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Collaborative Learning in the Japanese Classroom:

Group work as a teaching strategy in the team-teaching classroom

 

WRITTEN BY: Natasha Anders     ADDED: Mar 20, 2009

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“Students working in small groups tend to learn more of what is taught and retain it longer than when the same content is presented in other instructional formats. Students who work in collaborative groups also appear more satisfied with their classes.”  Barbara Gross Davis – Tools for Teaching (1993)

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INFORMAL / FORMAL GROUPS:

  • INFORMAL:
    • Normal TT classe
    • These groups work best for one-off activitie
    • Can be formed quickly with little thought
    • Can have students/groups competing against one another.
    • Members can be switched around if the groups aren’t performing as well as expected.
  • FORMAL:
    • OC Elective classes
    • The groups work best for long-term projects
    • A lot more thought needs to go into forming a formal work group
    • Students within the group work together towards a common goal.
    • Members have to know that they are in the same group for the duration of the project and have to make a concerted effort to overcome their differences.
 

FORMING GROUPS: There are a number of factors to take into consideration when forming a group inside a Japanese classroom.

  • Gender segregation
  • Bullying
  • Cliques
  • Loners

It isn’t always easy to consider the above when making an informal group, however these factors definitely need to be taken into consideration when making a formal group.

 

HOW NOT TO FORM A GROUP:

  • Having students do it themselves
  • Randomly placing name cards around the classroom
  • Having them draw numbers
  • Only quiet students or genki students in a group

 

BETTER WAYS TO FORM A GROUP

  • Have a meeting with your JTE and his enlist his/her help
  • Even amount of girls and boys
  • Half-genki and half-serious students
  • Break up the cliques (having even half a clique in one group can be very disruptive and can alienate the other students in the group)

 

WORK DISTRIBUTION: In an informal group the aim of the group is to have students do an activity or apply what they have learnt in a more practical setting.

In a formal group, where students are working on a long-term project that may take them a few weeks to complete, you run the risk of having one or two students do all the work, while the rest spend their time not doing much of anything. Ways to avoid this include:

  • Making teamwork one of the evaluation points
  • Having the students elect a leader who will delegate tasks to all members of the group.
  • Thinking up projects that require work and research from all team members.

 

MAKE A FORMAL GROUP THINK/ACT LIKE A TEAM:

  • Have them choose a group name and slogan (also make a banner if you have the time or inclination)
  • Reinforce the idea of team unity by referring to them (collectively) by their group name.
  • Do warm up activities at the beginning of each lesson before they start work on their projects – encourage group competition during these warm up activities (something like a shiritori race or a telephone game is very competitive and students will help and encourage slower members of their group because they are all working towards a common goal – stamps or candy – whatever reward you have for the winning group).

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This page was last modified on Thursday, December 17, 2015 03:35:11 PM