Re: Improving group work-thanks for posting
- Hello Dave
thank you for having some time to post more about group work.
I have noticed you quoted me, and I must say I agree in all you have written.
Some of the steps you described I already use. I always try to invent new things, it's difficult sometimes to put the students to groups, I even had a negative response when one student didn't want to be in group with another one in a class. But, I always try to mix them as you describe.
I am aware of beginner students and lower level, and don't use group work with them, rather pair work. So, I mostly do group work with intermediate and upper-intermediate students.
You gave me some new ideas and alternatives, and I must thank you one more time. I will probably share this with some of my collegues
Bye from Croatia
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "dk" <davekees1@...> wrote:
> "What I want to say is, to prepare a group work, so that everybody in a
> group has their own task is time consuming. I have discussed this with my
> colleagues in school. If they put students in group only few students will
> work and they mostly also use their mother tongue L1, even though I tell
> them to speak more English."
> 1. I agree that for group work, any more than four students is less
> 2. You will find that more advanced students will more readily work together
> in English. Beginners and low-level students will have a much greater
> tendency to speak in L1.
> 3. Make sure the instructions are very clear and do a demonstration if
> necessary. If there is some confusion about the activity, students might not
> ask for clarification and not do the activity.
> 4. Mix up the people in the groups (or pairs). Do not let the people who are
> sitting together be in the same group. These people who sit together are
> usually buddies who are sometimes "too" comfortable with each other and
> often too lazy. If I have 20 students and want to make groups of four, I
> will start at the front of the class and go up and down the rows of students
> counting off the students to five: 1-2-3-4-5-1-2-3-4-5-1-2...etc. Then I
> tell all the "ones" to get together, the "twos" to get together, etc. This
> effectively causes a mix of students who are not "too" comfortable with each
> other. You will find that such a group will perform better and put more
> effort into the exercise.
> 5. To generate more English, ask the students to record their role play or
> activity. Almost all of our students have mobile phones that can record,
> certainly one of the students in a group has one. If you ask them to make
> and record their product, their role play, they will focus on the English
> earlier in the activity. They will often work out the sentences in English
> that they want to say, discussing the grammar and vocabulary, sometimes even
> working out a script.
> 6. Alternative #1 to the suggestion above, give every student two peanuts in
> the shell or some other cheap wrapped-up treat. While they are working
> together on their activity, if someone speaks in the L1 they must surrender
> one peanut to the person who caught them. Even adult students have great fun
> with this and it keeps everyone on their toes to really try to keep
> everything in English.
> 7. Alternative #2 to the suggestions above, appoint one or two "English
> policemen". Their job is to patrol the classroom and catch and remind
> students to speak only English. Of course, I'm sure you also circulate
> around the classroom to do this but sometimes there are just too many
> 8. If the students know or think they will have to perform their activity
> (or play their recording) in front of the class, they will put more effort
> into it. You may not have time to have every group or pair perform. Choose
> some "Winners" and "Losers". Take two thin slips of paper, maybe about 1x4
> cm. On one write "Winner" and on the other "Loser". After the students have
> had some time to do their activity, tell them you are going to pick a team
> to come to the front of the class to do their role play or activity for
> everyone. Hold the papers in your hand so they cannot see what you have
> written. Go to Team #1 and ask them to choose one paper. If it is "Loser",
> tell them you are very sorry but they will be unable to perform their role
> play for everyone. If it is "Winner", call out "Congratulations!" and invite
> them to the front of the class to perform. It is so funny to see students
> rejoice when they "lose" and be so sad when they "win". This technique makes
> all of the students participate seriously in the activity because they don't
> know if their team will be chosen or not.
> 9. For the teams that perform, you could give them some sort of score or
> even have the audience of students give them some sort of rating. You could
> award them with more peanuts or some other token cheap prize or just a round
> of applause.
> The main idea is to keep it fun but also set up nudges, choice architecture,
> or the dynamics that will prompt the students towards the behavior that you
> want them to follow.
> Dave Kees
> GUANGZHOU, CHINA
> Email - DAVEKEES@...
> Chat - Skype:DAVEKEES
> Blog - http://davekees.wordpress.com/
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