Putting kids in groups does not equal collaboration

PYP students spend a lot of time working groups.

It’s part of the DNA of our programme – we are developing collaborative and confident inquirers.

Yet how often does student experience look a little like this:

635789628873943449-1288888123_Group-project-problems.png

It’s not surprising when you consider that the teacher has already decided:

  • the size of the group
  • what they groups are doing
  • who is in the group
  • how much time the groups need to complete the task
  • the name of the group

You know what isn’t on this list?

The kids’ passions and interests!

In the past I often spent time carefully crafting out groups. Under the guise of ‘behaviour management’ I spent time pairing up kids who were independent in their learning with those who needed more support.

  • The kids who were independent were frustrated because they ended up spending time trying to keep their group focused.
  • The kids who needed support still wander off task even when paired up with the ‘good’ kids
  • A bunch of kids who might only have a passing interest in the topic

Not a very good environment for anyone to learn in!

During this current learning engagement the kids flicked up a bunch of ideas to take action on.

And then I left them to it.

The kids who I normally wouldn’t let work together joined up to collaborate.

The kids who were independent only needed to be told what time they needed to wrap things up. They would wander in out of class as they needed always setting a timer  iPad to let them know when to come back and checking in with me as needed.

The kids who often wandered off task were generally well-engaged because they were interested in what they were doing.

The kids who needed support to iron out problems were able to access support a lot quicker because my attention wasn’t diverted to managing behaviour.

It was focused on learning.

 

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One thought on “Putting kids in groups does not equal collaboration

  1. Pingback: Viral handshakes and icebergs | Teaching the Teacher

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