Teaching Technique…

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Group Work

Having students work in groups lets them practice the skills they are learning.

Speaking in front of the whole class can be scary, and combined with the tension of speaking to the teacher, the situation can be downright terrifying to students.

Breaking them up into groups not only develops social skills useful in the professional environment for which they are training, but gives them a chance to perform in a supportive environment before a test or even before having to do homework on the topic on their own.

Organizing the Groups

Keep in mind the following elements of group work when selecting the appropriate type of group work for your class.

  • Size: Two to six people in a group is ideal.

The smaller the group, the more likely each student will be to contribute to the discussion.

Groups of two or three students are sufficient for simple tasks for which consensus should be reached quickly.

Groups of four to six are better for more complex tasks in which a greater number of ideas may improve the final results.

  • Selection: You should either assign students randomly to groups or select students so that each group has an equal distribution of talents.

Do not let students choose their own teams, for they may team up with friends or form cliques that can get off topic.

  •  Duration: Use the groups for a brief discussion in class or for all semester.

Long-term groups work more substantively and less superficially.

To derive the greatest benefit from the group interaction, you should spend a few minutes clarifying the students’ roles and the expectations for the group’s work.

Designating Roles in Groups

Groups that are created for in-class discussion can be easily organized around a four-person model based on roles. Each member of the group plays a specific role that supports the team’s collaborative effort. These roles include:

  • Leader: Responsible for keeping the group on task, maintaining the schedule (meetings, deadlines), and maintaining contact information (phone numbers, emails).
  • Encourager: Encourages conversation and inclusion of all opinions, and guides the discussion toward consensus.
  • Prober: Ensures that the assumptions are correct and that there is sufficient evidence for the solution.
  • Recorder: Writes down the group’s solution that will be submitted for the group grade.

Sharing Group Results

Students should share the results of their group with the class at large. This holds them accountable to show their work.

Do not forget to debrief students about the lessons they might have learned from the group work.

 

Source – https://citl.indiana.edu/teaching-resources/teaching-strategies/group-work/

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