Thursday came after a fantastic sunny day in Córdoba and it was the turn for lesson observation through interactive groups and dialogic teaching. Estefanía, the philosophy teacher, gave an interesting presentation on the school learning communities She told us that this school project addresses both motivated and unmotivated students in the same environment. The students are arranged in small groups monitored by an adult and are engaged with their peers in a common task. Each group has a time limit to complete the task and rotates to move on to do the next task. Basically, through the use of this approach, underachieving students are not separated from the class to be helped, but rather the opposite, the teachers ask other adults to intervene in the class for help and all students take part on equal conditions.
After that, we had the chance to attend a technology class conducted in this form of classroom organization. Juan Fernández de Vega, the deputy head, was the teacher and he was assisted by volunteer mothers who were monitoring the interactive groups together with him. At the beginning it took a few minutes to settle the students down, but once they got down to serious work they were completely focused on their tasks, cooperating and trying to solve tasks in groups.
After break time, María Carbajal conducted a lesson following the dialogic teaching approach and both students and teachers, including Jacob, the foreign language assistant, had a fluent dialogue talking about one of Picasso’s masterpieces, “The Three Musicians”. They expressed the feelings the painting caused in them and discussed some technical matters.
After that, all of us participated as members of the jury in a special English class, which was actually an omelette competition that Maite Mogío, one of the English teachers, had arranged with her second grade students in their classroom. It was not only interesting for the delicious omelettes that the students had made, but also for the great variety of flavours and dressings. The students used cards with the ingredients used and explained to the members of the jury how the omelettes had been made.
In the evening we visited a small family-run winery in a small town near Almendralejo called Villafranca de los Barros. Paco, the winery guide, explained the process of winemaking from the harvesting of wine to the time needed for the wine to go into the cask and the aging time the different wines need. At the end of the visit we had a wine tasting session in which we could try various kinds of red wine.