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"Children use fantasy not to get out of, but to get into the real world."
John Holt:
How Children Learn.

Collaborative Group work

We all absorb and assimilate new concepts most easily by bouncing them around and sharing them with others task focussed talking is essential to quality learning. Time spent on talking in groups is extremely cost effective in terms of classroom time management.

To be effective, group work should
  • be meaningful and relevant to all participants,
  • be assessable without automatic dependence on records of work produced by the children,
  • where advantageous, be open ended and involving problem solving,
  • be seen as valuable both by children and teacher,
  • offer the freedom to come together in spontaneous as well as teacher chosen groups,
  • encourage process rather than just product thinking,
  • offer opportunities for adult intervention without inhibiting group interaction.
A list of objectives in communicative competence.
(Not all of these objectives will be possible for younger children, of course, but the teacher is there to act as facilitator)

  • articulating and presenting an idea publicly in a clear and intelligible way.
  • explaining a method
  • arguing logically in support of an idea
  • criticising an argument logically, including one's own
  • evaluating the correctness of an idea or its potential in attacking a problem
  • speculating, conjecturing, entertaining an idea provisionally
  • accepting an idea provisionally and examining the consequences
  • keeping track of discussion
  • coping with being stuck; supporting others in difficulty
  • drawing others out using "Show me" or "How did you get that?"
  • acting as spokesperson for the group's ideas
from Talking about Mathematics by Tom Brissenden ( but relevant to the whole curriculum)