Dewey (1938) argued that educational activities should begin from the immediate personal and social experience of the learners. He also advised educators to use things within the range of existing experience of students that have the potentiality of presenting new problems which will encourage further experience. As university students in Japan are often passive about expressing themselves and actively being engaged with the class, I developed a class portfolio-making activity named Class Book into which a series of different learning skills are incorporated using students' actual life experiences. In this activity, students make their own biography to share with peers. This case study examined the consequences of the learning based on students' experiences for a particular sophomore English class in a university in Japan. My findings indicate that the participants had active interactions with peers, took responsibility of their own learning, and created a positive learning environment. This case study indicates that students' life experiences are an effective form of learning materials. However, it also suggests that teachers give adequate structured support for students to take advantage of their experiences at the fullest. This presentation will resonate with the conference theme in that it describes how students' life experiences affect their learning in a positive way.
Kaya Kikuchi Munakata, Individual researcher, Iran
Stream: Learner and teacher autonomy
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