Group work/ Paired work strategies

The majority of activities in developing oral language in ‘Tip of the Tongue’ involve pupils working together in pairs and in groups.  For some pupils, it is often counterproductive to ask them to give descriptions to the entire class. Students are often embarrassed by their minimal knowledge or public exposure may make them uncomfortable and reserved. However, they are often eager to share their ideas with their peers in pairs or group work and in time, build confidence.

Much research has shown that group work is an important factor in improving pupils learning and motivation in school. However, research also shows that while many pupils sit in groups to work in our classrooms, they don’t often work collaboratively.

“The virtual absence of group work is one of the most startling findings of a range of research into both primary and secondary schools. Children may work in groups, but they very seldom work as groups.” (Ken Richardson, The Meaning of Intelligence, 1999)

We can assign roles to pupils during some of these oral group activities such as the ‘co-operative learning role cards’ to help them work co-operatively.

Co-operative learning role cards

‘Tip of the Tongue’ Oral language and vocabulary development box contains eight sets of six co-operative learning role cards. The co-operative learning role cards help remind students about their job responsibilities. Students place their job titles in front of them so other group members can see them.

These roles will need to be explicitly taught to pupils before they engage in a co-operative learning group.

Timekeeper The timekeeper keeps track of time and informs the group on the amount of time that is left. (2-minute warning)      Recorder The recorder keeps notes on what is discussed/ decisions made by the group. Listens carefully and writes clearly Checks the accuracy of notes with the group
Leader The leader makes sure that every voice is heard Keeps the group on task Encourage everyone to listen and consider others views    Reporter The reporter is the speaking representative of the group. Records information clearly and accurately The reporter presents the finished work of the group to the class/ teacher
Helper The helper distributes and collects any resources the group useEncourager The encourager gets discussion moving and keeps it moving    

More group work strategies for oral language to follow in another post.

If you have tried co-operative learning roles in your classroom what roles did you use?

What worked well?

What would you change if you used co-operative learning roles in another lesson again? Feel free to share below.

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