I'm a newbie here.
I teach ESL (settlement English) to adult refugees and immigrants.
My class has been working this term to create short movies about 'How to catch public transport' for students at a lower level. It has been a steep learning curve for us all but oh so inspiring in so many ways. They have just gone for it. They're engaged, excited and teaching each other along the way. I'm stepping into the background - there to support if needed.
Now we' re organising a showcase of our work. I've encouraged them to take charge of this and it's like nothing I've seen. Here is language in action - language for a purpose. They're negotiating, leading, organising - you name it. I was really really inspired by what I saw today. Here they're able to draw on knowledge and skills that we probably give little time for ordinarily. I watched today as one of my students - watched our speaker rehearse today and then gave clear, useful guidance about how they should walk to the microphone, how they should stand, and where they should look (eye contact). He was drawing on knowledge from his community and told us about how he'd been taught this within his community. There were also students helping each other with translations of speeches - discussing the most appropriate terminology, the grammar etc.
I had to laugh when after watching another presentation in our school - the two leaders of our showcase rushed up and said, 'we've got lots of ideas now'. They had come up with a list of what we should and should not do when presenting our showcase. They were right on the money in so many ways.
So my big challenge now is to think how do I create this environment - this community of practice more often. How do I make it the foundation of my classroom practice.