Group Work - Maintaining Momentum/Document
Maintaining momentum It is vital to maintain the momentum of group work. Effective intervention should support pupils through the task without interrupting or interfering. For instance, it is all too easy for a teacher to join a discussion and unintentionally take it over.
Strategies for effective intervention Look at the grid below, which sets out the main reasons for intervention.
Add any other strategies, prompts and questions that you have found useful when intervening during group work.
Choose an activity that you are planning for one of your classes. For each of the reasons for intervention, write a suitable prompt or question that you might be able to use during this particular activity
|Reason for intervention||Strategies, prompts and questions|
|To focus pupils on the learning|| Ask these three questions to focus pupils’ attention on the task. (You may have to modify the first two slightly, according to the nature of the task.)
|To ensure that pupils are working within the time frame available||
|To support pupils who are stuck on the task||
|To support groups who are having problems cooperating with each other||
|To press pupils to take their thinking one step further by asking questions or supplying additional information|| Use a hierarchy of questions moving from recall through comprehension, application, analysis and synthesis to evaluation (Bloom’s taxonomy).
Use question stems that start with
|To correct misunderstandings||Make a judgement about the nature of the misunderstanding. If it is straightforward, then correct it. If it has arisen from a misconception, then use questioning to probe pupils’ thinking.|
|To give pupils feedback on their performance||Pupils respond well to praise, so link the learning to behaviours and force pupils to consider what to do next, e.g. ‘As a group you have collected the data and completed the table well; that means you concentrated. Do you think the graph you have drawn matches the data?’|
Classroom assignment: intervention using questions 1 hour First watch video sequence 10f, which shows a teacher intervening during group work in an English lesson.
Note how the teacher uses questioning to focus pupils’ thinking. She uses many Why? and What does this mean? questions to promote and stimulate thinking.
Focusing pupils on the learning is important. Arrange a group-work exercise for the pupils in one of your classes. Allow them to get started, and after 3 or 4 minutes approach each group and try out the three focusing questions in the task. Later intervene by asking questions to promote thinking further. Evaluate how effective such approaches are.