24.S95 | Spring 2023 | Graduate

Linguistics in K–12 Education

Collaborative Work

Below, Prof. Maya Honda discusses how students in 24.S95 worked collaboratively to present an hour-long class to groups of middle schoolers at MIT’s Spark event.

Collaborating with others can be very challenging, especially if you don’t know your colleagues well. But the five students rose to the challenge and did a fine job of designing and presenting two sections of Linguistics: The Science of Language at MIT ESP (Educational Studies Program) Spring Spark. We used our class as a design laboratory, first identifying “desired results,” then moving on with the planning using the UbD (Understanding by Design) framework. Students took responsibility for creating and presenting slides for different parts of the class slide show (the introduction, a discussion of phonology, a discussion of semantics and pragmatics, the conclusion). They practiced in class; they also had a public practice for the MIT Linguistics community. It was an intense design process that took place over about a month’s time.

There were some tense moments in class, to be sure. For example, one day, a seminar student was presenting their portion of the Spark presentation and another student sharply questioned their line of reasoning and their approach to the topic. The presenter was quite upset by this. But the students as a group resolved the conflict on their own, with one student stepping up to say that everyone had to listen calmly to one another and another student saying that everyone had to first respect one another’s work before offering a critique.

When we reflected as a group on the whole Spark experience, the students said that they valued the feedback that they received from one another, from their partner teacher and from me, and from people who attended the public practice. They didn’t follow all the suggestions they received, but they appreciated hearing them.

So the students took away from their Spark experience the importance of listening in collaborative work. They were also excited to teach middle schoolers and to be peppered with questions about language and linguistics.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2023
Learning Resource Types
Instructor Insights
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments with Examples