It's near the end of week four of the semester, and my research project continues apace. Me and my two foreigner co-workers have collected data on foreign language anxiety (F.L.A.) in the form of a peer-reviewed survey, and we also collected less formal voice and video recordings of our students telling us what they like or don't like about studying and using English.
The real fun begins next week when we bring in sample students for longer interviews. Half of them have been studying in classes which have employed Socratic-style seminars, and half of them have been in control groups without the seminars.
The seminars themselves were 30-45 minute exchanges where we arranged the desks into concentric circles and we sat down with the students rather than standing at the classroom podium / computer stand. The goal was to immerse them into a much more peer-oriented, less teacher-oriented environment than they're used to.
We won't have all our data collected for another two weeks but so far it seems as if we're going to confirm what might have been obvious all along -- the students really seemed to enjoy engaging with us in a more level, egalitarian manner, but given their status as limited English proficient learners (L.E.P.) there was only so far a purely Socratic style, question-based lesson could go.
Still, it'll be interesting to see if the students who did the seminars have more confidence or a more positive take on their own English learning than the ones who didn't. We shall see!