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Group Work

November 25, 2009

Working together never seems to be as easy as it sounds.  Yet, we know it is a vital skill for our students to possess. Group work can often lead to unequal workloads, little accountability and tense students.  However, as most of us have experienced in our lives – under the right circumstances groups can achieve remarkable results.  A 2008 study in Educational Psychology found that 2nd graders who were in classrooms that stressed cooperative learning performed better in reading comprehension than 2nd graders in traditional classrooms.

I have discussed previously that collaboration is an important 21st Century skill.  One of the keys to effective collaboration is creating “positive interdependence” within the work group.  Having shared goals, assigned roles, evenly distributed resources and rewards, can do this.

As educators, we have known for centuries that knowledge is built and extended through the exchange of ideas and we should be pushing students to question each other’s understanding.  This has never been more important than now.  With technological advancements people separated by continents can learn and work collaboratively.

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