Effective Group Work Beirut 2012
Agenda • Why Effective Group Work • Essential attributes of effective group work (difference between effective and ineffective group work) • Collaborative Skills • Small Group Structures
Personal perspective … • Before we start this first part … give yourself a number on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of how you rate yourself in terms of intentionally designing group work in the classroom. One, not that skilled; 7 you could run a workshop. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
A consideration… • How many job ads in the paper say: “Wanted, employees who can sit in a row; and, when stuck on a problem, will raise their hand and wait for the boss to come around and solve their problem”? • How many relationships would be better off if those involved could ‘suspend judgment’, ‘attentively listen’, and disagree agreeably’?
Globe and Mail - job add Capital Health - Edmonton … seeking accomplished senior professional to join the executive team and provide operational leadership … spanning the continuum from children to seniors … to build strong relationships with all stakeholders ….
Globe and Mail - job add Montreal -- Executive Medical Directors … the Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal’s Computer Engineering Department is seeking … bioformatic applications of … engineering nanorobotic … and collaborative software design … candidates will work with internal research teams ….
Globe and Mail - job add Reporting to president … create and deliver pro-active communications, and resolve buyer and key stakeholder issues -- activities focus on US, Japan, and Europe …forest management … program is managed in close collaboration with senior industry representatives in BC as well as … federal representatives in embassies in many countries.
A consideration… • Can you name three social skills, three communication skills, and three critical thinking skills you can invoke by choice when you are interacting with one or more people in a group situation? • Can you explain the relationship between social skills, communication skills, and critical thinking skills? Does it matter? How would you ‘teach’ them?
Collaborative Skills Social Skills: taking turns, equal voice, calm voice, politeness, appreciation statements, waiting your turn, encouraging others Communication Skills: attentive listening, paraphrasing, seeking clarification, accepting and extending the ideas of others, probing Critical Thinking Skills: suspending judgment, examining both sides of an issue, considering all factors, disagreeing agreeably
Outcomes • Grade 11: University Preparation English – Revise drafts of written work, collaboratively and independently, with an emphasis on improving content, clarity, and coherence.
Outcomes • Grade 11: University Preparation English – demonstrate and understanding of the relationships among form, purpose, audience, and production techniques by designing or creating media works, independently and collaboratively, based on ideas, themes, and issues examined in this course.
Outcomes • Grade 11: University Preparation English – Compare their own interpretations of texts with those of others (e.g., record responses to self-selected materials and share them with others in a small group; chart and compare and discuss various responses to the actions of a character in a novel….) Make a small group presentation about the diverse influences on a work of Canadian literature. Compare interpretations of a Canadian short story in a small group and account for the difference.
Outcomes - Grade 11 English Communicate orally in large and small groups for a variety of purposes, with a focus on listening for main ideas and significant supporting details. Communicate orally in group discussions, applying such skills preparing for discussion; contributing additional and relevant information; asking questions to extend understanding; completing assigned tasks for the group; working towards consensus; and accepting group decisions when appropriate.
A Few Comments… • Howard Gardner’s work (Harvard) on Multiple Intelligence identifies Interpersonal Intelligence as the number one predictor or whether or not we will be successful in life. • Paulo Freire in his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed argues that only through dialogue can we confront and resolve conflict. And that will not happen in the absence of trust, faith, hope, love, humility, and critical thinking.
A Few Comments… • The number one predictor of becoming and staying effective is the ability of the members of an organization to confront and resolve conflict -- and they must learn those skills -- they are not in us automatically. • The most common skill or attitude in all job adds relates to communication skills and interpersonal skills, as well as, being able to work as part of a team.
A Few Comments… • Vygotsky, Piaget, Dewey, Skinner all argued that learning is socially constructed. • Neurologists argue that talk is essential for intellectual growth. • Expert research argues that experts evolve through their engagement with others. They do not work in isolation.
but… Remember, group work that is not structured effectively is one of the least effective approaches to teaching we know of -- because it is too easy to hide or be the social loafer; or, be the boss and take over and do all the work or some combination of the above.
Cooperative Learning -- can be classified into three dimensions. 1. Creating a Safe Learning Environment • e.g., Tribes, Peaceful School Bus 2. Critical Attributes of Effective Group Work • e.g., Five Basic Elements 3. Small Group Structures • e.g., Think Pair Share, Jigsaw
The Attributes of effective group work Academic Task:develop/clarify the essential characteristics of effective group work Collaborative Task:equal voice (a basic social skill)
Directions Groups of 3 or 4 Letter off A, B, C (D) Create Placemat Brainstorm on Placemat Round Robin ideas Select key ideas (3), rank them Share - One Stay, Rest Stray Apply to this lesson Compare with research
Johnsons’ Five Basic Elements • individual accountability • promoting face to face interaction • teaching collaborative skills • processing academic and collaborative objectives • applying one or more of the 9 types of positive interdependence
9 types of Positive Interdependence • Goal (must be clear) • Resource • Incentive • Role • Sequence • Identity • Outside Force • Environmental • Simulation
Frequently Asked Questions • How long should groups stay together? • What if no one wants to work with a student? • What if a group member does no work? • What is the best group size? • How do you evaluate group work? • How long should they work in groups? • How do you structure groups? • Should the whole school be Tribes Trained?
Structures - Simple to Medium ComplexityNote: there are about 300 structures • Numbered Heads • Snowball • Round Robin • Place Mat • Think Pair Share • Community Circle • One Stray Rest Stay • Milling to Music • Four Corners • Three Step Interview
How complex is simplicity? Take ‘Think Pair Share’ for example -- two students taking time to first think, then share with each other, then to share with the class -- what are all the things a teacher should consider if Think Pair Share is going to be effective?
How complex is simplicity? Directions: • Find a Partner - preferably groups of two - three if no choice at your table • Letter off AB … C if needed • Flip It Brainstorming - 90 seconds (record each other’s ideas) • Remember: Suspend Judgment when Brainstorming • Compare with student responses • Reflect -- where is it wise to suspend judgment • Analyze for the Five Basic Elements
What the university students said … Is there an odd or even number of students? Who will work with the ‘odd’ person? Who works with the student no one wants to work with? Will boys sit beside girls? If so, will they talk? Can they actively listen? Can they paraphrase? Can the teacher frame questions effectively? How much wait time will the students get? Can the teacher ‘play’ with a taxonomy of thinking? Can you respond to students responses: a ‘no’ response, incorrect response, partially correct, a guess, a convoluted response, or a correct response? Have to hold them accountable to do it