Group work question

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by mikemack42, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. mikemack42

    mikemack42 Companion

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    Dec 16, 2012

    I have a seating chart for all my classes, but when they're working on their own, I let the kids move around and work next to their friends if they like. I tell them they have to be back in their normal seats when we discuss something as a class.

    I have found this to be a nice arrangement, but my head of school came in to observe and he recommended that I tell them where to sit. He said letting them choose has an impact on productivity, though he never got more specific than that.

    I should clarify that if they're doing an assessment in groups, then I choose groups while accepting advice from the kids about my choices, and I explicitly teach group work skills. When they move around and sit where they like, they are working on individual assessments.

    Do you think I should continue with my current arrangement, or follow the head's advice? I could continue with my current arrangement without getting into trouble, since the observations are very infrequent and I'm in good standing with management.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 16, 2012

    There are different reasons and ways to group kids to work together. Is your administrator's concern with cooperative work or with furniture being moved?
     
  4. mikemack42

    mikemack42 Companion

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    Dec 18, 2012

    All he said was it was having an impact on productivity, though it was the first class he observed, so he couldn't really know the impact it had. I'm inclined to keep the arrangement the way it is, but wanted to hear other opinions about it.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Dec 18, 2012

    If your administrator told you to tell them where to sit, then you need to tell them where to sit.
     
  6. mikemack42

    mikemack42 Companion

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    Dec 18, 2012

    Thanks Caesar, but it's not so strict in my school. I'm free to disagree with him if I can explain my thinking.
     
  7. UniQK

    UniQK New Member

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    Dec 22, 2012

    Kinda all depends on how much you trust your class as a teacher you know them better than anyone if it works for you and your class yeah however its always good to remove and break comfort zones as they hinder progress. Try talk to your class about the convo so they make a conscience effort to improve if they don't stress to them you will be forced with no option. Also take into consideration levels of intelligence.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 22, 2012

    I don't think the OP has issues with grouping students. It's her administrator that does.
     
  9. muinteoir

    muinteoir Companion

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    Mar 12, 2013

    I agree with this. I wouldn't go against what appears to be a directive from my boss.
     
  10. skeptic

    skeptic Rookie

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    Mar 13, 2013

    I agree with Caesar753 and Muinteoir. Err on the side of caution first. If later you discuss it with your principal, and he is okay with students sitting where they like, then you can offer that option as well.

    If you are familiar with Kagan, when working in groups, the teacher is supposed to group them according to the student abilities so that you have something like a GT, average, average, and Low average grouping. You can check out Kagan strategies if you would like to learn more. Here is another source that you may find helpful:
    netc org site -- The focus is on effectiveness of strategies (I can't post the link as I am new)
    This article on cooperative grouping gives explanations and research to back it up.

    Hope this helps. And if it is not what you were looking for, please disregard.
     
  11. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Mar 13, 2013

    I would sit down with your administrator and see if he can provide a little more explanation. You may be able to explain the case or you may need to change, but either way, you'll know a little bit more of what was meant.

    I can see letting the students choose seats equaling less productivity because they are sitting near friends and chatty not working. However, I could also see the benefits in allowing them to sit near friends when they are practicing as they are more likely to ask a friend for help.
     
  12. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Mar 13, 2013

    I'd still go with Caesar on this one. I think your administrator has a point, and I wouldn't go against an administrator on an issue such as this. Just because you can go against your administrator doesn't mean you should. I'd wait for a larger and more significant battle before going against the administration.
     

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