Building a school response in times of confinement requires teachers who understand the new trends and cultural routines of relationship and communication.
There are a number of elements and formats of cultural information that students use avidly. Social networks, memes, distribution lists, podcasts, twists , transmedia narratives … become communicative conventions of habitual use and a necessary presence in a teaching that does not turn its back on reality.
Part of the success of some educational proposals in confinement is explained precisely because teachers have understood that using an online teaching platform and tools requires a different job than a synchronous encounter. They assume that the languages are specific and the communicative logic different.
Our students move with familiarity between these objects and cultural tools of communication. They turn to videos, tutorials, online books, learning platforms, social networks, emails, video calls … They connect using the new languages and show their creations with satisfaction.
Let’s remember the viral video, from months ago, on social media ( #BetterWorldDay ), in which a student, in the midst of social isolation and as a service to the community, composes and performs the song in collaboration (online) with other students: “ Make the World Bette r ”(Make the world better).
Teaching cannot be placed outside this cultural reality and ignore the use of new communication formats. The curriculum would become exclusive, it would stay out of what is happening around it. Students need these vaguely Identified cultural objects to train as critical citizens and professionals.
They represent better than other products the way to remix genres and tell stories from different platforms. Our young people must be able to use them with a critical sense and, in this way, participate in the social construction of a common good.
This situation and these already known reflections make an appearance, suddenly and with all their force, at the beginning of the third quarter of the 2019-2020 school year and lead Engracia Rubio (Spanish Language and Literature teacher in the third year of ESO at IES Torre Atalaya de Málaga) to create an online educational resource , open.
For its preparation, it used the virtual editing tool ( eXelearning ) available on the portal of the National Center for Curricular Development in Non-Proprietary Systems (CEDEC) .
This resource and the pedagogical project adopt the name of “ Windows from confinement ”. It is a response to the demands made by distance learning, online and in accordance with what is established in the official curriculum for the subject of Spanish Language and Literature.
As we advanced in the previous entry , this tool is created to work on communicative competence and specifically the compression and production of different textual types. It was intended to facilitate the learning of oral and written comprehension and expression skills.
Engracia Rubio in the following video explains the meaning, structure and sequence of this learning project and for professional collaboration.
As Engracia Rubio comments, the idea arose when she wanted to connect with the most everyday experiences of her students. In confinement, the collective and synchronized behavior of leaning out of the window to clap, drink coffee, or even talk with neighbors was a very suggestive image.
This situation would serve as a metaphor for him. The symbolism of the windows opening to communication made full educational sense. Mastering meanings and communication skills could be considered a valuable learning object. The descriptive, narrative, dialogued, instructive, expository and argumentative textual typologies were configured as suitable subject for study.
Engracia got down to business and structured the resource around this metaphor. Each section, symbolized by a different window, opened a new space of possibilities. Behind it was the foundation, the tasks of compression, textual analysis and creation of the final product with which to test and verify the domain achieved in order to express different intentions and purposes. So that the announced possibilities were a fact.
If we browse the following website we will be able to observe the organization and the sequence mentioned, the rationale, the tasks of comprehensive analysis and creation of original productions, and the evaluation procedures and tools.
Engracia Rubio goes to the virtual classroom platform, used during confinement (in this case Google Classroom ), and shows us some comments from the students about the usefulness of this resource.
- Student 1 (May 6): “It seems to me a very fun way to work. Many teachers send a PDF with activities and let’s study! This way it is more enjoyable. To me I liked it a lot. A greeting”.
- Engracia Rubio (May 6): “Thank you (…) my main interest is that you train, that’s why whatever you doubt, ask me. In class it is easier to be able to guide you, in the distance it becomes a little complicated, but I’m going to be with you ”.
- Student 2 (May 7): “I think this way of working is very good. I think it is simple and easy to follow. I think it would be good to continue working in this way since it is difficult for us and everything is very well explained. Visually I also think it is very good since it is all very intuitive and easy to find ”.
- Student 3 (May 7): “Teacher, I am really liking this unit, especially the way we are doing it through this website.” (…)
In the confinement circumstances, it was important to emotionally connect the experiences of the students and the family environment with the aspirations of the teacher and those promoted by the project.
For this reason, it begins by encouraging the listening of the song “ When you are here ”, by its Malaga countryman, composer and singer, Pablo Alborán.
They are invited to reflect on the text of the letter related to confinement, and to carry out a first textual analysis and even a first creation, in this case, more literary than others: write their own verses related to the feelings generated by confinement .
Reading the students’ productions allowed us to consider that they had managed to connect with their emotions.
Engracia Rubio comments … “I really liked this first activity because they commented on the situation they were experiencing. They talked about the responsibility they should have for their elders, their relatives, their family, their friends … I think that from that beginning I already hooked up with them emotionally, which was something quite attractive and motivating to continue with the next task ”.
Thus they entered fully into the study of textual typologies. First, they were asked to tell in words what they were seeing from their window . In this way, the descriptive texts begin to work .
This section, this first window, is supported by a series of foundation references and complementary information on linguistic resources (adjectives, enumeration, comparison, metaphor …). Furthermore, a first task of analysis and consolidation of the resources studied and then invite them to create descriptive texts , supported by a series of example references.
The instruction provided for the creation of the descriptive text was the following: “Now it’s your turn. Lean out of your window and make a brief description (200 to 250 words minimum) of what you see. Use the literary description and gradually incorporate each of the linguistic and literary resources explained. Do not forget to follow an order: from the general to the particular, from the near to the distant, from top to bottom, or vice versa … ”.
“The results were nice and they were significant from what they saw. And they were faced with a description that, in this case, was responding very well to the results that I asked of them and they felt very comfortable, ”says Engracia Rubio.
This first window closed with the corresponding evaluation rubric . The structure is maintained throughout the entire resource, section by section, to work with each and every one of the different types of texts.
Confinement was an atypical situation for the students. However, it was not the first time in history that circumstances forced an involuntary confinement.
What was sought when ‘opening a new window’ was to work with narrative texts and to be able to express the emotions and feelings that invaded them in their present. Being able to use the precise linguistic tools to express feelings related to such a relevant situation.
Once the grounding theory has been provided, they are encouraged to carry out a first job of analysis of a literary text. Anne Frank’s diary was chosen. A story that many of them already knew, that they had read in class throughout the course or in previous courses.
The Diary of Anne Frank tells the story of a German girl of Jewish descent who spent almost two and a half years in hiding from the Nazis during World War II. Knowing more about the history of this young woman and reflecting on this fact was the argument used to work on and with narrative texts.
The newspaper as a literary format would serve as a stimulus to delve into the story of a young woman, almost her age, who had experienced a similar situation. Giving them a reference text gave them security.
With it they could discover a way of writing, the linguistic elements used, identify in which voice it was written, what terms were used, how the story is planned … In short, it helps them to develop their own narratives.
The final product that was proposed to them was to write a letter to the coronavirus narrating what their life was like before and how it is now, how it had changed … They also had an evaluation rubric with which to identify important reference criteria. They always had the possibility of sending the letter to Engracia, who returned it with additional information for their improvement.
Another window opens to study, in this case, on oral comprehension and expression. The purpose is to work with dialogues. Again, the usual structure unfolds. Students have a short theoretical introduction, which is intended to remind people of concepts already studied; in addition to encouraging them to make notes, make annotations and make their own references. Next, other tasks are formulated that require an even more active role of the student in their learning.
On this occasion, two references and some questions are provided for analysis. The first is a written interview ” Nando López: ‘Adolescents are the great forgotten in the quarantine’ ” and the second called “Confined Notes”, which includes a video interview with the Malaga musician Pablo Alborán .
They are then asked to prepare a draft of an interview to be carried out on their part, which they will then reproduce orally. This would be the final product.
Orality was another expressive modality that they would address. For this reason, the creation they undertake is to devise, write and carry out a radio interview, as a podcast , about confinement. They could do it with a family member, a partner or a partner.
This was a familiar format for them; Throughout the course Engracia asks them to make an audio review of the reading book for the term. They finished this work by formally structuring an interview and asking questions pertinent to the situation they were going through.
“Of course, there are many things to correct, the language is more colloquial than formal, but in reality they are putting those language skills into practice again. They are also in a more relaxed context, the family context and they meet the expectations of this production ”, says Engracia.
Again they have a rubric that they can consult in advance to see exactly what is being asked of them.