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The benefits of collaborative group work for learning. A ten-to fifteen-minute presentation that would be suitable for an in-service training day for staff in an educational setting.
The context and intended audience
A presentation on collaborative group work and its benefits will be given during a staff in-service seminar organised by a local secondary school. The aim of this seminar is to provide the continuous development of specialized knowledge and abilities for all professional staff. The intended audience is the entire staff complement which includes the management team comprising the headmaster and assistant heads, as well as all the teachers, learning support teachers and advisory staff.
Background to the approach
Figure [ 1 ]
Collaborative learning entails students working together on a task, where the conclusions reached would be due to the shared meaning among them, ‘a shared focus of attention’ (Rogoff, in Garton, 2004, p.21). Although the outlook of every individual is unique, when students collaborate they are building on each other’s knowledge, striving to understand each other and in turn adapting and altering their own viewpoint.
The quality of teaching depends on the teacher being in tune with the needs of the students and making the learning experience meaningful for them. This presentation focuses on how the learning experience can be improved, how effort can be made to help participants share and build meaning collaboratively.
Figure [ 2 ]
Initiation/Response/Feedback (IRF) or monologic talk (Lyle, 2008) is what predominantly features in today’s classrooms: where teaching is ‘non-interactive’ (Mortimer and Scott, 2003, p.38), where communication is geared towards solely reaching the teacher’s goals, preferring to remain in total control. Dialogic teaching, on the other hand, is where attention is paid to the point of view of the students and opportunities...