Why do we do collaborative learning tasks?
Note the term I have used – not group work, but collaborative learning. There is a difference. In my last blog post I talked about how rapid progress and real learning takes place during learning talk amongst students. We are going to look here at how you can offer opportunities for this to happen in your classroom.
I will refer to learning talk again and again throughout the year as there is a lot to think about with regard to this term (my PhD was built on it!).
A good introduction to group activities in your class if to ask them for the ground rules. They will come up with the following:
Listen to each other
Give everyone a chance to talk
Don’t shout over each other
Make sure everyone joins in
Once you have determined the expectations – put them on the board as they suggest them – you have a written guide to return to if any of them fall short!
Remember – students are used to group work, so when you plan for this, use the strategies the good teachers use and you are already on a firm footing!
What questions you can ask in your reflections
Where in the lesson do they do the group task?
What impact do you think this has?
How much input does the teacher have in the group task?
Where does the learning take place in this task?
Talk to the teacher after the lesson
What do they do to make sure the class does as they are told?
Would they change their strategies with another class / year group?
What three things are you going to take away to put into place when you next plan for collaborative learning activities?
Next blog posts:
Using video to increase the power of your mentor meetings!
What makes you a good teacher? Set out your expectations!
Dr Sharon Williams