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Thinking Skills: Collaborative Learning

Aberdeen University, PGDE, 2010, Further Professional Studies Project by Anne, Sarah, Edith & Chris
by

Christopher Pennington

on 9 June 2010

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Transcript of Thinking Skills: Collaborative Learning

Collaborative Activities: Group Work Positives & Enablers "We've got no time for that." "Shush!" "Why? Why?" "Let's do that." "No, it's boring." 5/5 groups achieved the formal success criteria to write an example sentence.
3/5 groups - not all pupils made a verbal contribution. Mixed ability groups - more able learners provide scaffolding for less able learners (Bruner)

By listening to class mates child gains other people's ideas and approaches (Robert Fisher)

By expressing their ideas to others in their group a child can reflect and analyse his own ideas (Fisher)

Increases children talk time and reduces teacher talk time.

Increases optimal learning within the Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky) collaborative learning pushes the child beyond his individual learning

Valuable for learning collaborative skills which are useful in most careers.

Children can learn to take different roles:
chairman,
recorder,
time keeper,
researcher,
reporter etc.

Belbin identified 9 roles under 3 headings: Action orientated, People orientated and Thought orientated.
Valuable for learning listening skills as well as speaking skills.

Helps to stimulate children to increase participation in learning.

Can increase ownership of learning.

Good self esteem as children bring their own strengths to the group.

Less threatened to ask peer for explanation than the teacher - more confident learners.

Can develop deeper understanding and higher order thinking (Pollard).

Can extend the learning in the whole class as different groups teach what they have learned with the rest of the class. 2/5 groups - pupils were not suppporting each other - arguing. "That's a good one!" 5 groups of 5 Primary 5 friends who chose to sit together were recorded discussing a task. Is groupwork always inclusive? Classroom Research (SE1B) SITE 1.1.3 Know how to plan for effective learning in the area(s) of the curriculum or subject(s) to be taught, or themes being studied.

SITE 2.1.1 Plan coherent, progressive teaching programmes which match their pupils needs and abilities, and justify what they teach

SITE 2.1.2 Demonstrate that they are able to use appropriate strategies to motivate and sustain the interest of all pupils during a lesson.

SITE 2.1.3 Demonstrate the ability to teach individuals, groups and classes.

SITE 2.2.1 Organise classes and lessons to ensure that all pupils are safe and productively employed when working in groups

SITE 3.1 Demonstrate that they respect and value children and young people as unique, whold individuals. Group Work Activities
Circle Time
Brainstorming
Worst Scenarios
Carousel or Boomerang
Value Continuum
The Pyramid, Snowball or Pair, share and square
Moving Pictures Groupwork planning considerations:

Appropriateness - simple / difficult tasks may frustrate or bore.

Interest level and Relevance promote engagement.

Behaviour patterns - careful role assignment, strategic group forming, self / peer evaluation of roles, individual target setting.
Dominators - Could be employed as facilitator to encourage equal contribution?
Passengers - How do different roles affect each pupil's disposition to contribute?

Assessment - Peer and self assessment criteria include assessment of "How?" as well as "What?"

Differentiation - can everyone contribute? Roles within the group can promote inclusion.

Groupworking skills - Groupworking skills need to be explicitly taught (how to agree / disagree in discussions, skills to perform the roles) groupworking skills build confidence and independent thinking.




Group work pioneers Grace Coyle
Josephine Klein
Robert Bales
Kurt Lewin
Carl Rogers
Gertrude Wilson Why not use groups? There are challenges ... Classroom Research (SE2A) 3 groups of 5/6 Primary 1 pupils were recorded doing groupwork tasks. Can it make a difference how groups are formed? 3/3 groups achieved the success criteria to match the words and shapes. 3/3 groups had full pupil participation. 3/3 groups mostly worked in a supportive, constructive way. "What does this say?" "Whose turn is it?" "We have to find the circles." "But how should we do the rest of it?" "Where shall we put them?" Mixed ability groups formed by the teacher
based on blending of reading groups Close friendship pairs were avoided. "It says cylinder." A large number of variables affecting the observations:

Different ages of pupils
In SE1B I was teaching alone, in SE2A the CT was physically present (teaching a fourth group)
Different group sizes
Different tasks set
Previous experience of groupwork
Disposition to learning on that particular day
Previous social interractions between pupils
Previous task and subject knowledge and familiarity. Make group work
work for you...
and your class Types Of Group Work co-operative learning
collaborative learning
collective learning
peer teaching.
team learning
study group
work groups Informal learning groups
Formal Learning Groups
Study Groups 1
"Group work takes
longer to organise and
the subject matter
takes longer to teach." 2
"We don't have time." 3
"There's little or no control." "It takes longer to teach."

No evidence to suggest collaborative learning is less efficient than chalk and talk.

Research indicates pupils who construct their learning
through discussion understand more fully and retain it longer.
"We don't have time."

Establishing a collaborative working paradigm requires investment of time initially.

Initial investment of time justified by large gains in deeper understanding and retention of learning long term.
"There is little or no control."

Teacher retains "control" of classroom by strategically managing working environment:

Gradual increase in degree of responsibility pupils take.

Pupils increasingly take on individual roles (as previously discussed).

Pupils explicitly taught groupworking skills: active listening, turn taking,
sharing.

Loss of "control" may be reduction micro management needs of the class,
teacher free to make more meaningful interventions to enhance learning. Skills required for collaborative learning can be embedded in learning intentions and success criteria.

Collaborative learning fully compatible with AiFL approaches and self and peer evaluation.

Collaborative learning engages pupils, reduces need for teacher-centred "control."

Through collaborative learning:
Opportunties to engage critical thinking approaches (DeBono's "thinking hats")
Pupils generate, entertain and evaluate ideas without necessarily accepting them.
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