Group Work An Overview

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					Group Work: An Overview

       Otto Borchert
• 3 forms of group work
  – Competition, Individualistic, Cooperation
• 4 principles needed for effective group
  – PIES
• Grouping Students
  – 4 different ways
       Cooperative Exercise
• Pairs Check
• What are the advantages of cooperation?
• Advantages
  – Well researched and include: increased
    understanding, increased student
    participation, develops social skills,
    mainstreams students quicker, reduces ethnic
    tension, and improves self esteem
• Disadvantages
  – Different managing style
  – Incorrectly formulated exercises can be
• Advantages
  – Big motivation
• Disadvantages
  – Cultural Bias (Some cultures do not
    emphasize competition, these cultures tend to
    do worse under competitive stress)
  – Serious drop in motivation if there is no sense
    that it is possible to catch up
  – If incorrectly created, students are not
    compelled to help each other
• Individual working by themselves
• Advantages: Easier to manage (Give
  students a worksheet that everyone must
  complete separately but do not grade)
• Disadvantages: Students are not allowed
  to help each other
• Combination of Cooperation and
• Students break into teams, teams
  compete against each other
• Balance between cooperation and
  competition (decreases the disadvantages
  of pure competition while adding
  cooperative advantages)
      Good Group Exercises
• Kagan’s PIES principles
  – Positive Interdependence
  – Individual Accountability
  – Equal Participation
  – Simultaneous Interaction
• Johnson adds Interpersonal and Small
  Group Skills, and Group Processing to this
    Positive Interdependence
• Each individual's contributions to a group
  is needed in order for that group to be
• Example: In the digger, sifter, dater
  combination. If there are no diggers, the
  group will not be successful, same if there
  are no sifters or daters.
     Individual Accountability
• Each individual needs to feel that they
  have contributed to the project
• There needs to be a sense that everyone
  else has worked as well
  – The teacher needs to be able to recognize
    that everyone has played a part in the
         Equal Participation
• Not only do people need to feel that they
  and others have worked, the participation
  level needs to seems equal.
  – No stragglers or people who end up doing all
    the work
• In our example, the diggers, sifters, and
  daters need to work about the same
  amount of time.
     Simultaneous Interaction
• The group must be working with each
  other at the same time.
• In our example, if the daters were all
  offsite from the diggers and sifter, the two
  groups would not be able to interact as
  fully to learn about the others roles.
 Interpersonal and Social Skills
• Some students need to be taught good
  – Ex: Don’t make fun of group members, all
    ideas are important and useful, etc.
• Why? Some people are naturally social
  people, just like some are naturally good
  at computers. People who aren’t good at
  computers need to be taught the skills, just
  like a person who isn’t good at socializing
  needs to be taught.
         Grouping Students
• There are a variety of ways to group
  – Homogenous language groups – Students
    with the same language level are grouped
    with each other
  – Heterogeneous groups – Students are
    purposely arranged with different levels of
    ability and different genders and races
  – Random groups
  – Interest groups – Students select partners
    based on individual interests.

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