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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Group settings in the classroom . Is it beneficial?

Group settings in the classroom . Is it beneficial?

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22 Replies 6726 Views
In the classroom it sometimes is hard to keep focus. Having group settings within the classroom can be beneficial in somecases. With a group setting not only do the student have the oppurtunity to help and discuss with each other, the group inspire each other and their grades will show proof of their work as a group and and a whole . Any comments regarding group settings in the classroom?

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April Panas's picture
April Panas
3rd grade teacher from St. Clairsville, Ohio

Mary H. you hit the nail on the head! I too love using group seating for my students and find it to be very beneficial for the students socially and academically. I do know teachers that refuse to put their students in group seating because of the "noise level". At the beginning of the year just for about the first 4 weeks I do seat them in rows until I get to personally know each of my students and their abilities/behavior. Once I get to know them, the room is transformed into a cooperative classroom setting. You were right on target when you said it is important to explain and model to the students your expectations with the group seating. I let my students know the high expectations that I have from the get-go with their seating and learning center groups and just like everything else, it is a process and takes time to fully develop. It is "chaotic" in the beginning but over time it transitions and gets easier. My third graders by October are on top of it without much redirection. Love the idea of letting them name their tables monthly to go along with the holiday theme. I will be borrowing that idea!

April Panas's picture
April Panas
3rd grade teacher from St. Clairsville, Ohio

BKeller,
I teach in a low-poverty school and many of the students that I serve are of lower academic status and on IEPS. When I first started teaching I thought the answer was to place them in group settings by mixing them up with higher-low students in each group. After much reflection, I did change it up the last few years and grouped them according to their ability levels. Yes, it does make it nicer to have the lower students with high, but what are the lower students really getting out of the lesson when it is the higher student carrying them and doing the work for them pretty much. It is more difficult having them placed upon ability levels because I now have in group learning center time usually two-three groups that are extremely low-low. I try to do my center time when I have my Spec. Ed. teacher or Title I staff in the room with me to co-teach, which helps tremendously. Also, another important concept to keep in mind is modifying the lesson dependent opon the group. I know it is time-consuming to modify one center 2-3 ways, but the end result is well worth it.

April Panas's picture
April Panas
3rd grade teacher from St. Clairsville, Ohio

Ashleigh,
I love giving my students time to socially interact with one another on academic projects as well. I model and explain to my students my high-expectations from the beginning of school of partner/group work time. I will admit that when I first began giving them more collaboration time, the noise level at times was difficult for me to overcome. As time went on though, I realized that the "noise" was the students expressing, sharing, and collaborating ideas of the assignment and that they were on-task. Now I am excited to hear the communication between my students as they are coming up with brilliant ideas together. I do feel though it is pertinent to give equal amounts of time throughout each day for students to have individual, partner, and group work time. Some of my students struggle socially interacting, and they do their best work when working individually. As in life, you are going to be expected to think and act on your own, but it is essential to be able to communicate as well and understand that others have various opinions and how to respect their views.

Jessica's picture
Jessica
Building Confidence in Students, One Child at a Time

Hi,
Thanks for your question.
I believe group setting arrangement in classroom is a good method which all schools must follow. Group setting allows students to interact with each other. A sense of cooperation and unity comes amongst each other. However, you should change group members in every week, so that all students get a chance to interact with each other.

Ellen Z.'s picture
Ellen Z.
Reading Specialist from Hellertown, PA

[quote]In the classroom it sometimes is hard to keep focus. Having group settings within the classroom can be beneficial in somecases. With a group setting not only do the student have the oppurtunity to help and discuss with each other, the group inspire each other and their grades will show proof of their work as a group and and a whole . Any comments regarding group settings in the classroom?[/quote]

As a Reading teacher, I can verify that group instruction works well for Language Arts. Students can really gain ideas and strategies by sharing with one another. Group writing can be a lot of fun in the elementary classroom. There is a website called Cubert's Cube which I personally like. Cubert's Cube is a wonderfully fun site for creative writing. It includes game-like story starters and a gallery where the students can create or upload illustrations for their stories. Since it is Wiki-based, several students can collaborate on a story at the same time. It is a super motivator to get students to write. The teacher is in full control of the security settings and can keep the work as private as need be or publish it on the site.

Jessica's picture
Jessica
Building Confidence in Students, One Child at a Time

As per my suggestion, Group setting among the students is really very helpful sometimes..Students forming a group can build up an interactive sessions among themselves, This will enhance their communication skill ultimately resulting the enhancement of their confidence level as well.

Joy's picture

I respect all the ways that each teacher decides to teach in their class room.
What I would like to know is how do I deal with my daughter's complaints who really hates when they are grouped like this. She is really bothered by one or another kid that doesnt keep to his own personal space or is not prepared and staying on task. She is third grade now and this year they have own desk, but still pushed together touching. I tried to teach her how to work with all kinds of kids, but lets be honest here folks some of these kids are really a pain and normal adults have trouble dealing with them. They snot on you and have no maners and thats only the beginning. As a side note I teach Girl Scouting with 15 girls. Have some problems of this type there as well, not just complaints from my kid, but from others. Any Advise?

BuffyMcBuffy's picture
BuffyMcBuffy
Parent of 3 elementary aged children.

As a parent to 2 advanced readers, I have a problem with groups. I find, that it in no way benefits my children except to hold them back from advancing further. Besides it is NOT my childs job to teach anyone how to read. My children do not get a salary with benefits nor a pension. I want my kids to be grouped with other advanced readers to increase their critical thinking. It's a schools job and the parents job to help the students who are having difficulty reading. This is just another reason I get so angry about paying such HIGH taxes in NJ. 40% of our schools students are below grade level reading. WHY?

Ms. Michelle's picture
Ms. Michelle
Why do you need a summary

Group settings are beneficial to students because they can learn to cooperate, compromise, and socialize. They can be prepared to working well with other people of their own age and, as they grow older, their co workers in a job setting. I think more group work should be enforced in all grades k-12, as well. The group settings benefit the teacher because teachers can stop doing lecturing and let students try to work things out while they walk around the classroom and watch his/her students and provide assistance if necessary.

Victor Villegas's picture
Victor Villegas
5th Grade Dual Language Teacher in Irving, Texas

I have my students grouped in their seating arrangements, and I also group them for collaborative work. I have found that my students are more engaged and are able to help one another when they work in a group environment.

Yes, the classroom can get noisy from time to time, but, if I walk around the room and listen to what is being discussed, I can hear the academic conversations going on and can tell that real learning is taking place.

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