Pair and Group Work
The focus in this module is on Pair and Group Work. Pair and Group Work incorporates principles and themes from the Cooperative Learning and Collaborative Learning theoretical frameworks. We will look at some real classroom examples, using Stella Ting-Toomey’s “describe, interpret, evaluate” process to analyze what is happening with pair and group work in these classes.
Module Focus: Introduction, Rationale
Some reasons for using pair and group work are…
- To accommodate individual differences and learning styles.
- To provide opportunities for different types of cognitive involvement.
- To allow for unexpected learning.
- And, to motivate learners and increase time-on-task by using a variety of engaging and interesting activities.
#1 Viewing Points: Pairs and Groups, Example A
Video segment #1. Observe the following class. Look for answers to the questions…
- How is the class organized?
- How are the pairs and/or groups organized?
- What kinds of interactions occur between the groups and teacher, and within the groups themselves?
WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A LITTLE GAME TODAY, A CONTEST, TWO TEAMS, AND THE WINNING TEAM WILL GET FIVE EXTRA ACTIVITY POINTS.
OKAY, SO THERE’S A PRIZE. THE WINNING TEAM GETS FIVE EXTRA POINTS IN YOUR ACTIVITY LOG, ALL RIGHT?
WHAT THE CONTEST WILL BE IS…I HAVE TEN TRUE AND FALSE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MOVIE, PART OF THE MOVIE THAT WE SAW YESTERDAY, OKAY?
SO IN OTHER WORDS, YOU NEED TO REMEMBER AND UNDERSTAND VERY WELL WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY.
MOVE YOUR CHAIRS, AND JUST MAKE FOUR GROUPS. LET’S KEEP A LITTLE BIT OF ROOM BETWEEN THE FOUR GROUPS, OKAY? [ speaking indistinctly ]
Teacher: …ANOTHER EXPRESSION YOU COULD USE EVERY DAY. THIS FOOTBALL GAME IS JUST HIGH SCHOOL… IT’S JUST HIGH SCHOOL
SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO… [ speaking indistinctly ]
THAT’S RIGHT, THAT’S RIGHT. HE REALLY PUSHES THEM.
SO YOU CAN WRITE HERE JUST ANYTHING THAT YOU’VE LEARNED ABOUT THE CHARACTERS. WRITE ABOUT THEIR FAMILIES. YOU COULD WRITE ABOUT THEIR PERSONALITY.
SO LET’S MAKE TWO TEAMS.
LET’S JUST DO ONE, TWO, ONE, TWO, ONE, TWO ALL THE WAY AROUND.
WE’RE GOING TO NEED A LINE ON EITHER SIDE OF THE DESK, SO ONE LINE HERE. THE TWOS, ALL THE TWOS GET IN LINE HERE. THE ONES — LET’S GET THIS DESK OUT OF THE WAY, OKAY — THE ONES IN LINE HERE TO GET UP TO THE BOARD.
HERE’S WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN: I’M GOING TO READ –I’M GOING TO READ A SENTENCE.
YOU NEED TO DECIDE IF IT’S TRUE OR FALSE. YOU NEED TO RUN UP TO THE BOARD AND WRITE “T” OR “F” ON THE BOARD. SO IF IT’S TRUE, YOU WRITE “T.” IF IT’S FALSE, YOU WRITE “F,” OKAY?
KIND OF EQUAL DISTANCE. YOU DON’T HAVE TO WRITE T RIGHT HERE; YOU CAN WRITE IT RIGHT HERE. JUST GET TO THE BOARD AND WRITE “T” OR “F.”
THE TEAM GETS ONE POINT IF YOU’RE RIGHT. THE TEAM THAT WRITES FIRST, IF IT’S CORRECT, YOU GET AN EXTRA POINT. OKAY?
SO YOU CAN GET ONE POINT FOR BEING CORRECT AND ANOTHER POINT FOR GETTING TO THE BOARD FIRST, OKAY?
OTHER TEAMMATES, YOU CAN’T HELP.
COACH BOONE CALLS THE SHOTS.
OKAY, ZERO POINTS, SORRY.
AND ONE POINT FOR TEAM ONE. [ excited comments ]
COACH BOONE CALLS THE SHOTS. HE’S IN CHARGE. HE’S THE BOSS.
REMEMBER, THIS WAS ON OUR LIST OF VOCABULARY. “CALLS THE SHOTS:” HE’S IN CHARGE.
AH, TWO’S CATCHING UP, TWO’S CATCHING UP.
JULIUS AND GARY ARE ROOMMATES AT CAMP. [ chalk hitting blackboard ]
OKAY, I THINK YOU WERE FIRST. [ protest shouting, laughter ]
NO, AM I WRONG? WHO WAS FIRST? WHO WAS FIRST, LESLIE?
Observerl: I THINK IT’S A TIE.
WAS IT A TIE? OKAY.
SO BOTH GET TWO POINTS. [ talking and laughing ]
WHO WON? TEAM ONE!
YAY! [ clapping and cheering ]
In this class we saw examples of…
- Teachers forming pairs and groups in different ways.
- Students working together toward common instructional goals.
- Students actively using English to complete the tasks.
- And, having fun while they were doing it!
What else did you and your group observe?
#2 Viewing Points:Pairs and Groups, Example B
Video segment #2. Observe the following class. Look for answers to the questions…
- What is the role of the teacher? The students?
- What kind of group management techniques do you see?
- What is the purpose of using group work in this case?
EACH OF YOU IS GOING TO WRITE —
I LIKE HOW ALEX IS PAYING ATTENTION. THANK YOU, ALEX.
THANK YOU, YOLITSA.
OKAY, YOUR TEAM IS GOING TO WRITE A SENTENCE…
ABOUT SOCKEYE SALMON.
AND WE’RE WAITING FOR ADO SELI AND JOSE LOUIS TO BE LISTENING.
I WILL GIVE THE PAPER TO THE PERSON AT THE TABLE WHO IS GOING TO WRITE IT. BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN THEY’RE THE ONLY PERSON WHO IS GOING TO MAKE UP THE IDEAS. THEY JUST HAVE TO WRITE IT DOWN.
OKAY? AND THEN IN ABOUT FIVE MINUTES WE’RE GOING TO COME TOGETHER AND LOOK AT OUR PARAGRAPH, OUR SENTENCES, TOGETHER.
OH, LET’S SEE. JORGE.YOUR GROUP IS GOING TO WRITE ABOUT WHAT ANIMAL — YOU’RE GOING TO WRITE A SENTENCE TO LET THE READERS KNOW WHAT ANIMAL WE’RE WRITING ABOUT. OKAY?
GABRIELLA. YOUR TABLE GROUP IS GOING TO TELL WHAT CLASS THE SOCKEYE SALMON BELONGS TO, WHAT CLASS OF ANIMALS.
AND, ADO SELI, YOUR TABLE GROUP IS GOING TO WRITE ABOUT WHY SOCKEYE SALMON ARE IMPORTANT TO THE FOREST.
AND HERE, YOLITSA, YOUR TABLE GROUP WILL WRITE AN INTERESTING FACT.
EROSION’S CAUSED BY MINING.
YEAH, I’M GOING TO WRITE THAT.
IT HAS TO BE A BIG ONE.
B-E. [ children sounding out words ] E-R.
IT’S A “E.”
LET’S CHECK IT…
All: SALMON…LIVES…IN —
Girl: LIVE. “LIVE” OR “LIVES”?
“LIVES IN THE RIVER”?
04:08:53:00THE SOCKEYE SALMON…
IN THE RIVER.
BOYS AND GIRLS, WHEN YOU HEAR THE SIGNAL WORD, I NEED YOU TO COME AND SIT RIGHT UP HERE. WE NEED TO MAKE A LITTLE CIRCLE. READY?
OH, I DIDN’T SAY THE SIGNAL WORD YET. THAT’S OKAY: “INTERDEPENDENCE.’
SO TODAY, WHEN WE’RE EDITING OUR PARAGRAPH, WE’RE GOING TO CHECK FOR CAPITALS AND PERIODS. ARE THEY WHERE THEY NEED TO BE?
BUT WE’RE ALSO GOING TO EDIT TO SEE IF IT SOUNDS RIGHT. OKAY? MAKE SURE IT SOUNDS RIGHT.
SO OUR FIRST SENTENCE SAYS — THIS IS OUR TOPIC SENTENCE, AND I INDENTED A LITTLE BIT JUST LIKE IN SPANISH WHEN WE PUT A…WHEN YOU START A PARAGRAPH, YOU PUT AN INDENTATION.
IT SAYS, “WE ARE LEARNING ABOUT SOCKEYE SALMON.” DOES THAT SOUND RIGHT?
( simultaneously ) NO — YES.
Teacher: IT IS RIGHT.
NOW, DO WE HAVE A CAPITAL WHERE WE NEED A CAPITAL?
A PERIOD WHERE WE NEED A PERIOD?
OKAY, GOOD. LET’S MOVE ON TO THE NEXT ONE.
“THE SOCKEYE SALMON LIVES IN THE RIVERS.”
THE SOCKEYE SALMONS LIVE IN THE RIVERS.
OKAY, THE SOCKEYE SALMON LIVE IN THE RIVERS.
OKAY, BECAUSE IT’S MORE THAN ONE SALMON.
SO LET’S READ TOGETHER, READY?
All: “WE ARE LEARNING ABOUT SOCKEYE SALMON.”
AND “SALMON ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO US.”
GOOD JOB, YOU GUYS!
In this class we saw examples of…
- The teacher leading the class sometimes, and then at other times, stepping back to let students manage themselves.
- The teacher checking in with groups and offering guidance or redirection, as needed.
- Different groups coming up with a range of “correct answers” or contributions.
- And, we saw both some expected (or predictable) learning outcomes and some “surprises” from the groups.
What else did you and your group observe?
Module Focus: Summary
The focus in Module 4 has been on Pair and Group Work. Having completed some critical analysis of other teachers’ classes, you can now begin to make decisions about which of these features you can transfer to your own classroom. As with other techniques and practices in this video series, you can think about starting with small experimental changes over time (rather than making lots of big changes all at one time).
See the manual for readings and more information on this and other topics related to Pair and Group Work.