Friday, May 20, 2011

Working Together

With lots of recent testing taking place in our classroom (NAPLAN, Maths Olympiad, Class Assessment across numerous subjects for half yearly reports, Selective Schools for Year 6) and yet more to come (ICAS) I have focusing lately upon group work and collaborative learning. This is so my class may experience a range of different learning experiences and feel more comfortable and familiar with the class as a whole.

In my classroom these group activities have mainly taken on the form of class debating, short class drama tasks, bounceback lessons and our assembly performance.

I'm so happy to report that Term 2 is the time of year where my class members really begin to grow more familiar and confident with each other.
When we sit in a circle with so many beaming, open faces ready to share I really feel like the extra effort in structuring and delivering a groupwork lesson has paid off. In a group learning task I find students are largely more motivated, ready to learn and willing to share with one another, the Teacher, and the school community.

Collaborative learning activities have been very successful for most students in our class - however, as with every task, there are always a handful of students who face frustration and difficulty when they are asked to work in a group.
This article on 'Teaching Kids to Get Along With Each Other' may assist you if your child faces these difficulties. I admit I am not a parent, but this article may offer some extra support or refresh your ideas.

Please find an article written by The University of Illinois at Chicago here that would be very helpful reading for any parent wondering about the benefits of collaborative learning.

Not all parents are convinced of the benefits of group learning - however I would like to advocate that is an essential part of the 'mix' of your child's learning at school and beyond. Besides, how many of us work in jobs where we are not required to collaborate or share at some stage?