Teachers often group kids based on learning styles, ability, and skill sets. Such attributes are pretty easily identifiable, but teachers simply must take compatibility into account as well. I teach 9th graders. Freshmen are spastic and dramatic. If you place the wrong 15-year-olds together, the impact can be pandemic! Also, nothing frosts a motivated 15-years-old’s gourd faster than having to do all the group’s work to cover for slacker colleagues.
So…perhaps it’s time to listen to two brilliant young people riff about their experiences working in groups. Samantha Bickley and Grace Hofer were in my class last year. Now they’re sophomores and I miss them every day. You’re going to love their humor, their spirit, and their wisdom about group dynamics!
Many student groups are unproductive and snarky.
Create supportive groups where members hold themselves accountable.
Here’s a wonderful resource:
What You Can Do Tomorrow?
- Take compatibility into account when forming groups.
- Assign roles to group members.
- Require individual members to keep track of their contributions.
Collaborating in high functioning groups can be most engaging for students. Select group membership carefully and if needed, add structure and accountability.