Bumping into classroom walls: How to win the timed race of language learning in the university classroom
Alderete Diez, Pilar
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Pilar Alderete Diez (2014) 'Bumping into Classroom Walls: How To Win The Timed Race of Language Learning In The University Classroom' In: Third-level Education and Second Language Learning: Promoting Self-directed Learning in new Technological and Educational Contexts. UK : Peter Lang.
Departing from student-led evaluations of Spanish classrooms in a university in Canada a few years ago, this chapter focuses on the conditions that space and time impose on our contemporary university classrooms. In those evaluations, students pointed towards the use of space and time in their universities as one of the main reasons contributing to failure in language learning. In their journals and interviews, they gave specific examples of the impact of spatial and time constraints on their learning of Spanish and they claimed that the time was ripe for a review of the notions of space and time in order to tackle the issue of language learning in higher education. This chapter attempts at such a review with a description of the physical characteristics of standard language classrooms in our globalized university settings and an analysis of the constraints that the organization of space and time impose on language learning in an aim to offer solutions to overcome these obstacles. It also looks at class timetables and semesterisation in third level European institutions, by offering a sample from a few universities in Ireland and in Spain in order to understand how their classrooms and timetables are organized. Through a series of short open-ended surveys at the same higher education institutions, it takes into account the influence of timetable and calendars on student engagement. It points towards the promotion of space-time awareness and examines the scope available both for language teachers and students to manage these two variables. It investigates the influence of virtual spaces for language learning (social networks and open source materials) as they are used in these universities in order to cope with time and space constraints and to support our students in their race to attain their goals in language learning.