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Small Group learning

Small Group learning

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Small Group learning

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  1. Small Group learning By Dr Asim Pasha GPVTS ST2 DPOW.

  2. Introduction • Do you teach (or have you ever taught) small groups? • Identify small-group teaching situations

  3. Small group teaching situations • 75 => 15 => pairs • Half day group work • on the wards • practicals • role play • field work • seminars

  4. What are the most rewarding features of small group teaching?

  5. students can take risk • involvement • immediate feedback • leveling of relationship/informality • students can be responsible/no hiding • opportunity for face to face interaction, everyone has a voice • diagnostic • equal opportunity to have a go • space to think and give an opinion, explore own thinking and ideas • get to know students better • motivation, works two ways • encouragement can build confidence • co-construction of group knowledge & identity • student-centred/led learning

  6. Small Group Structures

  7. Rounds • Encourages everybody to contribute • Circle • Trigger sentence ‘a question I would like answered today is … ‘ each person takes it in turn to offer a short comment

  8. Buzz groups

  9. Circular interviewing • Each person takes it in turn to interview the person opposite them in the circle • The role of interviewer and interviewee is passed round the circle until everybody has had a turn at each role • ‘what have you read ..’

  10. Fish Bowl • Members in the inner circle are involved in discussion /role-play/ group activity • Members on the outside have the role of observer

  11. Environments for small group teaching • seminar • lecture theatre • online • small room with moveable furniture • construction site • breakout rooms • canteens • work sites • laboratories • art room • book shops • library • conference centre

  12. How do time scales affect small group work?

  13. How do time scales affect small group work? • initial awkwardness, students need clear briefs • time needs to be managed • staff schedules may constrain small group activity • tasks might go from 2 min to 30 min • or over a semester! • or as long as it takes • different groups work at different speeds • time it takes depends on the aim/outcome intended • needs time built in for sharing/feedback/hearing others • groups may persist longer than the tasks they do

  14. Differences between pairs and larger groups include:

  15. Differences b/w pairs & larger groups • pairs reinforce ideas, larger groups get diversity of ideas • allocate roles • in fours people can hide, pairs force interaction • bigger group more hiding possibilities • roles emerge, leader, spokesperson, domination and submission • group dynamic becomes fore grounded: teachers/facilitators need to know when students need help with role emergence • role differentiation becomes important • bigger group may force consensus; can this be damaging? • sub-groups emerge

  16. Groups A gathering of people is a group • when its members are collectively conscious of their existence as a group; • when they believe it satisfies their needs; • when they share aims, are interdependent, like to join in group activities, and want to remain with the group. Though groups occur in many forms and sizes, there seems to be a set of characteristics fairly common to them all. From: Small group teaching by David Jaques

  17. Characteristics of groups • A definable membership • Group consciousness • A sense of shared purpose • Interdependence • Interaction • Ability to work as a single unit

  18. Good education practice • encourage student-tutor contact • encourage student-student co-operation • encourage active learning • give prompt feedback • emphasise time on task • have and communicate high expectations • respect diverse talents and ways of learning (Chickering & Gamson, 1987)

  19. Activity Self organise • Four groups • As near as possible along discipline lines • Identify the common features of your disciplinarily

  20. Feedback Identify groups and common features/goals • Odds & sods: Business & technology, arts, professional • common features • skills as well as theory • applied theory • Humanities • text based subjects • not factual but negotiable • study social relationships past present and future • ability to detach oneself from the field of study

  21. Identify groups and common features/goals • Science, quantification and measurement theory-based / evidence-based falsifiable predictive critical thinking

  22. Activity (simulation) • develop a short group learning activity • relevant to your discipline • prepare a presentation of this activity using the flip chart paper

  23. Design for Learning Background reading Individual task Group task Plenary Follow through

  24. Design for Learning Framing: final examination will be composed of your questions (distribute) background reading Evaluate Group task Individual task: write one sample examination question and explain why this is a good question. Post to discussion area Compile sample examination paper and post Critique on discussion board Produce assessment criteria For n Groups Plenary: presentation by groups Follow through: collate and distribute all questions & criteria

  25. Activity Brief overall • Form groups • In groups • Identify topic • Write objective(s) • Plan session • Plenary • Present • Debrief Brief groups Group work Plan Objectives • Identify topic • Determine approach • Inductive • Deductive Debrief Present

  26. Aims of your session • Agree your activity then • Using circular interview technique to ensure each person contributes • Identify the aims of your session

  27. Activity (simulation) • In your groups develop a short group learning activity • relevant to your discipline • prepare a presentation of this activity using the flip chart paper 20 minutes

  28. Feedback Group presentations of outputs • key points • … • …

  29. Why work in a group?

  30. Summarising

  31. “How do I know until I hear myself say it?” “Academic knowledge is articulated knowledge” Laurillard, D. (2002). Rethinking University Teaching - a conversational framework for the effective use of educational technology. London, RoutledgeFarmer.

  32. “Constructivism has at its heart the view that individual students construct or build their own knowledge and understanding rather than simply acquiring it pre-packaged and ready-made. The knowledge that they build will depend on several factors including what they are formally taught…the culture of their discipline” Phillips, D.C. (2000) Constructivism in Education The National Society for the Study of Education, Chicago

  33. Factors to consider • Group size • Preparing learners • Structure of groups & communication patterns • Learning environment

  34. Ground rules • Implicit ground rules in every social situation • Individuals will come with their own assumptions • Make ground rules explicit for group • Rules will help the group to be effective & reduce conflict Rules!

  35. Terms of reference • What is the purpose to the group? • What are the expected outcomes from the group? • Is the group work assessed? How? Criteria? • What are the main components of the project? • What are the deadlines? • Are there any guidelines? • Are you suppose to do it on your own? • Do all group members share the same understanding of the above?

  36. Things to Consider • Communication • Social • Decision making • Roles & responsibility • Time management • Task management • Managing group processes • Commitment

  37. Learning environment Physical and virtual arrangements have a powerful effect on interaction • Lecturer is standing or sitting • Distance between lecturer and group • Position in a group is important: Sitting nervous students opposite sympathetic tutor or encouraging peer A dominating student can be quietened by being seated immediately next to the tutor (Griffths & Partington 1992)

  38. Effective groups • Contain a balanced range of members whose strengths complement each other • Are not small or too large • Members take time to form a ‘group’ • Members are clear about their own role and that of others • Members understand and abide by a set of mutually agreed ground rules • Share out the tasks fairly • Are organised & self disciplined • Tackle problems within the group effectively

  39. Facilitator/Teacher Behaviours • Teachers’ style and approach influences the approach taken by the learner • Students taught by teachers with a Student Focussed approach characteristically take a deep approach to their learning - attempting to make sense of the content of their course (Sheppard and Gilbert, 1991).

  40. Thank you