Studiu de specialitate – Interaction in the classroom

Autor: prof. Daniela Incze
Școala Gimnazială „Ioan Opriș”, Turda, jud. Cluj

The classroom is the place where teachers and learners come together and language learning happens. It happens when it happens, as a result of the reactions among the elements that go into the „crucible”- the teachers and the learners. They do not, however, go in „empty-handed”.
The learners come with their own learning style, motivation and attitudes toward language learning, their whole experience of learning and life in the classroom. And the teacher brings experience, too, of life and learning and of teaching. The teacher also brings into the classroom the syllabus often embodied in a textbook. S/he has her/his own distinctive style and uses many different materials and teaching techniques.
But no matter what they all bring, everything still depends on how they react to each other (learner to learner, as well as teacher to learner), when they all get together in the classroom. „React” is not just a matter of their initial reactions to each other. It is more a matter of their constant interaction- the fact that every time they come together, they somehow have to get along and in a way which actually helps the learners to learn. Interaction in the classroom or anywhere, has to be managed, as it goes along. Even more important for teachers though, and for language teachers in particular, is the fact that it has to be managed by everyone taking part, not just by the teacher, because interaction is obviously something people do together, collectively.
In a classroom, of course, it is usually considered normal for the teacher „to run the show”- to make many of the managerial decisions about who should talk, to whom, on what topic, in what language.
So the teacher creates a situation and sets an activity in motion, but it is the learners themselves who are responsible for conducting the interaction to its conclusion, everything depends on the learners` co-operation.
In choosing to co-operate (or not as the case may be) the learners make a significant contribution to the management of the interaction that takes place in the classroom. They may influence the pace and direction of the interaction. (fragment)