EFL / ESL Teaching Tip: Ideas for Effective Group work

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This week’s teaching tip video focuses on ideas for effective group work. Some students love group work, but others aren’t so crazy about it. So what can we do to gain more buy in and get students to hop on the group work train? Here is a synthesis of James’ ideas:

• Create the groups based on student personalities and skill sets.
• Make sure students understand the value of group work by having a session with them about why group work is important.
• Have a team skills training session so that students know how to work well with each other.
• Provide an environment that builds mutual trust by…:
 having the group assign roles.
 having the group decide their means and frequency of communication.
 having the group create a process for conflict management and resolution.
• Make sure the group has set clear goals.
• Assess the students as a group AND as individuals. You can also evaluate the final product, as well as the team process.
• Consider involving students in the assessment process by having them submit documentation about their group process as well as a variety of evaluations (team, peer and self).
• Provide sufficient external support by planning how you will support groups/students that have poor attendance, don’t do their share of the work, receive poor peer evaluations or that can’t resolve a conflict.

Do you have any other ideas that you would like to share on this topic? Leave them in the comments!

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