Saturday, 4 August 2012

Reading #8: Collaborative Projects by Peter Skillen

I agree with Skillen's comments that "teams do not always function well." I have certainly been a part of groups before where I felt like I was doing more work than others, and I have also been a part of groups where 1 or 2 people take charge and do not accept input from the other members of the group. As Skillen points out, the teacher has to carefully plan out the lessons and group activities to try to make the groups work.

I also completely agree with his thought that students need to have conversations about their projects to determine their roles and to share knowledge. Groups can develop new insights through discussion that they may not otherwise have found. Other group members can also have a different perspective on an issue which can bring insight to all of its members.

I am also intrigued by his suggestion to encourage students to blog about their learning, their frustrations, and their questions. They can also interact with their group members through the blog.

Lastly, many of my students prefer to work independently because they sat in rows and didn't work in groups when they went to school in their home countries, so that's always a challenge when doing group work. Last year, we did some literature circles and role-plays, and the students seemed to enjoy that for the most part, so I am interested in exploring more about collaborative projects.

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