Friday, March 18, 2011

Small-Group Work:Assigning Tasks

Question: How can the teacher organize students in a small group to participate actively in completing an assignment?

Problem/Quote: “As an educator, have you ever felt that group work just was not working in your classroom? Observing your students, have you ever been reminded of the times your classmates and you socialized instead of collaborating, when your teachers made similar assignments? Even worse, can you remember doing most of the work while the slackers or less motivated students shared your grade of A?” p., 372.

Problem/Solution/Quote: “One way is to assign students different tasks within the information-collecting process. For example, a group assigned to present the roles of a particular branch of government might divide the task by having a technologically savvy student find a few current pieces of related information on the Internet while others complete complementary tasks, such as researching a primary source document, surveying related literature written at various levels of difficulty, collecting information in a notebook from all who are doing the research, and compiling a PowerPoint presentation of the information which might be shared orally by yet another group member.” P. 373.

Comment: Assigning different tasks in completing research sounds like a good idea. However, how would you assign different tasks in organizing the research for presentation? RayS.

“Designing and Assessing Productive Group work in Secondary Schools.” Javier Vaca, et al. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy (February 2011), 372-375.

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