GROUP WORK. Group Work Other names: cooperative learning collaborative learning collective learning peer teaching/learning reciprocal learning team learning

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Group Work Other names:

cooperative learningcollaborative learningcollective learningpeer teaching/learningreciprocal learningteam learningwork groups



More content and better retention than in other formats. More satisfaction with classes. More sociable, better decision- makers and problem-solvers.

Group work : a form of task-based learning

Definition of a Task

According to Rod Ellis (2007), a task has 3 main characteristics:

Has a primary focus on (pragmatic) meaning.

Has some kind of gap.

Has a clearly defined outcome.

Some Characteristics of TasksActivities with an objectiveCarried out in competition or in collaborationOutcome may be concrete (e.g. presentation, report) or intangible (e.g. solution to problem).

Further Characteristics of Tasks Involve communicative language use rather than structure.Should be authentic (close to real world)Should involve learners in activities where they negotiate meaning and make choices.


Decide which topics might lend themselves to group work.

Think about how to organize students into groups:either by Tor by SS

Explain to class how groups will operate and how SS will be graded

Explain task objectives, time, roles etc.

Provide feedback and evaluate outcome

Give SS the skills they need to succeed in groups:

InquiringAsking for informationAsking for elaborationHelping one another with contentGiving and receiving constructive criticismActive and tolerant listeningDesigning Group Work

Tasks requiring interdependence. SS "sink or swim" together. each member important for whole group (Kohn, 1986).

Fair division of labor.

Competitions" among groups e.g. designing a model: Prizes

Organizing Learning Groups

Be conscious of group size. Groups of four

A. The less skillful the members, the smaller the groups B. The shorter the time, the smaller the groups

Ask each group to devise a plan of action: who will be doing what and when.

Evaluating Group Work

Give SS opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of their group. Decide how to grade members of the group. Assign all SS in group the same grade

Dealing with Student Concerns about Group Work:

"I come to learn from a professor, not to have to work with my classmates, who don't know as much."

Explain your rationale

Dealing with Teacher Concerns about Group Work:

"If I do group work, I won't be able to cover as much material during the session as I do when I lecture."

Research:SS working in gps develop increased ability to solve problems/understand material better

Aims of group workDevelopment of:

intellectual abilities and skillscooperative skills e.g. planning personal growth (self confidence)professional growth (professional standards)independence and responsibility for learningreflective practices (planning for the future).

Implementing Group Work in the Classroom Suggestions:

Specify objectives Make the task challenging Monitor the Task and the groups Avoid lecturingBe slow to share what you know Clarify your role as facilitatorExpect a lot from your SS Model how you want SS to participate Ask SS to reflect on the process MonitoringTeachers need to observe

who is involved

which members are influential

which members help accomplish task. Forming the groups:

4 members

1 overall task + 4 sub-tasks

Assign roles or let SS do it themselves

Group discusses overall task

Members report on their specific sub-tasks

Realistic outcome: design, chart, cover etc.

Task: World War 1 and II

4 members:

Pre-war eventsImpact of the warCasualties of the warThe war in cinema

Draw a chart showing the casualties (dead and wounded) of the two wars, the countries they came from and whether they were military or civilians. Compare/contrast the two wars. Problem-solving

Example:Think of three alternative solutions to the traffic problem in Alexandria.

List the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Decide which would be the cheapest, the most innovative and the most environmentally friendly.

Report to another group and discuss which would be the best to put forward to the local government. ReferencesBrookfield, S.D., & Preskill, S. (1999). Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Gross Davis, B. (1993). Tools for Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Jaques, D. (2000). Learning in Groups: A Handbook for Improving Group Work, 3rd ed. London: Kogan Page. Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., and Smith, K. A. (1991). Cooperative Learning: Increasing College Faculty Instructional Productivity. Race, P. (2000). 500 Tips on Group Learning. London: Kogan Page.Silberman, M. (1996). Active Learning: 101 Strategies to Teach Any Subject. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Slavin, R. E. (1995). Cooperative Learning: Theory, Research, and Practice, 2nd ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Beckman, M. "Collaborative Learning: Preparation for the Workplace and Democracy" College Teaching, 1990, 38(4), 128-133.Connery, B. A. "Group Work and Collaborative Writing." Teaching at Davis, 1988, 14(1), 2-4. (Publication of the Teaching Resources Center, University of California at Davis)Cooper, J. "Cooperative Learning and College Teaching: Tips from the Trenches." Teaching Professor, 1990, 4(5), 1-2.Cooper, J., and Associates. Cooperative Learning and College Instruction. Long Beach: Institute for Teaching and Learning, California State University, 1990.Fiechtner, S. B., and Davis, E. A. "Why Some Groups Fail: A Survey of Students' Experiences with Learning Groups.

Goodsell, A., Maher, M., Tinto, V, and Associates (eds.). Collaborative Learning: A Sourcebook for Higher Education. University Park: National Center on Postsecondary Teaching, Learning, and Assessment, Pennsylvania State University, 1992. Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., and Smith, K. A. Cooperative Learning: Increasing College Faculty Instructional Productivity. ASHE-FRIC Higher Education Report No.4. Washington, D.C.: School of Education and Human Development, George Washington University, 1991.Light, R. J. The Havard Assessment Seminars: Second Report. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1992.Slavin, R. F. "Cooperative Learning." Review of Educational Research, 1980, 50(2), 315-342.


TASKHow do you view teaching and learning? According to this view say how you want to teach the four skills.

4 members = 4 skillsMovie of the Year

Think of a movie title you want to film and hope to be a success.

You may want to consider viewer type, plot etc.

4 members


Survey colleagues to find out what they think about a particular topic e.g. The Revolution of the 25th of January. Design a questionnaireAnalyse the results Report to class.

4 membersTeachers raise criteria

You want to assess teachers performance at your school for a raise. What are your criteria?

4 membersDecision-Making

Who do you save?

Who do you marry?

Which books to print?

Which subjects to study?


Create a new product. Give it a name and plan a marketing campaign.

Write a song that aims at uniting people.

Design a record, book, or magazine cover for Alexandria.

Develop a menu for a new restaurant using a variety of healthy foods.

Create a television commercial Create a thirty-second television commercial that advertises acertain product.Create a slogan for the commercial. When presenting your ideas, act out the commercial.

Evaluating writingMarking students written text according to given criteria.

The MediatorProvide a scenario or ask SS to invent one that presents a conflict and needs a solution.

Role-play involves "conflicting parties" and a "mediator (maybe a witness).

4 membersCulture Shock

A British tourist came to visit Egypt and was culturally shocked by two things. What might these be, do you think? Help your friend understand.