1 Universidad de Antioquia School of Languages Licenciatura en

Universidad de Antioquia
School of Languages
Licenciatura en Lenguas Extranjeras
María Fernanda Bonilla Quiroz
Building up Meaningful Learning in the English Class through Transmediation
Action research report
Thesis, Research and Practicum Advisor:
Master in Education
November 2016
This action research project was carried out at Institución Educativa Juan María Cespedes,
in a 2nd grade classroom in Medellín, Colombia. The main purpose was to explore how
Transmediation could be implemented during the English classes to promote meaningful
learning. Disruptive behavior, school’s calendar activities and class size were features that
influenced the implementation of this project. Nonetheless, adaptation of activities based on
Transmediation to the particular context proved to be effective to aid the English literacy process
and manage discipline issues.
Key words: Transmediation, Meaningful learning, Classroom management, Elementary
Degree Requirement
This action research project is submitted as a requirement for the Bachelor of Education
in Foreign Language Teaching (English-French) at the Escuela de Idiomas, Universidad de
Antioquia, in Medellín, Colombia.
I dedicate this project to my late grandmother Fabiola Tobón de Quiroz who stood beside
me for so many years through the journey of life and supported me in every possible way,
guiding me and teaching me how to become the woman that I am today.
I would like to thank my friends Juan David Castaño, María Angélica Restrepo, Sara
Taborda, Andrés Arredondo and my Japanese teacher Kinuyo Kaneko for helping me grow as a
person. For many years you gave me a shoulder to cry on, and a loving push to climb up and
reach my dreams. Likewise, I thank all the teachers that I met along my studies in the university.
Special acknowledgements go to Zoraida Rodríguez, Maria McNulty, Gloria Hincapié, Cristina
Cadavid and Juan Carlos Guerra, who taught me not only the academic knowledge required to
get my teaching license, but the wisdom to understand my students and myself as a human being,
dear teachers, I salute you.
Last, I thank my family for their unconditional love and strength.
Table of Contents
Context Description
Statement of the Problem
Theoretical Framework
Research Question
Research Objectives
General Objective
Specific Objectives
Action Plan
Development of Actions
Findings and Interpretations
Classroom Management
Literacy Development
Conclusions and Suggestions
As a practicum student and pre-service teacher of elementary students in a public setting,
I found that children are taught English in a traditional way, given only isolated sets of
vocabulary, with no connections to their context and are presented only with opportunities to
transcribe from the board.
In this project, through data collection from different sources and its respective analysis
and the design of classes based on Transmediation, we will see a progression in the acquisition
of the English language with positive outcomes, addressing issues of class management as well.
The process lasted an academic school year, from February to November 2016.
Hopefully, this project may become useful to readers interested in fostering literacy in
elementary students through new literacies, or readers interested in approaching a more
constructive way to promote classroom rules and deal with discipline issues in classes of a big
Context Description
Juan María Céspedes is a public school located in Medellín, in Belen neighborhood. The
institution covers all sectors supported by the Colombian educational system, that is, from
Kindergarten to 11th grade.
The mission is stated as follows:
“The Institución Educativa Juan María Céspedes educates boys, girls and the youth
integrally, promoting a healthy coexistence, satisfying the expectations of community and
society; qualifying permanently the institution’s educational processes1” (Institutional
Educational Project. 2015, p. 6). As we can see, they emphasize on qualification, trying to
constantly fulfill the requirements for the Sistema de Gestión de Calidad (SGC). Furthermore, it
is stated in their vision as an “Educational institution of competent citizens, committed to their
life project, and to building a fairer and more educated society, that can confront the demands of
globalization and contributes to the development of the country2” (Institutional Educational
Project. 2015, p. 7).
Misión. La institución Educativa Juan María Céspedes forma integralmente a niños, niñas y jóvenes en un
ambiente de sana convivencia, satisfaciendo las expectativas de la comunidad y de la sociedad; cualificando
permanentemente los procesos educativos de la institución.
Visión. La Institución Educativa Juan María Céspedes se proyecta al 2015 como una institución formadora de
ciudadanos competentes, comprometidos con su proyecto de vida y la construcción de una sociedad más educada y
justa; que responda a las exigencias de la globalización y contribuya al desarrollo del país.
In addition, the institution offers a holistic education3, based on a social pedagogical
model, which emphasizes on a transcendent conceptual experimental meaningful learning for life.
(Institutional Educational Project. 2015, p. 32).
My project is implemented in an English as a foreign language (EFL) class in a 2nd grade.
The class has 50 students, aged between 6-7 years old. 9 of them have been diagnosed with
learning disabilities, to which some are not being treated or referred by the school to a support
classroom. The classroom has a computer with internet access and a video beam which the
former CT used to occasionally play some videos. The decorations are scarce, having only a
calendar, a set of class rules and an inspirational religious message on the wall. As material aids,
they have a set of wooden flashcards with some vocabulary and they can access six textbooks
provided by the school, which the teacher uses to get copies from. The institution has a
computers’ room which is sometimes used as an English laboratory, but access is limited to
secondary students.
The English syllabus introduces content in Vocabulary Units, in addition to the objectives,
competences and theoretical framework, designed by the English teaching staff. In accordance to
the Institutional project (p.28) it should be introduced in Thematic Units.
The current English teacher holds a Bachelor Degree in Physical Education Teaching
from Universidad de Antioquia, and has been teaching in the public and private sector for 12
years. Previously, they had another English teacher who serves as their homeroom teacher as
well, and has a degree in Elementary Education from Centro Formativo de Antioquia (CEFA).
She has been teaching in the public sector for 20 years. My decision on the research topic came
out from the observations that I did while she was in charge of the English class.
Johnson A. (2005). A short guide to Action Research. Holistic education is based on theories of holism. It is
constructed around the principle of interconnectedness and seeks to integrate multiple levels of meaning and
The English lessons should follow a Class model that encompasses four moments: 1.
Reviewing previous knowledge: Questions about previous topics will be asked; 2. interpreting
new information: The new topic will be introduced. Students will expand it and make a synthesis
implemented as a worksheet or any other class activity; 3. Valuing current information, where
students will critically analyze it; and 4. Evaluation, where assessment tools accepted by the
1290 decree will be applied. (Institutional Educational Project. 2015, p. 34). They must be
student centered and promote critical thinking. Nevertheless, according to the observed, all
stages are not implemented in the EFL class and it is teacher centered. Some of the activities
fostered are: repetition of the vocabulary, transcription, songs and filling in the blanks
worksheets, always resorting to translation as means of explanation of meaning. The teacher
believes grading their written work is important, otherwise students will not be concerned about
fulfilling the activities.
Concerning the affective component, the former English teacher whose classes I observed,
creates a comfortable learning environment where she takes into account their physical,
emotional and cognitive characteristics according to their age to deal with situations and conduct
the class. She claims children enjoy it.
Statement of the Problem
The group in which I implemented my research project has been exposed to sets of
isolated vocabulary which the school refers to as thematic units (Institutional Educational
Project. 2015), and it has been taught in a space lacking of environmental print, which seemed to
me of big importance therefore mentioned in my journal (February 1st):
“On the front wall, there is a poster with the classroom rules. On the back, a calendar
hangs on the wall. There is no more decoration.”
Taking into account Hudelson’s definition of literacy as the construction of meaning, and
not only the ability to read and write, but reading as a language process in which an individual
constructs meaning through a transaction with written text, and writing as language process in
which an individual creates meaning by using symbols to construct a written text, it has been
accounted in previous class observations that there is not a balance in the reinforcement of the
skills needed to foster literacy in the classroom. The majority of the activities developed in this
EFL class are based on transcription and translation provided by the teacher, as registered in the
following extract from February 8th:
“We can see the following written on the board: What is your name? Cual es tu nombre?,What is
your favorite pet? ¿Cuál es tu mascot favorita? […] The teacher instructs them to answer the
questions. She uses translation for every question the students have.”
Students do not seem to be able to recall or use any of the vocabulary worked on the
lessons, constantly asking for translation and input from the teacher, as registered in my journal
entry from February 5th about the behavior of one of the children:
“As I sit writing down my observations, a girl comes and asks me the meaning of every
word in the worksheet.”
Examining my journals, I have no records of any reading and writing activities that have
been done by the pupils, taking into account Shin and Crandall’s (2014) definition of reading and
writing done by students as when they should be able to read independently and begin learning to
read for pleasure and for the purpose of getting information. How far could this be promoted in
our specific context?
In the process of integrating my beliefs, theory explored during my courses and previous
practices in teaching children, I have come to the conclusion that the young learners will acquire
the language at faster rate if learning has been supported by visual aids and contextualization.
Furthermore, Curtain & Dahlberg (2010) stated that the brain is always searching for meaning
and meaningfulness always occurs within a context. Children must be in tune with the
environmental print, which Hudelson defines as the print in the world around them.
According to the depicted problematic situation, and citing Shin and Crandall (2014),
teachers should work on a constructivist approach to reading and writing (which I believe can be
applied to the other skills as well) where students and teachers together create through a proper
modeling. Also, 2nd graders are entering the stage of concrete operations according to Piaget
(1963) as cited by Curtain & Dahlberg, where using language to exchange information becomes
more important, so it is possible to interact and convey meaning from these interactions.
For my first classes, I decided to start working with an introductory greetings song and
tasks based on reading images alone and some text and images from big books related to the
topics in the Syllabus for the 1st term, and most important related to their context. I used code
switching as well to refrain from using translation directly. During the implementations, I got
positive results and had the urge to think about Transmediation as the base for my project.
It is why I decided to work on designing lessons based on Transmediation, defined by
Hadjiouannou & Hutchinson citing Siegel (1995) as the process of translating meanings from
one sign system (such as language) into another (such as pictorial representation). Taking into
account their surrounding context, children can be exposed to language through the use of visual
aids (storytelling, videos, games and drawings) that will serve as print, filling the classroom with
opportunities to grasp English meaningfully.
Nevertheless, my initial focus changed from addressing the meaningful learning through
the linguistic aspects of the class. As time went by, discipline issues that interfered in my
teaching arose:
“While I set up the computer, they were screaming and running around the classroom
[…] I tried to continue the class as planned, but all of them were talking, yelling, running,
throwing their school supplies, leaving the classroom without permission.” (Journal excerpt, May
5, 2016)
In many occasions I experienced such events as the latter. Following the advice of my
advisor teacher from her observation on that day, and after reflecting on it, I decided to divert my
primary goal to work on classroom management with the aid of Transmediation, taking into
account I would have to appeal to some behavioristic measures as well, considering it is what the
pupils have been exposed to during their scholar years. Plus, I would need to work on my own
approach to the students because during this observation my advisor teacher advised me to work
on my authority.
Theoretical Framework
This literature review presents the theory that supports the concepts I explored during my
project, which served me as basis for carrying on its implementation. The concepts are
intertwined, serving the same purpose which is fostering literacy in 2nd graders through
Nevertheless, the most important issue that needed to be addressed before focusing on the
linguistic aspect of the classes was discipline, as it was hard to implement lessons due to the lack
of adherence of students to norms thus resorting to misconduct.
As means for organizing the classroom through social constructivist teaching, Brophy
(2010) talks about a community in which teachers and students share responsibility for initiating
and guiding learning efforts. “Students are given opportunities, with teacher assistance, to form
goals and plans to guide their behavior” (Evertson & Neal, 2006, p.1). In this approach of
classroom management, where there is “emphasis on what students will be expected to do and
helping them learn to do it is likely more effective than management that focuses on misbehavior
and places more emphasis on after-the-fact discipline than on before-the-fact prevention”
(Brophy, 2010)
Brophy (2010) addresses a process of establishing and maintaining effective learning
environments which tends to be more successful than teachers who emphasize their roles as
authority figures and disciplinarians.
Taking into account my classroom’s situation, it was worth recalling Brophy’s statement
about the implementation of these new rules “Ensuring that students learn to participate
optimally will still require the familiar management strategies of articulating clear expectations,
modeling or providing instruction in desired procedures, cueing students when these procedures
are needed, and applying sufficient pressure to compel changes in behavior when students have
failed to respond to more positive methods.”
Transmediation could be used as well when planning how to achieve classroom
We live in a society filled with sign systems. “Humans, by nature, read the world around
them, and this requires an unconscious use of reading signs” (Batchelor, 2014) Semiotics is the
study of signs. A semiotic framework includes a focus on the social nature of learning and
specifically includes multiple sign systems, as stated by Batchelor (2014). “The learner is an
active participant in the culture that surrounds him/her in order to reconstruct knowledge within
his/her own framework of understanding” as cited from Danesi, 2007 and Halliday, 1978 by
Batchelor (2014). Supporting the previous citation, according to Ausubel (1963), “meaningful
learning subsumes new information into existing structures and memory systems, and the
resulting associated links create stronger retention” (as cited in J. Richards, 1990, p 56-57).
Which is why according to Krashen and colleagues (1982) “language acquisition takes place
most effectively when the input is meaningful and interesting to the learner, when it is
comprehensible, and when it is not grammatically sequenced” (as cited by Curtain & Dahlberg).
Transmediation, defined by Charles Suhor (1984) as the “translation of content from one
sign system into another” (as cited in Batchelor, 2014), allowed me to serve my goal of
integrating other sign systems into the English class, and aid the development of literacy.
Taking into account the developmental characteristics of the learner described by Curtain
& Dahlberg (2010), citing Piaget (1963), the 2nd graders I worked with are in the Stage of
concrete operations, where using language to exchange information becomes much more
important than in earlier stages, as children become more social. In this society filled with signs
is where they interact, engaging their senses to all kinds of texts. Hagood (2000) states “In new
literacies, text can be considered both print and nonprint […] New literacies integrate, “print,
visual, and audio texts of cultural and linguistic diversity and includes communicative skills of
speaking, listening, writing and reading” (as cited in Batchelor, 2014).
Through transmediation, tasks design focused on using different kind of texts to provide
one medium through which students can learn the English language, emphasizing the processes
of reading and writing, as they learned about the world.
Research Question
How to foster the literacy process through transmediation to achieve a meaningful learning in the
English class with 2nd graders?
Research Objectives
General Objective:
To foster the literacy process in the English class through the use of Transmediation.
Specific Objectives:
To identify what kind of texts students engage to and serve them to acquire the language.
To develop activities that will strengthen the reading and writing skills through the
interaction with different kinds of texts.
To decrease the use of translation as a means of understanding meaning.
To foster understanding of the world and the English language through the interaction
with symbols and contextualizing.
Action Plan
The chore of my lessons design was Transmediation and the use of visuals as the main
aid to achieve a meaningful learning, trying to cover as much as possible the contents of the
school’s English syllabus for the second grade. Furthermore, there was formal assessment on all
students’ workshops as it was my duty as the English teacher.
After the mandatory observations and the situations described in my context, I had
originally designed a route of action that involved using the following data collection tools: 1.
Journal entries, in which I registered in detail the development of my classes, students’
performance and reflections, 2. an interests’ survey aimed to portray the means through which
students would prefer learning; i.e., big books, and 3. the collection of students’ work samples
three times from a focus group to analyze if the objectives of my research were being achieved.
The survey was not carried out as the data that needed to be gathered through it was obtained
throughout the last classes of the second term and the first classes of the third term from the
journal, where I reflected on students reactions towards the use of videos and songs and found
them to be the preferred mean to learn. Moreover, due to the school’s calendar of activities,
many of the classes were missed and the third planned collection of students’ work samples
could not be done.
Development of Actions
Since the main objective of this project was to foster the literacy process through
Transmediation in second graders, I carried out some teaching and research actions.
As mentioned formerly in my problem statement, since the first day of classes’
implementation during the first term (from the second week of March to the last week of May), I
designed lessons which included working with songs and tasks based on reading images alone
and some text and images from big books related to the topics in the Syllabus and most
important related to the students’ their context.
During the third term (from the second week of July to the first week of September)
classes aimed to establish rules and create a sense of responsibility. Visual aids such as slides, a
video and a poster with the classroom rules were brought up constantly and reflected on whole
group talks. Even so, on August 22, another day in which my advisor teacher observed my class,
students went back to the disruptive behavior after few classes infringing the rules, leading me to
keep working on them constantly even for some minutes of the class and establishing the ground
for the negative consequences of their misconduct.
On September 5, I did the application of my first data collection instrument, other than
the journal, through the appliance of a checklist to a focus group of ten students for their
performance during a class activity. I chose this sample because there are 50 students in the class,
hence the difficulty of doing individual assessment to each one. I selected the ten students with
the help of my former cooperative teacher based on their school performance classifying it as:
Outstanding, average and low.
The activity was designed to assess reading and writing, taking into account the standards
for the second grade and progress up until that day.
The second data collection was carried out on October 24, using the same focus group
from the first application and the participation of the cooperative teacher through filling a
checklist which included items related to the students’ and teacher’s performance.
Findings and Interpretations
In order to analyze the data collected throughout the research from my data collection
tools, I did the triangulation process, as explained by Johnson (2005) as “looking at something
from more than one perspective” so I created links among the information gathered by the three
tools applied. Furthermore, I followed an inductive analysis proposal by Parsons and Brown
(2002, as cited by Mertler, 2006, p.125) which consisted in a three-step process: organization,
description and interpretation.
In the organizational step, I applied a system of categorization known as coding-scheme
(citation needed), which aided me to group data through a series of categories. In my journals,
which is where I described in detail the events and reflections of each day pertaining my research,
I searched recurrent themes and patterns and gave them code names. Some code names prevailed
and others disappeared through this process. Then I grouped the code names under three main
categories. The categories I came upon were Classroom management, Transmediation and
Literacy Development.
In the descriptive step, I described the main features or characteristics of the categories
emerging from coding the data. I tried to look for connections among the three categories and
asked myself “How does this information help me to understand my research topic and answer
my research question?” (2002, as cited by Mertler, 2006, p.128).
Finally, in the last step, I interpreted that which I had previously organized, trying to
come up with similarities, contradictions or relationships in the data and key aspects that might
have answered my research question. In the following paragraphs, the three categories and their
respective analysis are presented.
Classroom Management
Instructions. Concerning this category, I found that for a better classroom management,
it is important to give clear instructions, what the expectations are and check for understanding.
In many of my classes I tried to do this and found it effective as we can see in the following
“I instructed them they should repeat the word after it was said/shown in the video, I
asked them to pay attention to both the images and the letters. We did a little practice before the
real deal with three of the places, they understood and we began.” (Journal excerpt, July 25,
Moreover, repetition is necessary to make it work in some occasions. I found myself
repeating the instructions to the students: “It took me about 3 times repeating the instructions
until they got it, although some just started cutting at once.” (Journal excerpt, August 8, 2016).
Young children do relatively have short attention spans, and if you add the classroom
environmental factors that I had such as a big size classroom, students can get distracted easily.
Additionally, if to the instructions provided you add a proper modelling of the result you expect
to get, students will engage easier and feel they are able to perform the tasks.
“Then I told them that to practice and remember easily, we would sing a new song, they
should try to read along and represent the transport (e.g. hands on the wheel if it’s a car). Most of
them seemed really captured by the song, and seemed to be mumbling something as the song
was repetitive and easy to follow.” (Journal excerpt, July 22, 2016.)
Establishing the rules. I selected this category because I found that in order to be able to
implement lessons efficiently there must be a harmonious classroom atmosphere, so after
developing the actions that I planned, I found that sharing the responsibility with the students to
create and establish the rules worked out better. After reflecting many times through whole
group talks: “We reviewed the presentation and stopped at each rule, and tried to analyze it to see
what other things we could do to achieve it” (Journal excerpt, August 26, 2016), I proved
Brophy’s statement on management (1998) to be true, if there is “emphasis on what students will
be expected to do and helping them learn to do it is likely more effective”. The children’s
awareness about how their behavior was affecting the English class arose. As expressed in the
following journal extract, I could see how occasionally the kids would collaborate to establish
order: “In the middle of the activity, some children were encouraging Juan José Moreno to stay
in is seat and work or else they’d get negative points” (September 16, 2016).
I also found that, in spite of reinforcing the rules and seeing a steady progress, there will
be days when the class dynamics can shift back to being disruptive,
“It was impossible to even attempt to continue as planned due to the noise and everyone
constantly coming to the board. They also came to tell on their classmates and complain about
their behavior. The situation got out of hand and I couldn’t make them go back to their seats.”
(Journal excerpt, August 22, 2016) Plus, I also need to work on improving strategies to deal with
these circumstances.
Class size. Teaching a class of 50 children was extremely difficult. It is not the ideal
setting for meeting each of their needs and discipline issues can easily arise.
Literacy Development
Translation. I found two elements that helped decrease the use of Spanish: 1. the
transition from using their mother tongue to code switching and eventually trying to say some
phrases in English during the class, as evidenced in my journal: “then I said: How are you? I was
surprised this time the majority actually answered: “Fine, thank you!” After so many times that I
couldn’t get a response they did it.” (October 3, 2016). 2. Teaching through Transmediation, as
after collecting the data from the implementation of two activities based on it, I got that more
than half of my focus group (6 out 10) did not require translation to convey meaning (Checklist,
September 5, 2016). Nevertheless, in the second collection, the number decreased to 4 out of 10
(Checklist, October 24, 2016). I think the number dropped due to the many missed classes we
Reading and writing. Concerning this aspect, I found there was an improvement mostly
in reading. During my classes, a significant percentage of students dared to read from the board
and after a proper modelling they read with a correct pronunciation, as evidenced here:
“I asked them to read from the poster, repeating after me. I heard most of the classroom
following except for few, then I asked who thought they could read the rules, as many of them
raised their hands […] I can see improvement in Sofía and Juan Manuel relating sounds to letters
in english.” (Journal excerpt, July 25, 2016)
Plus, since I took the concept of reading farther than just decoding the written code, I
could see children managed to associate words to images in almost every activity implemented to
collect data. In writing, Transmediation served students to acquire more vocabulary and some
structures. I found that they could write in letters the required information accurately or in close
approximations to the correct spelling, related to their sound.
This category was closely related to Literacy Development, since it was the main element
that helped me to achieve my goals to an extent. I found that Transmediation serves as a very
important tool when trying to foster literacy, taking into account Hudelson’s definition of literacy
previously explained. The translation from one sign system into the other allowed them to
explore new literacies (Hagood, 2000), as during my classes the children showed to be more
receptive to the language when taught through activities done with videos, songs and images, for
instance as it can be evidenced here: “They only watched but in the second minute I heard
Yeison mumbling “Good morning, good morning” […] As I’ve mentioned before, it is obvious
that this is one of the favorite transmedia tools to work with them.” (Journal excerpt, August 8,
It fostered understanding of the world as they got engaged and explored the Colombian
and the American culture, and through contextualization they were able to associate new
information into existing structures, as we can see: “As expected, they knew all the heroes, but I
tried to work on them building the sentences with the verb To Be in a meaningful way, even if
it’s not part of the syllabus.” (Journal excerpt, August 5, 2016)
Conclusions and Suggestions
The main conclusion that I got after implementing and analyzing this project is that
Transmediation served as a tool for fostering the development of literacy in my particular context
of a second grade at a public institution. As far as my specific objectives were concerned, I
reached the following conclusions:
1. In second grade, students are required to fulfill certain requirements to achieve the
standards set for the course regarding literacy in their mother language and English as
a foreign language. Nonetheless, the literacy development can gradually progress in a
more meaningful way if other sign systems, other than the written code, are used to
mediate the acquisition of the language. It is necessary to indulge into their interests
and implement activities that will go hand to hand with their preferences.
2. The use of visual and hearing aids such as videos, songs and images can be used to
design reading and writing activities that will serve the students to grasp the language
in a more contextualized way, given the proper guidance from the teacher. This goes
along with the concept of New Literacies brought by Hagood (2000). Transmediation
can be implemented even if the resources provided are scarce, adaptations can be
done to work with them.
3. Translation as means of instructing an English as a foreign language class can
decrease, even if it’s not in a big percentage. The use of vocabulary and structures
repeatedly aided by images and gestures helps children internalize the meaning and
respond to it accurately.
4. Understanding of the world can go farther than the extents of the classroom.
Exploring other cultures and contrasting them to the children’s’ native culture during
the class can help them to give a critical eye to what happens around them.
5. Classroom management must be obtained first before trying to achieve specific
academic goals for a class. It will be necessary to address discipline issues throughout
many moments to give the opportunity for a meaningful learning to happen.
6. Constructing rules with the students and trying to prevent the disruptive behavior is
better than imposing the rules. Even so, situations will arise when corrective measures
will be needed and many times it will require to apply behavioristic ones, considering
the children are not used to have an active role in the establishment of rules or selfregulating.
Additionally, I would like to manifest it is important that the Cooperative teacher works actively
along the researcher. “Action research can be defined as the process of studying a real school or
classroom situation to understand and improve the quality of actions or instruction” as cited by
Hensen, 1996; McTaggart, 1997; Schmuck, 1997 (Johnson, 2005). The guidance and support of
the Cooperative teacher can support the researcher in the development of his/her project, as he is
constantly working with the class and can assess particular situations, driving the research
towards solutions or better reflections on the recurrence of facts.
It is also important to mention the fact that the school calendar interrupted the implementation of
the English classes many times, and the constant change in the schedule affected the progress of
this project.
Carrying out this project took me through a rollercoaster of emotions towards the
educational system in Colombia, public education, the Bachelor program of foreign language
teaching and working with children. I went from feeling intense waves of excitement for helping
educate the children, to feeling anger, frustration and despair during the times I encountered
difficulties. I reflected on what is having to teach a class of 50 students, with little resources and
time constrictions. The issues that I faced in this challenge showed me I there is still a lot of
room for improvement in my professional practice and that I must learn to be more flexible.
Going from the theory I learned during my years in the university to the field was a constructivist
experience that led me to widen my perspectives on teaching. “You can only do so much”, one
of my former teachers told me once, something which can be applied to this process. Perhaps I
cannot change education the way I want it to be, but I can touch individual minds and be certain I
did my best to present the English class as something meaningful. I can say my time in Juan
María Céspedes institution made a difference in the lives of some.
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