I completed two inquiry cycles related to group work. The first focused heavily on how to form and structure groups, whilst the second focused more on creating conditions needed for cooperative learning, specifically looking at positive interdependence and face to face learning.
Inquiry cycles for Group Work
First inquiry cycle
In my first inquiry, I was concerned with the amount of off-task behaviour and disengagement I was seeing whilst observing group work enacted by my mentor. I saw this largely as a by-product of letting students group themselves with friends, many of them talking about subjects other than the task they had to complete.
I looked at the research into how to form groups and decided to trial two different methods, mixed-ability grouping and randomisation. Both were relatively successful, although mixed-ability grouping was more precise. The result of grouping in this way meant several students disengaged from their groups. This formed the basis for my next inquiry cycle.
Second inquiry cycle
My second inquiry cycle into group work focused on how to create the conditions for effective cooperative learning and how to engage all students in group work.
I specifically look at creating positive interdependence through the assignment of group roles, division of labour and creating mutual goals.
Most students were highly engaged by the work, however I found that the structure of room and use of technology hindered 'face to face' learning.
Despite overall engagement, there were still a couple of outliers who refused to participate. I wasn't sure how to deal with this in the classroom. My next inquiry into group work will be around how I, as the teacher, interact with students during group work.