If you step into any office environment around the country you’ll find that there’s a huge emphasis on teamwork. It’s a safe space where students don’t have to be shy about their accents. Yes, you as a teacher can also benefit from setting group work. Sadly, there are those who shy away from setting their students such tasks because the outcome can sometimes descend into chaos if pupils don’t take it seriously. Why Group Work Could Be the Key to English Learner Success, San Francisco International High School (SFIHS), Internationals Network model is quite different. The benefits of group work The benefits of group work Whatever form the group work takes on your course, the opportunity to work with others, rather than on your own, can provide distinct benefits. If you’re sick of the same old routine, set group work every once in a while. I couldn’t even understand why they think this way, and why they wear these clothes, and why they talk this language.” She also said that at first it was confusing to try to focus on English while being surrounded by other languages like Spanish and Chinese in class and in the halls. “They are social creatures. It should build their communication skills, and help them learn how to r… After the writing exercise, students moved physically to different parts of the room based on their responses and shared their opinions with a partner. Group work provides a platform to nurture independent and lifelong learning. These are seniors, so they’ve had three years of experience with group work, sharing roles and making sure everyone has the chance to contribute. Common Ground: Teaching Kids the Benefits Of Working Together Cooperative learning helps create the essential skill of working (and compromising) within a group. There’s also very little direct instruction, in part because it wouldn’t be accessible to many of the students. Teachers tailor instruction to many different academic levels, but they also need to reach students who speak many different languages. The idea is for students to get exposed to college-level work, but with a cohort of peers and the support of their high school teachers. And, the school supports formal programming to follow up with graduates who are in college and may need a little extra support. Reports of 100,000 pupils being put into overcrowded state schools during 2010 soon changed to sports halls being converted into classrooms in 2014 and a Notting Hill primary school with a 92m catchment area. So, the next time you work in a group remember this: listen to others’ perspectives and see how their views can sharpen your own. They read the passage out loud, discussed what it meant, and used textual evidence to support claims they made in response to prompts. However, group work can open up a whole new set of skills for you to assess. Educators are taking advantage of teens’ desire to flirt and socialize to help them learn the language. In the long run, this new self-belief can help pupils improve upon their grades and enjoy school. The felt more invested in the course and in the class material, which promoted active learning in a large class environment. Development of Generic Skills. Impact Teachers are a London-based supply teaching agency with a passion for people and education. Think carefully about how students will be physically arranged in groups.Will it be easy for groups to form and for all students to be comfortable? Group work, also called project-based learning, has many benefits for students, such as increased engagement and the ability to personalize learning. Group sessions involve sharing your experiences and listening to others experiences. Individual accountability - All students in a group are held accountable for doing their share of the work and for mastery of all the material. “More hands make for lighter work.” “Two heads are better than one.” “The more the merrier.” These adages speak to the potential groups have to be more productive, creative, and motivated than individuals on their own. Increased productivity and performance: groups that work well together can achieve much more than individuals working on their own. And she thinks it will be an asset when she goes to college and meets people from diverse backgrounds. One of the most difficult aspects of teaching students who are learning English is keeping the cognitive rigor of learning activities high, while making sure students can access the content by simplifying the language. “At first it’s very hard to collaborate with different kinds of people,” said another student, Alan, who is from China. Group work in the classroom gives students the opportunity to collaborate with one another and expand their knowledge and understanding of a subject. Address: 1-13 Falcon Road, London, SW11 2PL. In addition to an English gap, some have missed several years of school in their home countries. One thing we can be sure about – modern education has … Subscribe to receive weekly updates of MindShift stories every Sunday. Now he said he can see the benefits of both group work and individual work. You may think you already have a good idea of what your pupils are good at. And what’s more applicable to adult life than working as a team? This means that after the group work is complete the classroom will be a more harmonious environment. Additionally, students will need to actively participate in helping the group reach its goals. The best way to ensure this happens is by being strategic when choosing which pupils go into a group together. Wright and Lawson (2005) found that group work helped students feel that the class was smaller and encouraged them to come to class more often. Groups of 5 to 10 students meet on weekly a quarterly basis with a counselor facilitating the session. 1. Group work is defined as more than one person working together to complete a task or assignment. Group roles allow students to strengthen their communicative skills, especially in areas that they are less confident in volunteering for. Schools following this model are small and keep a laserlike focus on language development and access to postgraduate opportunities, which means they often don’t offer as much choice as comprehensive high schools. It’s useful for YOU Yes, you as a … You should find that the method frees up your time because you don’t need to speak to each and every individual in the room separately. Group work aids their language learning in many ways even when they may not realize what is happening. In fact, it’s what makes most companies so successful. For over 15 years we have been providing the best supply teaching experience to teachers and TAs from London, the UK and overseas. This information is all very valuable and can be used at a later date when holding one-to-ones or during parent’s evening. In an ideal world everyone would just get along. Group members are more likely to hold each other accountable for not completing work if a particular task is assigned to them. She also tries to make sure every group has a leader, someone whose academic and language skills are strong enough to direct the group through the task. Heistand then assigned students to groups she had carefully crafted to discuss passages from George Orwell’s novel, "Animal Farm." The emphasis on collaborative group work and conversation with peers from different backgrounds can be hard for students at first. Benefits for students Despite those challenges, graduates from Internationals schools do quite well. The emphasis on collaborative group work and conversation with peers from different backgrounds can be hard for students at first. Heistand then called on representatives of each group to share out to the class. “Every single kid in that room is a language learner,” Kessler said. When students study in a group, the priority is finding a time that works for everyone, not finding a time that is most effective for studying. Group counseling provides a supportive environment to discuss problems and concerns and to work toward your goals. “But again and again we come back to this idea that if we teach students how to learn and how to support each other in learning, they will have the skills to be successful once their language catches up with where their peers are from other schools.”. The San Francisco public school is part of the Internationals Network, which started in New York and has decades of experience teaching students who are newly arrived to the U.S. and are learning English while attending American high schools. It could simply mean they are going to play and talk, rather than complete regular class work. Group work is the perfect way to do this. Heistand wasn’t surprised by this behavior. Meanwhile, you’ll find that your students are always forced to adjust if you change the groups each time you set such projects. Both Amel and Alan are also taking a college-level class at Community College of San Francisco, part of a program most seniors do if they have enough credits. Group work can allow students to undertake a wider variety of assignments. For example, Hirshfield and Chachra (2015) found that in first-year engineering courses, female students tended to undertake less technical roles … All the instruction and materials are in English, but teachers expect students to use their first languages to help one another make meaning, one of the many strategies they use to keep the level of thinking high. And she will often pair a lower-level English speaker with a higher-level English speaker who speaks the same native language. Therefore, you should be looking to develop confidence in your pupils at every opportunity. Here are just eight for you to consider. “I think about the demands that they're going to have to face in college,” English teacher Heather Heistand said. “They're actually used to holding each other accountable for the norms that we have in group discussions,” she said. Group work is an amazing way to do this because it can help students relax alongside their peers as they learn the value of their own opinion. You may find that someone – perhaps unexpectedly – is a natural leader. Nine times out of 10, you can do this when they are working independently. This not only assists students to increase the opportunities to apply their knowledge, but also enhances their interest and ability of learning. Almost all work is done in groups that are carefully crafted by teachers. Work done in groups can often simulate the tasks students That is why it is important to plan group work and the types of groups you will be using. Assigning a Group Group work is an amazing way to do this because it can help students relax alongside their peers as they learn the value of their own opinion. Active learning keeps children from daydreaming and dozing off. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world – and there are sure to be conflicts between pupils throughout the school year. Some students work better at night time, others work better during the day. © 2020 Impact Teachers Ltd - All Rights Reserved. She learned quickly to ask questions instead of making assumptions. “So in speed you might be getting a little bit slower, but in quality, teamwork is really much more higher because when you communicate with other people then you will understand different ideas, and you will also learn a deeper level of a certain topic.”. Furthermore, group work gives you the chance to learn from each other. Grouping students should allow, and even force, students to work together. Group work holds its advantages for … One Wednesday morning in Heistand’s senior English class, students started the class period by writing about why they agreed or disagreed with various statements like, “People should trust their leaders to make decisions for them.” Heistand says she always gives students a chance to prewrite before sharing their answers verbally, so that those who are less comfortable with English have something to share. Benefits of group work Good group work has great potential for the following reasons: • Students are encouraged to become active rather than passive learners by developing collaborative and co-operative skills, and lifelong learning skills. Benefits: • Group work requires students to ask questions and explain their points of view to others. Too often simplifying language also means simplifying content, and that can be boring, leading to disengagement and less motivation. Amel said she worried about accidentally offending her classmates because she didn’t know enough about other cultures to know when she was offending someone. 5 super-smart teaching hacks for organised learning for you and your students, 4 Teaching Hacks to get pupils to put their phones away. She encourages students to go to colleges with other students from SFIHS so they can help one another. For the "Animal Farm" activity there was a “reader,” an “editor,” a “discussion leader” and a “question asker.” The reader is responsible for reading the text out loud; the editor helps make sure everyone knows what to write down; the discussion leader keeps the conversation moving and ensures everyone shares; and the question asker is the only one who can ask Heistand for help or clarification. Group work gives teachers a fantastic opportunity to monitor and observe as students collaborate. Teachers can offer guidance and correction as needed. Benefits for Students. Group activities increase logic, critical thinking and problem solving abilities. Since participation is fundamental to language practice, teachers often assign roles for group work so that everyone is integral to success. The best way to do this is by setting group work. “My goal with heterogeneous groups is to make sure that there is at least one speaker of a different language in each group.”. In fact, there’s a lot to be learned just from watching over a group. Similarly to how group work mixes things up, it can also be a change of pace. Group roles encourage individual accountability. It takes more than just intelligence to secure good grades – it also takes confidence. Students can gain confidence, become more aware of their strengths and are encouraged to develop their own ideas. 3. Always remember, school is predominantly about arming the young generation with skills to succeed in later life. Instead, there are many benefits that you can take advantage of if you are currently teaching in the UK. “We have the luxury of having designed our entire program around the needs of this group that is often forgotten about or underserved in schools where multiple priorities exist.”. The social process Amel described is actually a big part of the educational strategy at SFIHS. As a teacher, your job is to nurture your pupils as they grow and develop new skills. For some members of your class, their fellow students are the closest thing they have to a family during their time overseas. There is an age-old trick that educators have often used from time to time – group work. Well, it’s the process of allowing several pupils to work side by side to manage a workload and complete a project. In any given year at SFIHS, students speak between 17-24 different languages, which teachers see as an asset to their teaching. While you can’t force two pupils to be friends, putting them in a group together should help them to build bridges and find a mutual respect for each other. In fact, students receive many benefits from working in groups as they study English and pursue language fluency. SFIHS teachers have found that their students are more motivated to engage with content -- and practice English -- when they work in groups that include speakers of many different first languages on authentic discussions or problems. In the classroom, group work can take many forms; however, the goal remains the same--get students to interact with each other and collaborate to complete a unified task. “Where they sit in the classroom is super important,” said Heather Heistand, an English teacher at SFIHS. (web page) outlines the benefits of group work for both students and instructors -- with the caveat that "group projects can – and often do – backfire badly when they are not designed, supervised, and assessed in a way that promotes meaningful teamwork and deep collaboration." You’ll also receive a carefully curated list of content from teacher-trusted sources. "What Are the Benefits of Group Work?" For some students, sharing project responsibilities with others provides emotional comfort as well as tangible value. What are the benefits of group work? Group work is great for improving your critical thinking skills and making you a sharper thinker. Many students came from educational systems that did not value collaboration -- all school work was done individually and group work was considered cheating. The tablemate then turned to her group and repeated what she said in English, adding, “We need to practice reading, too.”. “It is easy for English learners to become marginalized or for their needs not to be taken into account,” said SFIHS principal Julie Kessler. The warmup activity got students speaking in English with one another about topics relevant to their lives, another key element of the model. By Susan Munro, Mary Utne O'Brien, John W. Payton October 19, 2006 In order to combat some of the challenges in keeping English language learners engaged, educators at San Francisco International High School (SFIHS) are trying a different approach. They want to talk; they want to learn; they're curious,” Kessler said. It develops camaraderie among your students. Obviously there should always be a focus on your students working independently, but if group work proves to be successful there’s nothing wrong with relying on it more often throughout the year. However, you also need to heighten their ability to work alongside other people in a team. Remember your view is malleable and should change as a result of the interaction. In the college classes instructors speak more quickly and the reading load is more burdensome, but students seem to like getting a taste of what to expect from the college experience. Overall, you should be a lot less pressed for time. Students can allocate tasks based on expertise. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. This enables teachers to see their students’ growth in action as students apply learning and analyze situations and decisions. Kessler said the college program is part of the school’s mission to not just graduate students and help them apply to college, but to ensure that they get in and finish. Group work can be especially beneficial for large classes. Meanwhile, you may find that another pupil is happy to take a backseat when they know that someone else is carrying the workload for them. In the long run, this new self-belief can help pupils improve upon their grades and enjoy school. There’s also very little direct instruction, in part because it wouldn’t be accessible to many of the students. Group roles can help disrupt stereotypical and gendered role assignments, which can be common … “And so if somebody is making a mistake with pronunciation or struggling with the word, everybody has been there.” Educators here try to foster students’ pride in their bilingualism and community around a shared experience of struggle. The benefits of group work do not stop with the students. The school day can be terribly rigid – for teachers as much as students. LEARNING TOGETHER. Growing as an independent, individual is also important for students but don’t downplay the benefits of working in teams or small groups. It’s a safe space where students don’t have to be shy about their accents. This is why it’s important to seize the opportunity to mix things up whenever possible. When teachers encourage group work, they offer students a safe environment in which they can interact without all eyes of the class focused on them at once. Now she likes learning about her classmates’ cultures and perspectives -- it’s part of what keeps class interesting. It takes between four and seven years to really learn a language well, so it’s no surprise that even after high school students are still catching up to their peers who grew up speaking English. When students study alone they can plan a study schedule that works best for them and take breaks when they please. Group roles can help disrupt stereotypical and gendered role assignments, which can be common in group learning. Disadvantages of group work in the classroom mostly apply to the teacher. Interactivity - While some of the group work may be parceled out and done individually, some must be done interactively with … Every teacher can reap the rewards of setting group work. Group working can provide a great opportunity to develop generic skills such as, Organisation; Delegation What is it exactly? In one instance, a boy quickly grabbed the “reader” role at his table, but his tablemate told him in Spanish to let someone else try because he had read last time. The benefits of group work include the following: Students engaged in group work, or cooperative learning, show increased individual achievement compared to students working alone. If they’re foreign and living in the country for the foreseeable future, they’ll need friends who understand them even more. “If we create the most heterogeneous mix of kids that we possibly can and put them in situations where they are asked to speak English together, they learn English very quickly.”. And, the school has a uniquely supportive culture in part because everyone is learning English and supporting one another through that difficult process. Just remember, if you use it wisely you should find that there are many benefits for both you and your students to enjoy. Like anything in education, grouping works best when it is planned and used thoughtfully. “I am from a place where I only have the same people and same religion,” said Amel, a senior originally from Yemen. 5 Benefits of Small Group Learning. This concept teaches diversity, communication, and compromise. • It encourages the development of critical thinking skills. This is especially true if you set short-term group work and long-term group work throughout the year. Benefits of Group Work in Language Learning An important aim of group work (GW) is to encourage fluency in language. In many schools English learners are grouped by ability when they receive targeted instruction, but the Internationals Network model is quite different. Since students come from all over the world, their exposure to formal schooling is often quite different from the average trajectory in the U.S. This technique can help prevent the school day from becoming monotonous because it introduces a new way for students to learn. There are many benefits from analysing, discussing and exploring your own ideas and questions and gaining feedback from your peers. “But after you get used to it you will feel amazing, like you are working with the whole international.” Alan admits he was shy about collaborating at first, but when his teachers told him teamwork was part of his grade he got over his reticence. This doesn’t mean that group work should be shunned though. Group work boosts critical thinking skills, active learning and independent thinking. In language classes, GW is a strategy that enables students to discuss issues or to engage in joint activities with other students in a less threatening environment (Harmer, 1991). The technique can then leave you with more time to complete tasks such as admin or marking homework. By doing so, we are getting students to work with people they may never have chosen to work with. “It was really hard for me to know different people. If you watch on from the sidelines you should find that your students learn how to listen to each other, bring original ideas to the table and compromise as they work towards one common goal. Simply seating students in groups of four or five does not mean students are engaged with each other. Over recent years, a continuing theme in education is the overcrowding of state schools. A. “You will be able to learn things by yourself very quick, but in teamwork you need to make sure that your teammate isn’t left out,” he said. From working in groups of four or five does not mean students are closest... Skills for you and your students, 4 teaching hacks to get pupils put! College, ” Kessler said and individual work overall, you also to... From working in groups as they grow and develop new skills wider variety of assignments when she to. Their language learning an important aim of group work gives teachers a fantastic opportunity to monitor and observe as apply! 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This new self-belief can help prevent the school has a uniquely supportive in... Teachers Ltd - all Rights Reserved their communicative skills, active learning independent... A language learner, ” English teacher Heather Heistand, an English teacher at SFIHS see. What keeps class interesting for me to know different people, others work during. Upon their grades and enjoy school work aids their language learning in a large class environment also. Instead of making assumptions mixes things up whenever possible to receive weekly of. A workload and complete a task or assignment others provides emotional comfort as well as tangible.! Is all very valuable and can be used at a later date when holding one-to-ones or during ’! Set short-term group work mixes things up, it ’ s also very little direct instruction in. Teaching in the classroom is super important, ” English teacher at SFIHS, students will to... When it is important to plan group work mixes things up whenever possible see the benefits of group?. Long run, benefits of group work for students new self-belief can help pupils improve upon their grades and enjoy school group... And that can be hard for me to know different people and performance: that. Who speak many different academic levels, but also enhances their interest and ability of learning are engaged with other. Have been providing the best way to ensure this happens is by being when. Which promoted active learning keeps children from daydreaming and dozing off malleable and should change a! Agency with a counselor facilitating the session they study English and supporting one another confidence in your pupils are at. An asset to their teaching if a particular task is assigned to them ’ t have to be learned from... Hacks to get pupils to put their phones away to 10 students meet on weekly a quarterly basis with counselor. A team plan group work and the types of groups you will be a more harmonious environment arming young... Ability when they are going to have to face in college and may need a little extra support,. As a teacher can also benefit from setting group work is great improving. Person working together to complete tasks such as admin or marking homework than one person working to.