Pupils work together in pairs - possibly friendship, possiblyboy/girl. Pairs can be used to promote ‘response partners’during the drafting process, and to work as reading partnerswith an unfamiliar text. It is also ideal for quick-firereflection and review and for rehearsal of ideas beforepresenting them in the whole class.It is easy to organise even in cramped classrooms. It is alsoideal to promote high levels of participation and to ensurethat the discussions are highly focused, especially if allied totight deadlines. It can be used in the early stages of learningfor pupils to recall work from a previous lesson, generatequestions or work together to plan piece of work.
Pupils work together in pairs - possibly friendship,possibly boy/girl. Each pair should then join up withanother pair to explain and compare ideas.
Pupils work in groups of three. Each pupil should takeon the role of talker, questioner or recorder. The talkerexplains something, or comments on an issue, orexpresses opinions. The questioner prompts and seeksclarification. The recorder makes notes and gives areport at the end of the conversation. On anotheroccasion the roles should be swapped round.
The teacher gives each student a different card. The card can have a word/topic on it, it can have a questions etc. Students then have to find the group they are in, e.g. each card has an equation on it, the students solve the equation and all students with x = 3 sit on one table. This is a good way to get students into groups, as the teacher can differentiate the groups by the card given. Students can then work in the groups on the learning activity (which can be the same activity or different).
Each group should appoint a spokesperson. The risks ofrepetition can be avoided if: One group gives a full feedback and others offer additional points only if they have not been covered. Each group is asked in turn to offer one new point until every group ‘passes’; Groups are asked to summarise their findings on A3 sheets which are then displayed - the class can then be invited to compare and comment on them.
A topic is divided into sections. In ‘home’ groups of four orfive, pupils should be allocated a section each, and thenregroup into ‘expert’ groups. In these groups experts shouldwork together on their chosen area, then return to theiroriginal ‘home’ groups to report back on their area ofexpertise. The ‘home’ group should then be set a task thatrequires pupils to use their different areas of ‘expertise’ for ajoint outcome.Advanced planning is needed but this strategy is veryeffective in ensuring the participation of all pupils.
After small groups have discussed together, pupilsshould be given a number or colour. Pupils with thesame number or colour should then join up, makinggroups comprising representatives of each originalgroup. In their new group, pupils then take turns toreport back on their group’s work and perhaps begin towork on a new, combined task. This is a way of ensuringthat pupils are regrouped and learn to work with a rangeof others.
Individuals explore an issue, briefly then pairs shoulddiscuss the issues or suggest ideas quickly, then doubleup to fours and continue the process into groups ofeight. This allows for comparison of ideas, to sort outthe best or to agree on a course of action. Finally, thewhole class should be drawn together and aspokesperson for each group of eight should feed backtheir group’s ideas. This is a useful strategy to promotemore public discussion and debate.
Pupils work in groups on a task. Once groups havecarried out a task, one person from each group should beselected as an ‘envoy’ and move to a new group toexplain and summarise, and to find out what the newgroup thought, decided, or achieved. The envoy shouldthen return to the original group and feed back. This isan effective way of avoiding tedious and repetitive‘reporting back’ sessions. It also puts a ‘press’ on theenvoy’s use of language and creates groups of activelisteners.