Tim Murphey describes an easy action research/activity done in the spring of 2012 with 488 students in four Tokyo area Japanese universities. It had a big impact on the students and could easily be replicated in other classrooms, in almost any school situation. Murphey’s Tokyo research group asked students the following question:
#39 Please describe a group of classmates that you could learn English well with. What would you all do to help each other learn better and more enjoyably?
Their answers were so interesting that the researchers first compiled them anonymously on a handout and gave them back to each class for discussion. Then the 488 comments were coded into 16 descriptors and looped back to the same students a month later to ask if these indeed were important, if their classmates were doing them, and if they were doing them. The positive results can be understood partially through the field of Appreciative Inquiry, emotional contagion (Hatfield, et al., 1994), the altruistic turn, dynamic systems theory, and critical participatory looping. Teachers will be given practical ideas for doing these and similar things in the classroom. In the meantime, Tim dares to ask you (and dares you to ask others!) “What do people do to help you have a great day and a meaningful life?”
FULL TITLE: Ideal Classmates and Reciprocal Idealizing through Critical Participatory Looping (CPL) in Socially Intelligent Dynamic Systems (SINDYS).