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Group work in its very simple meaning means cooperation also the purpose of the education process is to engage the pupils into the community to create a generation able to have the responsibility. This will be easily achieved if the educational system could plant the spirit of cooperation or group work .Group work should include various fields in the educational system as well from the very beginning to the end of the whole system . Working in a team work is a must to perform the superior target of the education process . Although the term "group "will be used here to mean a number of educators who work together so that each of them can interact with all the others, it can also be used to define a number of skills joining together to be developed then to create an individual show as a final product . In this essay I will try to cover and illustrate some of the common issues about the "group work "in the educational process trying to provide some evidences from those who are interesting in the group work and show their views and also indicate the role of teachers in establishing clear rules and procedures to maintain focusing on the pupils skills, and techniques used in the group work as possible.
What is group work?
It is a good communication and the ability to work as part of a team .The group work has all to do with "cooperative learning "where pupils are able to work with others. Group work is not a single approach but, it is a variety of teaching methods and strategies and it has features that should be applied to reach its goal and to bridge the gap between the level of intelligence and creativity of the group of students working around the same table
Murdoch and Wilson (2008) have stated that
Groups are working on a shared task where everyone in the group is aware of his role; we must make sure that tasks are worthwhile and engaged to the learning programme and also take into account the pupils experiences while setting the groups ,so groups are formed in arrange of ways for different purposes in this case teachers who are working with multi-international schools should know that Face-to-face interaction: direct, close contact with the members of groups differing in their ethnic should be established in a well-understood protocol. Organizing the room for group work the way pupils are seated have a real impact on how well the group works, so it is a good idea to have the tables and chairs well organized.
We should here make sure that floor space should be available as much as possible between the groups that will not only allow teacher to move comfortably among the groups while guiding them ,but also will help the students to spread between tables when sharing ideas as well. Murdoch and Wilson (2008) have said that "A circle shape is ideal as it is direct everyone to the shared place and allow eye contact across the group."
On talking about organizing the classroom we should consider the types of group work and we have many types of group work "Long-term groups" the pupils that work with each other regularly and
"short -term group" just selected for specific task .So each type of group should have its own shape . In short -term group the teacher may leave a space for the pupils to talk and get in touch with each other that will facilitate the interaction between them while he is preparing the room or the materials that will be used. (Abercrombie &Terry 1978)
In my classroom in Egypt I used to work in a classroom contains about thirty pupils I used to divide them into five groups each contains six pupils to carry out the normal activities yet, while dividing them into sub-groups to work in specific tasks like reading a passage or writing answers to specific questions I faced two troubles, the first was the lake of the time needed to organise the groups, the second was the impact between groups and subgroups in the same period, I solved that by delivering the task to the individual of the sub-group while they were sitting in the main groups.
How a teacher can manage a group work
We should differentiate between the roles of the teacher in general which can be summarized in (explaining, guiding, demonstrating and leading) to reach his goal which is transferring the knowledge to the pupils using his own style and his own approach which should be unique. Of course more reading and more experience will enrich his way of acting.
Murdoch and Wilson (2008) have stated that after organizing the group the teacher should be" a problem solver" and here we should emphasise that the teacher should not introduce the solution once asked yet, he only makes a suggestions and lets the student decide and seek to the right answer that will create the sprite of independence and that what the group work is a bout then," a recorder" to record the group ideas that will be the indicator which show the real level of progress and will also reveal whether his approach is worthwhile or not. Then, "an observer" to watch and listen to the group, identifying how they are working together then makes notes about their strengths and their weaknesses
Kydd. &Anderson. &Newton.(2003) have stated that "In talking a bout management of educational process, teachers gave much greater emphasis to and detailed comments on the management of pupils than on the management of physical resources .this reflect, perhaps, the recognition in education service industries of the centrality of the pupils.
In my view this is absolutely right but not only because teacher gives much attention for management pupils and forget about the resources but also because teachers always have nothing to do with the resources which entirely left for the school management yet, in group work teachers are the only to manage the resources.
A teacher should put into his confederation when establishing and organizing the group a major aspect which is gender that each group should contain both male and female if possible, that will have a great influence on how the pupils respect and cope with each other. They should listen to each others respectfully and this should be applied when the lower- attainers gave their ideas or voting on the group ideas. All should participate in the task, all must help each other.
Kydd. &Anderson. &Newton. (2003) have said that ultimately, the teacher has to establish an effective networking between all the groups to ensure the idea that we all as groups are as branches come out from the same stem of the tree of supporting.
How a teacher can improve a student's skill
Murdoch and Wilson (2008) have stated that the classroom may be one of the few places where pupils are regularly required to share, wait, take turns, and accept criticism. I believe that by developing student's skills in the group work there will be a positive outcome so, the students should be "Active listeners" to listen to the whole group ideas because the more you listen the more you get knowledge "Ideas linker" after listening you should gather and record the information and the ideas that will enhance the skills of research in the future. "Negotiators" although that will develop their way a bout how they can represent their views, the teacher should show them the difference between showing and representing views and the criticism "Clarification seekers" they will not just pass a piece of information without a clarification they will have the skill to ask" when, where, why, how and who"."Risk takers" this sometimes is useful when they have to make a decision at the appropriate time.
What if a pupil does not want to work in the group or to share his idea with them?
In my opinion the lacks of the skills does so. I think that mini lessons with small groups can provide an eye contact and an active listening this will help the pupil to work more successfully with others and the teacher should be a good role model for example he can use names to encourage the pupil to represent his ideas or he can vary the group membership so the pupil can work in many different teams then, the teacher may make a habit of reflecting regularly I think this is useful for all the pupils
Techniques for group work
There are a lot of techniques can be used in group work but I 'm going to mention only two kinds of these techniques, Abercrombie (1979)and Murdoch and Wilson (2008) have stated that they are ( group discussion and placement ).
First: group discussion.
The teacher should be clear a bout the role he intends to adopt the discussion; it may take quite a long time for students to understand their role and their commitments so, the teacher has to be patient
the teacher should prevent discussion from becoming dominated by one or two pupils or by himself and there are two sorts of discussion can be held (direct discussion) this kind of discussion can take place daily during explaining the lessons and it is used to encourage thinking and inquiring
(Indirect discussion) this one is used by the teacher once a week or monthly and it aims to evaluate the group progress or to evaluate a member participation in the group.
It is an excellent way to urge equal involvement and sharing of materials
Divide a piece of paper into segments: one for each member of the group, with a central square in the middle .The task will be in the middle so each pupil writes and reads his ideas then the group devises a summary statement .
Evaluating the group work
The purpose for evaluating pupils in group work is to help teachers and pupils make decisions a bout their future learning experiences and to monitor progress. And this evaluation can be orally, visually and written task it can be also estimated by the performance against time . Lawton (1981)has said that one group engages in the given task while the other groups assess it according to the time then change turns
Eventually, the "group work" is not a single educational approach but it is a collection of techniques and it has uncountable benefits for the education process if it is taken seriously.
In "group work" I can go further to one of my most important dreams which is to build a new generation able to have the responsibility hoping that one day my dream will come true. I suggest another type of group work we may call it "group of excellence" in this group we will collect the excellent pupils in all classes to have a special tasks in different fields these tasks will be sponsored by some scientific organization and supervised by a group of good teachers or the university itself. These groups of pupils will continue till they reach the university and with these kinds of groups we may build our future.