Team-Based Learning in Introductory Translation Courses

Team-Based Learning in Introductory Translation Courses

Melissa Wallace (University of Texas – San Antonio, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6615-3.ch002


This chapter explores the implementation of a teaching and learning strategy that lends itself propitiously to social constructivist-oriented introductory translation courses. Team-based learning, a methodology developed by Michaelsen, Knight, and Fink (2004) that purports to foster accountability, cohesion, and solidarity among fixed work teams proved itself to be ideally suited to the undergraduate translation studies environment according to the results of a survey-driven assessment tool. Students revealed their perceptions of the effectiveness of learning teams – teams that were assessed in general for a specific course's course components and learning outcomes as well as in relation to the core make-up of the learning teams themselves. The chapter describes a variety of empowerment-building assignments as well as discusses the implementation of team-based learning in this context. Finally, the degree to which the methodology contributed to students' perceptions of their learning experience is examined.
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Setting And Premises

To begin, the design of SPA 470 hinged on a basic premise: that experimenting (in the sense of trying new pedagogies, new assignments, and new ways of assessing) on and with students is fun and important work. If an instructor values the idea of stimulating a culture of research (as important at the undergraduate level as at the graduate level), then a commitment to experimentation on students liberates all stakeholders in the learning process.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Low-Stakes Assessments and Activities: Activities or assessments that count for little or even nothing at all towards the student’s grade in the class. These activities and assessments prepare students for the types of challenges that they will see on higher-stakes assessments by effectively offering a practice run. They are formative in nature.

Authentic Texts: Texts which are real or prototypical, and which are representative both in terms of specialization and text type ( Biel, 2011 , pp. 167-169).

Empowerment: Providing opportunities for students to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes. Empowerment is a social process that fosters power in people for use in their own lives (and by extensions, in their own educations) by allowing to act on issues they define as important.

Solution Paths: A logically connected sequence of steps used to solve a problem.

High-Impact Learning Experience: An educational experience in which students actively pose and solve problems, work collaboratively in a community of peers, experience real-world applications of knowledge, and reflection on their own learning processes 19 AU46: Endnote Reference 19 . In this chapter, the extent to which an educational experience is considered to be “high-impact” depends on the student’s perception of his/her experience, not on any empirical measurement of success.

Metacognition: Higher-order thinking which leads to awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes.

Metalanguage: Language that describes language.

Constructivism: A pedagogical approach in which students construct their own knowledge in student-centered (as opposed to teacher-driven) classrooms.

Student-Centered Classes: Student-centered instruction “will favour interaction and will provide a stimulus for learner autonomy. In this setting the passive and silent translation student becomes an active participant in classes where pair and group work are carried out” ( González Davies, 2005 AU47: The citation "González Davies, 2005" matches the reference "Gonzalez Davies, 2005", but an accent or apostrophe is different. , p. 70).

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