I noticed that in Chinese class, I have a function, a role. In fact, every student does. No, none of this philiosophical B.S. of every student has a role of as a “participant” in the classroom. I’m talking that each of us has a different, specific function to move the class along.
My role is to field the first “application” question. That means the teacher explains the concept and necessary components ( in Chinese, it’s usually a gramatical phrase or series of vocab) and then expects students to apply the learned material to a real conversation or to a previous concept. My role is to answer that question first and serve as the model for others to answer similar questions. I also take on the role of answering the “topic-switch” questions where the teacher wants to shift gears. I again serve as the model for how others should answer similar questions.
There are plenty of other roles, though. There’s the “conversation specialist” who can spur classmates into connecting vocab and grammar phrases into a complete conversation. There’s the “overall check” student who is the gauge of how well the entire class is “getting” a lesson. There’s the “vocab specialist” who has the ability to (re)introduce new vocab to the class via previous knowledge and an uncanny ability to remember very specific vocab only gone over once. There’s the “explainer” who can take any Chinese grammatical concept and explain it well in English. The list goes on and on.
Each student fulfills a specific role in the overall “learning” process. And so builds the dynamic of the classroom and a particular class. This works outside the classroom too. What role do you fill in your social group? What role do you fill at meetings? What role do you fill in the workplace?
Knowing how you and others function in a group setting is key in being successful as a team.