The Use Of Exploratory Practice As A Form Of Collaborative


22 shared by two other teachers. Students needed to pass courses before they could be considered for enrolment onto their chosen MA programmes in various fields at the University of Leicester. Why and how the principles of EP were used The principles of EP were applied to first understand the reasons for students reluctance take responsibility for their learning outside class, and ultimately this led to the development of strategies to enhance the students teaching and learning experience. The learners personal commitment to autonomous learning was investigated so that learners and teacher together could share their understandings and identify any mismatch in expectations (Dar, 2008) before aempting to close any gap that became apparen The collaborative exploration took the form of the pre-​existing pedagogical activities of classroom discussions and homework tasks via email. At the start of each class students took part in an informal pairwork warm up activity where they were asked to share their opinions on topics that the teacher would sues and these were usually intended to make explicit links to learning that took place in previous sessions. At the beginning of the course, the students and the teacher had agreed that during these regular pair-​work activities the teacher would be listening and making notes on both form and content for subsequent whole-​class feedback. The intention was that they could practise their language skills while the teacher monitored and noted common language errors for subsequent whole-​class feedback. In line with Principle 7, students were asked in the warm-​up discussion to ask your partner if they have completed their homework. If the answer is no, ask why? The same question was then discussed as apairwork activity at the start of every session on adaily basis for about 10 – 15 minutes. The reasons that emerged in the discussions were surprisin For instance, it had been assumed that students had sufficient IT skills to complete some of the homework which involved loing onto the universitys student virtual learning environment lackboard) to access materials, and knowledge of how to carry out online research for classroom topics that had been set for homework. Another surprise was the following student comment: Idont have enough time for homework Ireach home at 5pm my cooking take 3 hours… The teacher realised that students needed time to sele into their new environmen so perhaps unrealistic targets had been set because it had been assumed that everyone had had sufficient time and support to adjust to their new surroundings in the UK. For example, some students stated that they were trying to find abalance between their homework and domestic duties, while others were anxious about their children seling into school or leaving them at home to be cared for by their partner without the support of their extended family or housekeeper, and one student said that he didnt like using computers. What emerged, then, was not that these students were unwilling to engage in study and preparation between classes, or that they held the expectation that it was the teachers job to teach them during the lesson and this would be sufficien Rather, it became apparent that they felt that practical reasons which had lile to do with such expectations prevented them from studying between classes. The reasons were connected to constraints in their personal 21 while aresearcher (albeit apractitioner researcher) makes an intervention and evaluates its outcome, whilst wrestling with the ethical problems of experimental intrusions into naturalistic seings. Neither does it stop while ateacher tries out aquestionnaire that she has designed or found, for example, in her learners class time. The aim of EP in the search for understanding is to use classroom activities that would have taken place anyway, so that they form part of the on-​going learning programme. Finally, let us consider the term indefinitely sustainable. While most teachers and learners are only with each other for relatively short periods, their own experiences of teaching and learning have acontinuing history. They will continue to teach and learn after the class has disbanded, sometimes for many years, and while each class is anew experience, understanding can be carried forward and built on. While teacher burn-​out is unfortunately not an uncommon experience, and neither is learner drop-​out as well as failure, all work to beer understand classroom life must support us, not place an additional burden and in this way, it becomes sustainable. In summary, the seven core principles of pp 1. Focus on quality of life as the main issue. 2. Work to understand it before thinking about improving i3. Involve everybody as practitioners developing their own understandings. 4. Work to bring people together in acommon enterprise. 7. Integrate the work for understanding into existing curricular practice to minimise the burden. We now turn to adescription of an Leicester by the teacher in collaboration with the students in that class. The process of deriving the puzzle itself is not described here for reasons of space, but see Allwright & Hanks (2009, p.176) for adiscussion of how puzzles can be derived from on-​going classroom experiences. The study The classroom puzzle that developed out of the experience of teaching anumber of similar university pre-​sessional EAP courses at the same institute was why dont my students take responsibility for their learning outside class? The institution expects students to be set homework activities and homework also tends to be requested by the students themselves. The assumption that they were not taking responsibility was based on evidence that the assigned homework and preparation for the subsequent classes were frequently not being done. The particular class with whom the puzzle was investigated consisted of 12 international students aged 3 male, from Kurdistan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and China, who held BA degrees from their home countries and their current language level was the equivalent of 0 (intermediate/​upper intermediate The author taught hours of the weekly 21 hours of the 10 week pre-​sessional course, and the remainder was