Managing group work (1)

The problem being addressed in this technique

Critics of group work often accuse teachers of adopting 'wooly' approaches where students sit as a group but do not work as a group. They claim that teachers allow individuals to dominate with some opting out and contributing little. The next 3 examples in 'technique of the week' will focus on managing group activity so that these criticisms are addressed.

31 January: how to ensure all group members participate in brainstorming.

7 February: how to ensure all members of a group have a designated role.

14 February: how to organise a group research activity that meets the needs of a wide range of skill levels.


Principle 3

“Great teachers create a safe, welcoming, and trusting learning environment with fair, clear, consistent, and public systems of classroom management. Group activity is purposeful and well structured.”


Whose idea? (one of 29 techniques in Chapter 3)

Teachers who have used group activities will have experienced at some time the group where one learner does all the thinking and the others sit about talking. When the group is then praised for its efforts, the lone ‘worker’ feels aggrieved. The likelihood of this situation arising can be reduced if the teacher allocates roles. In a brainstorming session, for example, one learner is the chairperson, whose role is to ensure the group performs the task and meets its deadline. Another learner is the Scribe, who must record all the ideas of the group.


In Whose idea?, the rule that makes this effective is that the Scribe must not only record the idea, but in brackets must record whose idea it was (see example below).


When this is used, all students will want their names on the list!


To get all the 29 techniques in Chapter 3, Principle 3 go here

To get all 157 techniques for all 7 principles go here

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