I planned to discuss the topic 'Linguistic landscapes in education' based on a couple of pictures from my 2013 fieldwork in Budapest so I prepared and projected a couple of aspects for analysis:
(1) Is this familiar to you? Why?
(2) What do you think about the community which uses these public spaces? What do you think: (a) whose idea could be to use the space/surface this way?; (b) what values and expectations can you associate to these settings?; (c) are there discussions/debates within the community concerning the illustrated settings?
(3) Would you like to suggest modifications?
Since the seminar room was arranged for the needs of frontal, teacher-centred work (teacher's table next to the blackboard, in front of the students who were sitting behind their desks in three parallel rows), firstly I asked the students to reflect on the arrangement of the room, following the aspects projected to the wall. They criticized the room because of its strong teacher-centredness and mentioned that this is against lively debates. I asked them to rearrange the room according to their own needs and they, a bit surprised, started to move the furniture immediately. Soon, the desks formed a semi-circle, so everybody could see everybody else and could communicate more easily. I think this instant warm-up, which was not planned, gave a very good basis for discussion.
What do you think about the pictures I uploaded? Please comment!
14 May 2014. Linguistic landscapes in education. Visual Culture, Mathematics, Education TEMPUS seminar, Jyväskylä, Finland.