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Small Group Teaching Dr Mani Das Gupta,. To introduce you to different ways of approaching small group teaching To reflect on your small group teaching.

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Presentation on theme: "Small Group Teaching Dr Mani Das Gupta,. To introduce you to different ways of approaching small group teaching To reflect on your small group teaching."— Presentation transcript:

1 Small Group Teaching Dr Mani Das Gupta,

2 To introduce you to different ways of approaching small group teaching To reflect on your small group teaching and ways in which you might enhance small group teaching To share good practice. 2 Aims of the session

3 Getting to Know You! Speed Dating – Choose a person and talk to them for 2-3 minutes; when I say CHANGE - please choose another person and do the same.

4 Definition ‘Small Groups teaching’ refers to any – method of student–tutor interaction that involves a group of 3–25 students, which may meet only once or several times throughout a term, and which tends to be focused upon the discussion of pre- defined subject specific material. Approaches to Small Group teaching and Learning

5 How do YOU do it? In pairs – discuss what has been your personal experience with small group teaching? Methods YOU currently use Difficulties experienced Share your ideas with another pair – discuss common issues Elect a recorder/presenter Recorder/presenter – share common issues re i) Methods & ii) Difficulties with whole group

6 ONE COMMON MISTAKE DO NOT let friends work together in a sub-group if at all possible – helps tackle distraction, social chat, & freeloading Friends More likely to go off task Distract each other easily Turn into enemies over group projects Self-selected groups are more likely to stray from lesson objective and form cliques Cooper, J. (n.d.). Sabotaging Cooperative Learning: Or, Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory. Retrieved from:

7 New Groups Beginnings – use an icebreaker task (5 minutes) Allow physical re-arrangement of room (if possible) – to suit whole group. Make sure they restore initial settings before leaving! Establish Group Contracts – to establish ground rules (brainstorm – useful for first years) – e.g. ensuring everyone contributes – REVIEW contracts regularly – to inhibit freeloading

8 Orientation Important to make PURPOSE of group clear to students Create an effective working atmosphere Welcome students Set a very quick initial task for students to work on in twos or threes so they can talk to other people in the group whom they may not know Use ICEBREAKERS/Games

9 Common Problems Lack of clarity – What is the task? – How should small group go about it Freeloading Distraction from task Vocal dominance by minority or just one person Lecturer insecurity

10 Avoiding Free-Loading Small sub-groups in which everyone is asked to contribute Especially helpful for those not confident to speak in public Use of discussion boards or blogs Giving each person in a group a specific task to do – which the group then puts together Especially effective with Group Projects Can be done using wiki’s for group work Lack of contribution easy to spot

11 TASK Think of as many different ways as you can to quickly set up small sub-groups (no more than 4) in a seminar Effective Grouping Minimise distraction & freeloading CROSS-OVERS

12 Discussion Groups DECIDE ON FOCUS – Knowing something/ knowing how to work it out? – Depend on students doing some preparatory work on questions or problems – Set questions the previous week, and set some time (e.g. 15 minutes) at the beginning of the session for students to prepare for the session WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? Cognitively,the act of putting material into one’s own words is very important for: – developing understanding, – beginning using the language of the discipline

13 Facilitating Group Discussion Emphasise importance of preparation from the first session – Make sure you use the material they have prepared! Frame the discussion around student questions – Split students into groups of 3-5 & ask them to identify the most important question that needs to be addressed about the topic area OR give this task as homework. – Questions can be put on board and the most common/interesting ones chosen for discussion. Start with a sentence completion exercise – What most struck me about the reading (or lecture / case / data /Other stimulus material) was……. – The point I found most confusing was……. Generate truth statements – or try a panel game like “The Unbelievable Truth” – Students generate statements they believe are true about topic – Each group of students has to smuggle in as many “true statements as possible” in a paragraph which they read to the group. Groups score points if they can spot the truth amongst the lies. Start with a personal experience – eg after watching a video

14 Facilitating Group Discussion Listen to both what students say and how they say it Don’t be afraid of silence Leaderless Groups – divide class into 2 groups and alternate between them Discussion moves from being tutor-led to student-led Encourage students to prepare questions before the seminar SET problem /Reading to do BEFORE the seminar


16 GAME BASED Learning “WHERE DO YOU GO?” GAME to develop Information Literacy in First Year (10 minutes) 2 sets of cards to be matched Resources Queries When you want to search for different kinds of research in an area e.g. reviews, abstracts, articles YOU GO TO When you want to revise the basics of a topic you go to a TEXTBOOKS PRINT / ELECTRONIC JOURNAL DATABASES

17 Enabling Learning It is important to be well prepared, but it is also useful to show the students that you do not know everything! Good ROLE Modelling – You can offer to find the information for them later – OR – You can teach them HOW to answer their own questions

18 Enabling: Use those pesky mobiles Get sub-groups to look up the information on their phones (5 mins) There can be a good discussion around different information/answers found This is also a good way to teach them about reliability of websites e.g.! (5-10 minutes max)

19 Sharing Good Practice BE CREATIVE If you enjoy it they will too! In groups discuss some ideas for teaching specific topics in Psychology differently Try to get into SUBJECT Groups – e.g. Research Methods; Developmental; Cognitive; Biological etc. Each group should come up with at least one idea on how to teach a topic from their subject area that will encourage student participation in small groups.

20 What are two of the most important ideas that have emerged from this discussion? What do you understand better as a result of this discussion? What remains unresolved or contentious? Summary and synthesis 20

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