The use of self-definitions tasks to improve teacher-student interaction.
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Teachers in Special Educational Needs Schools (SENS) tend to experience difficulties with teacher-student interaction. In a SENS, students tend to have trouble communicating their needs to teachers and may consequently develop negative relationship patterns with them. Through a single case study the present study aims to explore the experience of a teacher and his students with using students’ self-definition tasks (SDTs). Students constructed the SDT ‘Make a manual of yourself’, which was analyzed by the teacher. The aim of making and using this SDT was for the teacher to be able to draw upon students’ Funds of Identity (FoI) as learners so as to better understand the students and foster teacher-student interaction. Interviews with six students and their teacher were conducted. Results indicate that the teacher used information from SDTs to adapt lessons to students’ needs, and that students used their SDT to communicate their needs to the teacher. The researcher also identified differences and similarities between teacher’s use and students’ use of SDTs, for example information about preferred classroom conditions from SDTs were more utilizable in the classroom for teachers. Moreover, the teacher noted that in certain situations SDTs could improve teacher-student interaction, mainly in situations when teachers lack knowledge about students.