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[personal profile] starmadeshadow
I hoped that having the students working in groups with a range of proficiencies present would help support the weaker students, while offering the stronger students the opportunity to practice their teaching skills. While there may have been a bit of this, and the students claim to enjoy the group work, I'm noticing an increased tendency for the weaker students to refer to themselves as stupid, and to defer to the stronger students, or even just to throw up their hands and say 'I don't know, ask Peter, he's smart'. This is depressing, and I don't know how to make it better.

Link hopping from this article posted by [livejournal.com profile] schedule5, I've started reading about 'complex instruction', which is structured around  the notion that "there are two essential ideas to effective group work: 1) having a group-worthy task, and 2) recognizing and taking conscious steps to alleviate status issues that arise in any group activity, no matter how well-designed." I'm waiting for the main reference book on the subject, "Designing groupwork: strategies for heterogeneous classrooms" by E. Cohen, to be delivered to the maths library. So far, I'm taking comfort from the fact that it's a well known problem that status issues arise, so it's not just my classroom skills that suck.

I don't think that it helps that I'm dog tired at the moment; teaching 4 days a week, and studying flat out for my algebra qual, which is in THREE WEEKS, all in this crazy summer heat that just doesn't let up, has frankly just been exhausting. I'm finding it very difficult not to just give a straight lecture on each day's topic and answer all questions with the right answer, rather planning exciting hands-on activities and getting the class to develop a consensus answer to each question. Bah.



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starmadeshadow

May 2013

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