Small Group Work

Solve your problems or get new ideas with basic brainstorming

Get Started. It's Free
or sign up with your email address
Rocket clouds
Small Group Work by Mind Map: Small Group Work

1. Passive learning becomes active learning Killen, (2013), Gersting & Kuczkowski (1977)

1.1. The greater the degree of involvement, the greater the extent of learning. (Gersting & Kuczkowski (1977)

2. 1. WHAT is small group work?

2.1. students work in groups of 2 or more in discussion or working together to achieve common goal Killen, 2013)

2.2. teachers role is facilitator rather than instructor Killen, (2013)

2.2.1. Direction of group discussion is controlled by student.s Gerstig& Kuczkowski (1977)

2.3. the outcome aims of group work can be academic or social Killen (2013)

2.4. students engage deeply through participation. Killen (2013)

3. 3. HOW to prepare for small group work

3.1. Plan well ahead. Use the most effective strategies in the lesson plan to accommodate students discussion (Killen, 2013).

3.1.1. Consider the many uses of small groups.

3.1.2. Determine the group size.

3.2. Prepare students for group work. This can be introduced gradually to students by having them working in pairs before move on into a larger group where student will then choose the group leader and group rules are established (Killen, 2013).

3.2.1. Assign roles to assure interdependence.

3.2.2. Assign students to group, preferably by heterogeneous grouping instead of student ability grouping.

3.3. Prepare guidelines and resources for materials that students will need (Killen, 2013).

3.3.1. Plan instructional materials to promote interdependence, e.g. give only one copy of material per group.

3.3.2. Set ground rules for group interaction.

3.4. In lesson prior to group work, introduce the issue/topic that students will be investigating (Killen, 2013).

3.4.1. Create a challenging task of problem solving for the group .

3.5. Prepare the physical layout of the classroom to make sure it will be effective for students to work in a group (Killen, 2013).

3.5.1. Arrange the room so that groups can work together without disturbing other groups

3.6. Facilitate some form of group cohesion (Killen, 2013).

3.6.1. Create a positive atmosphere for learning.

4. 4. HOW to implement the lesson

4.1. 1. Expectations are set and students get into pre-arranged groups and collect any materials or resources (Killen, 2013)

4.1.1. Homogenous- similar backgrounds can encourage stronger cohesion as a group and more cooperation

4.1.2. Heterogenous- mixed groups including ability which can result in more productive group work and differing ideas

4.2. 3. Students follow any guidelines for their task and commence their group discussions ((Killen, 2013)

4.2.1. Problems can include; being off task, one student dominates, compromises can't be made on opinions and ideas

4.3. 2, Students to elect group roles; leader to monitor that group stays on task, recorder of results. (Killen, 2013)

4.4. Ideal group size of four of five students

4.5. 4. Teacher to walk around observing, monitoring and making observations for assessment to gauge learning success (Killen,2013)

4.5.1. Allows teacher to get to know how each student learns through the contributions they make (Killen, 2013)

4.5.2. Observations can be used to modify the task for future lessons (Killen, 2013)

4.5.3. Moving around the room gives more flexibility to attend to individual students needs (Killen, 2013)

4.6. 5. Dynamic and engaging lesson conclusion

4.6.1. Each group presents findings and contributes to a whole class discussion allowing students to see different points of view (Killen, 2013)

4.6.2. Teacher summarises points from each group and shares these with requests from each group to add any extra points for discussion (Killen, 2013)

4.6.3. Task may not be discussed. Here, the teacher can make comment on what has been achieved, how the task relates to a wider unit of work and detail what is coming in the following lessons (Killen, 2013)

5. 6. WHEN is small group work effective/ not effective in the classroom

5.1. Effective

5.1.1. Lessons where the objective is for students to develop their social skills and knowledge of content (Killen, 2013)

5.1.2. For debate and discussion

5.1.3. Task is too big to complete individually

5.1.4. Opportunities to share multiple perspectives

5.1.5. Teacher wants more one-on-one time with smaller groups while other students are also occupied

5.1.6. Discuss different point of views about the issue and its relevance.

5.1.7. Teacher can actively engage and monitor the groups

5.1.8. The groups are formed in appropriate size (Killen, 2013)

5.2. Not Effective

5.2.1. The concept needs whole class instruction

5.2.2. Timing constraints (discussion, investigation and justification of ideas takes time).

5.2.3. Students do not have the adequate background knowledge to be able to work through the task

5.2.4. Lack of communication and contribution

5.2.5. Teacher is implementing a hands on approach to get the righ answer, thus eliminated the opportunities for problem solving

6. 2. WHY small group work is effective in facilitaing learning?

6.1. encourages question asking and help is immediate (from peers) Gersting & Kuczkowski (1977)

6.1.1. Anwers given by peers is expressed in ways fellow students can undertand Killen, (2013)

6.1.2. Prior knowledge can be built upon. Killen (2013)

6.2. Teacher can circulate around the groups, concentrating on one group wihile others are engaged in learning. Killen, (2013)

6.2.1. Teacher can prompt learning in particular directions depending on the undertandings of the group to achieve outcomes Killen (2013)

6.2.2. Is avilable to moderate group dynamics Killen, (2013)

6.2.3. Qualitative assessment can be made eg initiative, creativity, flexibility (killen, (2013)

6.3. roles within the group can be allocated eg group leader, group recorder Killen (1977)

6.3.1. High achieving students can also naturally take on tutoring role. Gersting & Kuczkowski (1977)

6.3.2. Develops skills in co-operation. Killen (2013)

6.4. vocalising ideas within the group and in reporting to the whole class helps consolidate learning Killen (2013)

6.4.1. Whole group benefits from the conclusions drawn from one group. Killen (2013)

6.4.2. Develops oral communication skills Killen (2013) and "build language repertoire". Connor (2013) pg 1

6.5. participation

6.5.1. Small goups offers a change of pace in classroom gersting & Kuczkowski (1977)

6.5.2. Small groups are a less formal atmosphere, non-threatening Gersting& Kucztowski, 1977)

6.5.3. Students achieve greater independence in seeking out information. Killen (2013), rahter than relying on teacher

6.5.4. Participation can be related to the task or to the atmosphere. Kiillen (2013)

6.5.5. Participation is required to make small group work successful Killen (1977)

7. 7. HOW to reflect whether small group work was effective

7.1. Important aspect of teaching and learning is to reflect and be able to make adjustments for future lessons

7.2. High level evaluation is 'Did students achieve the lessons learning objectives? (Killen, 2013)

7.3. Were all students actively participating in the lesson? (killen, 2013)

7.4. Was there sufficient time to complete the activities?

7.5. Were the group members cooperating and each involved in discussions and decisions? (Killen, 2013)

7.6. Was each student assigned a role and did they fulfil their responsibilities?

7.7. Was the activity fun? Did the learners enjoy it?

7.8. Did the group activity challenge all learners and effectively engage them in thinking critically? (Killen, 2013)

7.9. Within the groups, were all team members cooperating?

7.10. Critical reflection: How could this activity be improved next time?

7.11. Request student feedback on the small group activity.


8.1. Positives

8.1.1. Provides students with a mixture of backgrounds and abilities to share their thoughts, knowledge, ideas and skill set (Harvard University, 2008).

8.1.2. Pools together both knowledge and skills.

8.1.3. Provides students with the ability to take on roles and build on a sense of responsibility

8.1.4. Enables the development of a personal voice and to develop perspectives in relation to peers

8.1.5. PRO: Effective student-centred learning strategy when used with appropriate topics

8.1.6. Provides opportunities for social development entwined with curriculum based lessons

8.1.7. Refines student comprehension through discussions and explanation. (Caruso & Wolley, 2008)

8.1.8. Enables teachers to assign more large and complex tasks than they could give to individuals alone.

8.1.9. Needs to be carefully planned for and closely supervised in order to be successful (Killen, 2013)

8.2. Negatives

8.2.1. May be challenging for different personality types to work together.

8.2.2. Conflict between group members

8.2.3. Students may have a misunderstanding about individual responsibility.

9. 5. Using ICT with small group work

9.1. Appropriate where students have computer availability

9.1.1. Ensure that the ICT platform is safe and appropriate for use by the students

9.2. Appropriate for topics where the a wiki or blog is a suitable outcome

9.3. Provides students with time to reflect on ideas presented and discussion points outside of a real-time environment

9.4. Increases students technological capability