I am from Mexico City and I graduated as a psychologist from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. I collaborated in research projects related to classroom dialogue, dialogic interactions in educational contexts and the intervention of adolescents diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. For the last four years I have been in Cambridge, I have studied how autistic students in mainstream primary classrooms in the UK participate in class discussions and how teachers support their participation. The aim of my PhD project is developing adjusted teaching strategies that support autistic students’ participation in classroom dialogue, considering students’ communication characteristics and preferences.
I was born in Mexico City, where I completed an undergraduate degree in psychology in the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). While conducting my studies, I was greatly interested in neuropsychology and learning about development from a sociocultural perspective. I had the opportunity to collaborate with two research groups in UNAM, the Laboratory of Cognition and Communication that is led by Professor Sylvia Rojas-Drummond and the Laboratory of Cognition and Psycho-pedagogical Treatment for People with Asperger Syndrome that is led by Professor Felipe Cruz Pérez. I engaged in investigations related to productive social interactions between teachers and students and worked with young people diagnosed with autism.
My participation in the former group gave me the chance of collaborating with academics from the Faculty of Education in the University of Cambridge. This inspired me to study an MPhil in Psychology and Education in Cambridge. I studied the relationship between autistic-like traits and students’ participation in class discussions. My previous experiences and research motivated me to pursue a doctoral degree in Education. I am now in the final year of my PhD. My research aims to contribute teaching strategies for supporting autistic students’ participation in class discussions. The strategies are based on dialogic pedagogies and aim to be adjusted to the communication characteristics of autistic students. By means of an intervention study, the strategies were iteratively tested and refined in collaboration with primary school teachers in England. Currently, the strategies are being introduced to other practitioners in the UK by means of a self-paced online course.
I am interested in finding ways in which classrooms can be adjusted to students’ strengths and different forms of communication. This includes designing friendlier physical environments and learning activities. I think that it is important to acknowledge students’ different forms of understanding, learning and perceiving and to create opportunities for all in class to participate in their own way. In the future, I would like to continue working on research on autism and educational dialogue, as well as on the development of support programmes for autistic students.
Rojas-Drummond, S., Maine, F., Alarcón, M., Trigo, A., Barrera, M., Mazón, N., Velez, M., y Hofmann, R. (2017). Dialogic literacy: talking, reading and writing among primary school children. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 12, 45-62.