Saturday, October 17, 2015

Teaching techniques and classroom activities

Many teachers have incorporated GL activities into their classrooms, in the form of an open discussion, case studies, interdisciplinary projects and mini-research, interactive exhibitions and team projects.
What are some effective techniques and activities in team work?
Some teachers take into consideration the following steps when designing a task (Enerson et al, 1997):
Start by analyzing what the students already know, what they can do and their needs.
Keep the questions short and simple, unless you're asking them to break questions in parts. If you need to ask a long and complex question, break it into a series of steps.
Before asking questions or formulating problems, read them aloud to make sure they're clear. Ask someone to read them and comment on them.
Ask open questions or multiple answer questions. It's imperative that the questions are related to the GL activities.

The most common GL activities include the small formal groups created to solve problems, where the students work together to finish a long-term project. However, GL activities can also include groups of almost any size in one project or several individual projects. It can also be an informal study group who meets periodically, which lets the students study together and learn from each other. All of these activities imitate the types of professional collaboration the students will face in the real world.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Negative feelings towards GL

Remember that students who feel negatively towards GL may need explanations and help understanding the process.
Students may be afraid of getting punished with lower grades because of mistakes made by other team members. People who learn quickly may feel they're tutoring those who learn slower. And the ones who learn slower may be afraid of feeling pressured to work faster by other team members. The "lazy" team members who don't contribute to the teamwork and only ask for the answers to questions commonly inspire negative feelings. Teachers should use enough time in class to eliminate complaints about problems that arouse outside of it.

Train the students in the skills you want them to develop. Guidance could be given during office hours or during class. Be prepared to make time to help students develop their GL skills..

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Some questions that come up about group learning

Question: What are the most common mistakes made by teachers when forming groups?
Answer:
 Forming groups that are too small or too big. A common size for a team is three to five students. When working in pairs, a student can dominate the other. In big groups, it's very difficult for all students to have the opportunity to participate equally. Four-person groups tend to create balance, allowing for a fair distribution of roles. Generally, the size of the teams can be determined by the number of members that are necessary to do a task.
 Forming new groups constantly. The teacher can make the mistake of breaking up and forming new groups constantly. Groups need some time to work out conflicts and to learn from each other. Groups should remain together long enough to allow students to be productive, but each student should also have the opportunity to work with the rest of the students in class