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    Re: using grouping
    Sara

    On 11/27/12, stuck wrote:
    > I have put students into groups to work on an activity in
    > order for them to share ideas and explore the material in
    > more depth, so it's not just me talking to them. I came up
    > with a great activity, the only problem is that they are
    > not interacting much, more like one student figures out the
    > answer and the rest copy. How do you solve this?

    The silence speaks volumes. Over the years I've found 'group
    work' to be as you're finding it. One day one of the strong
    students came to be and said "Please don't put in a group
    anymore - please let me work on my own because that's what's
    going to happen anyway if you put me in a group. I'm tired of
    carrying the dead weight around, just let me work by myself."

    Your motivation for putting them in a group was to give them a
    break from 'just you talking' - there are other ways to give
    them a break from that. If a break is what's most important,
    then they're getting one and you know what - they can learn
    something by copying answers - and in real work groups in the
    real world, tasks are delegated by a leader, not left up to
    the group to work out.

    Group work was the Johnson brothers idea - they were brothers
    who were also Ph.ds in education and they wrote books about
    group work in school and why it would prepare kids for the
    real world. I don't think it does that, I don't think school
    can really be preparation for the real world.

    But your group work sounds like you gave them a work sheet and
    they're supposed to look up answers. Try something more
    opinionated. What subject do you teach? If it's history, tell
    them they need to come to consensus on the question of -
    should we let the nation go over the fiscal cliff? Actually
    you could ask that question in any class, it doesn't have to
    be history.
    Or should we have gotten into World War I? Should we stop
    trading with China? Rather than have them looking up 'facts'
    have them discuss and they can appoint a spokesperson for
    their group's point of view and the class can vote which way
    to go.