Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Teaching Tip #23

What is collaborative learning? It is not putting students into groups to ding some ideas around, a la buzz groups. Not that that's a bad idea. Some students are just so plain shy, they can't speak out in a group of 25 or 35 or 55 peers. They just can't do it. I teach public speaking, a class in which the most introverted of students must get up and talk. It has taken me years to be willing to give the introverts a break. So small groups can help these people (so can online, but that's too easy.)

But that's not collaborative learning. For collaborative learning to take place, I believe there has to be a true outcome that is assessable. There has to be a common responsibility; however, there also has to be a clear way for those who perform well to be rewarded accordingly and for those who are dead weight to be punished accordingly. I use a rubric that the students must use to grade each other's performance as a group member (but not on the outcome of the project).

I have used this assignment for over twenty years and the students learn more about just plain working together than giving a speech. More on this later.

No comments:

Post a Comment