from the 1st International Conference on Language Education and Research (LERC2019)
Volume 3 - Issue 3 - December 2019
Latest issue of Journal of Applied Languages and Linguistics
TITLE: Negotiating the Classroom Learning
Author: Avv. Sofia Parastatidou, British Law Academy
Director and Head Trainer - Law & Professional Business Training
British Law & Professional Training Academy, Vicolo dell'Orto 3, Bologna 40124 Italy
Published online: 31 December 2019, pp. 124-132
Parastatidou, S. (2019) Negotiating the Classroom Learning, Journal of Applied Languages and Linguistics, 3(3), pp. 124-132
Negotiating the Classroom Learning: I have used various negotiation exercises to reinforce learning in my classes for over 10 years in both academic and professional settings. This is a flexible exercise that instructors can adjust to suit the level of English and give the students an idea for bringing real life situations to the classroom. Students can do a number of these exercises, with increasing complexity and work in teams to negotiate a problem, draw up the terms of settlement and practice speaking and writing skills. They use the terminology and Professional English terms learnt during their classes.
Student Input: Students are divided into groups and are given two different scenarios to negotiate. I usually use a problem, for instance a breach of contract. I also explain some important technical terms in negotiating theory (again depending on their levels) and the students, through their exercise try to find their ZOPA (Zone of Potential Agreement) and understand their BATNA (Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement).
Usually, I allow the students to try the negotiation ‘cold’ without any input from me. After a short session, I take the group through some techniques such as open questioning, close questioning, active listening and identifying the elements which they are allowed to compromise and which are essential for their clients. After negotiating they are required to draft up Terms of Settlement and then write a letter enclosing the draft terms to the other side.
If the class has an additional week, I also build on this by throwing in additional problems and get the students to either make a presentation or debate their respective cases.
Teacher Input: At the end, I give the groups feedback on language, terms, writing in simple English and any clarification on terms they have used and which may be false friends in English and their native tongue.
Student Collaborative Learning: Students learn how to analyse problems and express themselves with clarity using active and passive voice (when needed). I then get students to write up a paragraph explaining what they learnt from the exercise, which also encourages self-assessment.
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Keywords: negotiating the classroom learning; student collaborative learning; ZOPA; BATNA