Making Group Work Work  


Here are some strategies for helping students get the most out of group interaction.

1. Students in groups need to be close enough to maintain eye contact, talk quietly, and share resources.

2. Groups of 4 seem to work best in most cases.  Sometimes, odd numbered groups of 3 or 5 are required. Have 5 students sit around 4 desks, not 5, so they don't sit too far apart.*

3. Maximize student commitment towards achieving the best possible outcome.  Awarding points to groups competitively or based on other criteria work well for this.

4. Make each group member accountable.

5. Teachers may need to train and monitor students in skills for effective collaboration.

6.  Groups need to maintain some continuity in membership.  The ability to work together effectively is a skill that takes time to develop.

*Any group larger than 7 can easily be made into odd numbered groups by making 0, 1, or 2 groups of 5 -the remainder will be divisible by 3!

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