How effective is group work in schools

work in groups

1. The division of the groups

a) The principle of chance

You can have tickets drawn with the group number or you can work with a card game, where each student draws a card, same motif - same group. All students with common characteristics (e.g. birthday season, favorite color, ...) could work in a group. There are no limits to your or your students' imagination. It is only important that everyone knows the regulations and can identify with them.

b) Classification according to criteria

Various schools, which have been teaching the majority of their lessons in small groups for a number of years, recommend a group composition that takes into account.
The consideration of student wishes usually guarantees successful work, but the class will not be able to work in a team with one another.

2. The period of the group composition

Depending on what is to be worked on in groups, a group structure can be defined for a project day or for a period of one or several weeks. If, however, the entire learning culture of a school is geared towards working in small groups, once formed groups exist for one or more years.

Here there is the greatest potential for students, parents and teachers to work in a long-term, socially stable, manageable constellation for the learning success of the students.

3. The perspective on teaching

  • the learning process is at least as important as the learning outcome; learning around and wrong ways must be allowed
  • Teacher advises instead of teaching
  • the lessons must be prepared didactically to a high degree in such a way that the student groups work independently and can check the results themselves

4. The interior design

The ideal case is a room in which each group has its clearly defined work area, in the best case each student has his or her workplace for the entire school period. In the room, all materials that are necessary to complete the tasks should be freely accessible to each group.

5. Rules of the game

The high degree of autonomy, which is inherent in group work, requires clear regulations, on the one hand to guarantee that the lessons run as smoothly as possible, but on the other hand to use all the potential of the form of work effectively. Ultimately, it is not just about increasing knowledge, but about strengthening personal and social skills. Derived from source 1, you will find a suggestion for such "rules of the game" here.

6. The timing

Group work takes time.

The realization of a teaching unit in its phases

  1. Started in the new topic
  2. first Elaboration (possibly under guidance)
  3. division of labor Group activity
  4. Presentation of results through the groups

can hardly be realized in a 45-minute rhythm.The blocking of lessons to double lessons makes sense, this becomes all the more practical if one teaches in a combination of subjects.

Examples and further materials:

SOL - self-organized learning

Ernst Meyer "Group Lessons" Schneider Verlag GmbH, 1996 ISBN 3-87-116-853-X