Saturday, May 10, 2014

Third Space in Pedagogy

I enjoyed reading Dialogical Imagination of (Inter)cultural Spaces: Rethinking the Semiotic Ecology of Second Language and Literacy Learning by Kostogriz, in Hall’s book. I am very impressed by unique concept of third space in pedagogy, which I found rather interesting and applicable to conduct culturally responsive practices in my future teaching.

Nowadays the classroom is more like a mosaic, where students’ cultural and linguistic background, strengths, needs, and interests tend to be highly diverse. Hence, to meet this diversity, it is of great importance for educators to construct such a third space for learners’ meaning-and identity- making process with democratic features and social transformation. In this third space, everybody get involved and everybody learns. I think this idea is quite innovative, because it changes the ways in which literacy learning is organized in multicultural classrooms. The author emphasizes the material-semiotic sphere of the third space pedagogy and the cultural-semiotic diversity requires a semantically rich learning environment by using all the social, cultural, and linguistic resources of its participants. In this way, the learners can bring their cultures to the classroom and the classroom is a place where embraces diverse cultures, which provide students multiple means to learn and know the world from multiple perspectives.

I am thinking about an example about how to construct a third space in an ESL classroom. Probably, we can conduct an activity to ask each student to share and introduce an idiom from their own country. As we know, idioms usually have their own cultural and historical origins, which reflect particular cultures in terms of their values, beliefs, traditions, customs, etc. They can give example of when, where, how, and why they use them with certain situational contexts. In this way, students may reflect their own cultures first and bring them to the classrooms. They can learn from other cultures within this co-constructed third space in the classroom, where they can find the similarity and disparity among cultures as well. Hence, their knowledge is social-culturally constructed and this process of knowing is dialogical.

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