Re: Single sex education

Date: Fri Feb 25 2000 - 14:25:20 EST

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    I disagree about what I think I'm hearing said about "group work." From my
    experience, we (teachers, presenters, etc.) usually toss kids and adults
    into small groups to work without much thought about whether they've been
    taught any of the skills necessary to do so. There are many ways to go
    about this. I know a third grade teacher who works on these skills for the
    first four weeks of school almost exclusively, gradually moving the
    students into increasingly sophisticated "forms" of group work: the free
    for all, the assess your own talents and pick your own jobs, the assigned
    jobs, etc.

    There are also many ways to allow individual members of a group to be both
    responsible for the group product and for their own individual piece of
    work. A "slacker" spoiling a group efforts doesn't mean the process is
    invalid, just that a problem within it is not being addressed, which seems
    to me is supposed to be the underlying value of such teaching strategies.
    I've also seen number of teachers who when composing groups intentionally
    seperate young people who are friends because "they'll just talk together."
    I'm not a teacher but a presenter of workshops to young people and prior to
    a presentation or workshop I try to get together with the teacher who knows
    the students and construct groups where everyone in the group has one
    person who is a friend or who they have some similarities with. It seems
    that very often this results in "cross networks" of communication that work
    pretty well. Perhaps I misunderstood what people have been saying about
    this strategy but if not, I encourage you to consider whether in using or
    experiencing this strategy people are being tossed into it without some
    basic skills necessary to the process first.

    Rochelle Riling

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