers’ learning, students’ learning, syllabus inquiry, research and innovation.

Learning Language and Literacy in a Creole-Speaking Environment

Craig (1999) argues that children learning English in English-based Caribbean Creole classroom settings are faced with several challenges: the language which carries out their communicative functions at home, in the wider society and the new languages of social media are not the target language in schools; their receptive skills in English lag behind their productive skills and as a result many, while they understand (to some extent) spoken and written English do not speak English and cannot write in English. Craig (2006) notes that the Mother Tongue and the Intentionally Accepted English (IAE) have certain features in common. English is the “lexifier’ language that gives the vocabulary and lexis and it is also in the position as a second language (L2) since the vernacular or Mother Tongue is itself the first language (L1). This linguistic relationship has given rise to lexifier L2 characteristics known to the learner and those still to be learned. Craig categories these into four theoretical classes A-D: characteristics actively known, those used only under stress, those known passively; and those yet to be known. While these classes are treated as theoretical categories by Craig, they present a clear case for the need for “classroom” encounters that make room for learning and using English. This theoretical classification provides a framework for charting new communicative spaces that activate the spontaneous use of English. Craig’s work initiates these classroom encounters that are yet to be explored.

In addition to this linguistic relationship between the L1 and L2 in English based Creole-speaking environments, attitudes towards the Mother Tongue as a broken and bad language, which have been fortified by the aftermath of the colonial encounter, continue to impact language learning. More recently Kowengberg (2001) has argued that there are new and emerging attitudes towards English as a language for ‘sissies’ that are posing greater challenges for the teaching and learning of English in regular classroom settings. A recent intervention by the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, to engage secondary school children across the island in an English Olympiad under the theme “Targeting English for global communications” has also revealed that regular classroom spaces are not the ideal settings for targeting English as teachers continue to teach English through comparison and contrast with Jamaican Creole. Very little attempts have been made at teaching the target language through immersion and sustained use. There was a need for alternative learning spaces that could facilitate and nurture the sustained use of English in schools thus making English more visible and audible. Bryan (2010) concurs with this idea.

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