Group Work Versus Individual Work and the Challenges

26 08 2014

Reading this blogpost this morning reignited my thoughts about best practice for maximum engagement and learning.
My pre-service teacher taught her first lesson yesterday – graphing quadratic functions and seeing the patterns of translation. She quietly involved each student at their level of understanding and set them to do the exercises to consolidate the understanding.
At the end of the lesson she was acutely aware that some students had worked well during the lesson and that others had not.
The constant challenge is whether one should teach the class as a group or individually. Should the students work independently or in a group? How can you ensure that everyone enhances their learning, especially when their levels of comprehension are all over the place?
Some thoughts are
– entry and exit cards
– voting systems to quickly identify where each student is at
– variation in teaching practice from lesson to lesson
– changing the groups regularly
– a group rubric including participation levels of each member
– working in pairs and again having a rubric including the participation levels of each member

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