Relationships matter. When we built relationships, we enable learning. If we don’t, we create aggression, frustration and indifference. So how do we do it? And how do we cope with the fact that we might fail?
These are the assumptions and questions at the heart of my own teaching practice. They form the core also of Resonance Pedagogy, a new approach to teaching and learning spearheaded by German sociologist, Hartmut Rosa.
In a series of articles and videos, I present classroom activities based on Resonance Pedagogy which are designed to help grow relationships, and I explore the concepts behind them. I have been able to record a video interview with Hartmut Rosa, whose analysis of modern life and contemporary educational practices has earned him a huge following – he sometimes draws crowds of thousands and has travelled on official business with the German president.
Given that it’s twenty years since I started university teaching I have also recorded a video with five stories on how Resonance Pedagogy has played out in my own seminars. Let’s just say I haven’t always lived up to my own expectations! Nonetheless, Resonance Pedagogy helps me develop seminar practices centred around students as situated human beings with specific interests who can develop their own strategy towards self-efficacy. Let me just give you one example. In a unit on the translation industry, students often initially assume that globalisation and technological change mean that machines will replace human translators and rates will be minimal. I have developed a series of research questions which students address in self-study, relate to their self-concept and discuss with their peers and myself, including:
- Who contributes to the development and adoption of translation tools?
- In which areas can linguists charge the highest fees?
- Which elements in a language service provider’s website instil confidence in the site visitor?
These questions make students recognise that many changes have been successfully initiated and implemented by linguists like themselves; that the language industries are growing, and fees are rising; and that by positioning themselves well and developing relationships with commissioners and colleagues they can harness this market.
In other words, students often recognise that their own actions matter, and that building relationships pays off.
Given that, as I said, I work in Translation Studies, I have also translated two key texts outlining what Resonance Pedagogy is all about.
All of this is available on the BILT website, and I’d love to hear from you and discuss your own questions about classroom relationships and how learning benefits from closer engagement. Christophe.Fricker@bristol.ac.uk