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Collaborative Learning

Updated: Jan 18

Visiting my old university last weekend was fun, but also an opportunity to reflect on teaching methods.


The first time, as a student, I was asked my opinion about an author or a text, was at Glasgow University.


The first time I had the opportunity to properly discuss ideas in a classroom was at Glasgow University.  


The first time I was given the opportunity to criticise a renowned work of literature was at Glasgow University.  


I was 22 years old, doing an MA as part of an Erasmus Exchange Programme with Nanterre Université, and Shakespeare was my major. And up until that point, learning had been mostly a passive experience.


I had opinions about what I was studying, but I wasn’t meant to express those neither in class nor in writing. I never once did while being educated in France.


What I learned to do instead, and can still do in my sleep, is to argue a point objectively, taking myself out of the equation. In fact, in those days (and I do hope it has changed since), I would have been penalised, had I written down my opinion in an essay.


Needless to say, that when I arrived in Glasgow, I was astonished. Not to mention the fact that the university is a stunning place, especially when compared to a series of concrete blocks which make the Nanterre campus!


I know for a fact that my approach to teaching was influenced by my time in Glasgow and, a year later, in Dublin, while studying at Trinity College. Teaching to me is inherently collaborative, with room for opinions and flexibility.


In fact, I spend an enormous of time and energy showing my students how to unlearn passive studying/learning, by leaving grammar books behind and embracing conversation, by trusting their instinct and, crucially, by shaping the language to their needs, so they own the process and are in charge.

Don't hesitate to send me your questions.

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