Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Danger of Groupwork without Feedback

I was reading John Hattie's Visible Learning for Teachers, which is a readable summary of a meta-analysis on thousands of studies investigating effective teaching practices. I was struck by on thing in particular:

“Most of the feedback that students receive about their classroom work is from other students – and much of that feedback is wrong.”

 One of the reasons I do groupwork in my classes is so that students will support eachother. Usually, students work in pairs or groups of four. In my teacher education classes, the class sizes range from 24 to 30 students. It is difficult to monitor 12 to 15 pairs or 6 to 8 groups but I always assumed that students would be able to support each other. After reading Hattie, though, I thought that I needed to do a better job of monitoring groups.

In my "English Teaching Methodology 3" (ETM 3) class, we were reading about "Practice Activities and Tasks" in the TKT Course Module 1,2,3. I gave three questions to the class about the main ideas of the chapter and had them answer these questions in pairs. This time, though, in our Wordpress class blog, using WPDiscuz, I posted each question as a comment on the lesson page for that day. The groups then had to post their answers as replies to the comments (See below).

To my surprise, most of the pairs answered the below question incorrectly.
2.What is the difference between skill-based and language based activities? Can you provide and example from the New Crown or Sunshine textbook?

I actually thought the concept of skill and language focused lessons would be easy for students to grasp. Because I could see students' comments, we could discuss the issue deeper: I could understand what many of the students were thinking and they could understand what I wanted the to learn. I saw one way that technology could be used as a means for the teacher to understand the extent to which students are grasping comments and make the appropriate intervention.


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