Re: Single sex education

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

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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