Preparing Peer Facilitators for Cooperative Learning Groups. Hal White Professor of Biochemistry University of Delaware. Case Studies in Science Teaching Buffalo, NY 7 October 2005. Common Group Situations. Consider each of the situations on the handout.
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Professor of Biochemistry
University of Delaware
Case Studies in Science Teaching
Buffalo, NY 7 October 2005
1. Student who confidently presents information that is incorrect yet goes unchallenged by other group members.
2. Student who misses class or regularly comes late to class and requires class time for the more conscientious members of the group to fill him or her in on what was missed.
3. Unprepared student who routinely comes to class but doesn’t contribute to group discussions or projects.
4. Likeable talkative student who is unaware that he (or she) frequently interrupts others and dominates discussion thereby preventing contributions by quieter members of the group.
5. Student who readily understands the material but is not particularly interested in sharing that knowledge with other group members.
6. Student who thinks problem-based learning is not a good way to learn and deliberately or unconsciously disrupts the process.
7. Quiet student who has good thoughts to contribute but never seems to get the attention of other members of the group.
8. Students whose friendship outside of class creates a subgroup that frequently breaks off from the main group in class discussion.
9. Student who, due to illness or some other legitimate reason, misses a week or more of class.
10. Group that gets along well and is satisfied with a superficial procedural understanding and doesn’t seem to be aware or interested in a deeper conceptual understanding.
11. Student who has difficulty focusing on course material and frequently ends up discussing sports, the campus social scene, or the previous night’s TV show.
12. Student who ignores or puts down group members that have a different cultural background, racial background, or physical appearance.
13. Student who doesn’t listen to or seem to understand the points made by other group members.
14. Group that can’t make progress without assistance, and show signs of frustration (and perhaps resentment) when the tutor doesn’t provide the information desired.
15. Group in which a disparity in the abilities of members makes communication of concepts difficult.
16. Student who directs all of her/his questions to the tutor (and instructor).
17. Students who do all of the necessary work but do not seem to enjoy discussing problems and related concepts with one another.
Common PBL Group Problems1
1 Based on responses from 126 peer-facilitators over 11 semesters
Ground Rules for Behavior in Groups
Tell me, I will forget
Show me, I may remember
Involve me, and I will understand
1. Teacher Selection
The “teacher” is the group member who has a birth date closest to today’s date
2. Lesson Plan
Teachers study a geometric figure they will describe orally to their “students”
3. The Lecture
Teachers describe to your students what you saw, as accurately as you can: 2-minute time limit.
NO GESTURES, NO QUESTIONS!
4. Teacher Conference
Teachers leave the room and discuss your lesson with one another.
5. Individual Work
Students, without talking, draw a “carbon copy” of what your teacher described: 2 min.
6. Group Work
Students within groups, compare drawings, discuss, and develop consensus drawing: 5 min.
Teachers return and see what your students have drawn. Students discuss exercise with your teacher.
Did everyone in your group draw the same picture?
Did subsequent discussion improve the representation?
Was the teacher happy with the result?
What were your frustrations, if any?
Can you make any conclusions?
from D. Hanson and T. Wolfskill, J. Chem Ed. 75(2): 143 - 147 (1998)
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