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View Diary: Teacher's Lounge (with poll) (61 comments)

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  •  Not picking a fight, but am differing (4.00)
    I will take issue with the 'group-work' comment.  I have been using a modified cooperative learning strategy in all of my courses for a dozen years, and I can tell you it is the single most-effective pedagogical technique I have ever seen or used.

    That said, it is terribly important how group tasks are structured.  You need "positive interdependence" as well as "individual accountability" and "turn taking with tasks".  I have found you actually have to teach the students how to build their group and people skills.  Many kids today don't have much for sibling relationships.

    But, let there be no doubt, and meta-studies on Cooperative Learning confirm this, that appropriately structured group-work enhances numerous skills within students, and also has important corollary benefits including reduced anonymity, reduced racial tensions, increased sensitivity to gender, ethnic and religious differences, increased relationship effectiveness, positive peer-pressure.

    Right down the line, group-work, effectively structured, has both individual and communal benefits for the school.  The fact is, students learn more from each other than they ever do from the teacher, if only because there are so many more of them.

    Education? Teaching? NCLB? Read my book _Becoming Mr. Henry_

    by Mi Corazon on Sat Jan 14, 2006 at 09:36:38 AM PST

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    •  I am going by my own experience (none)
      I was the one in almost all the groups I was ever in who ended up doing most to all of the work.

      It sucked.

      That's why I don't use group learning.

      I've also found it's too difficult at the college level to herd off students simply taking other students' work wholesale. I had a number of problems with this last semester in particular.

      •  Keep trying (none)
        Sorry that your experience was poorly brought off by your teachers.

        I recommend Johnson and Johnson right here at the University of Minnesota.  Read their work, and particularly, how they recommend structuring group-work.  

        I am no expert at doing this at the college level, where competition often outruns cooperation, but at the secondary level, I can tell you that the results of using groups, correctly structured, were unbelievably positive in my case, and created relationships amongst students that transcended the class and even high school.

        Education? Teaching? NCLB? Read my book _Becoming Mr. Henry_

        by Mi Corazon on Sat Jan 14, 2006 at 09:59:45 AM PST

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