Thursday, September 12, 2013

Group work in unsuitable spaces

Quite often, I hear my academic colleagues say that it is too difficult to run learning activities in a tiered lecture theatre or some other horrible teaching space foisted upon them. This strategy requires only that each person is within earshot of three other people.

Try this one: Think, Pair, Square, Share.
  1. Pose a question.
  2. Give students 2-3 minutes to think about their answers (think).
  3. Get students to turn to the person next to them to talk about their conclusions (pair) for 5 minutes.
  4. Get each pair to join another pair to continue the discussion (square).
  5. Have each square report on their discussions (share).
 Don’t let each square report everything they said. Start with one group of four: “Report on one thing you discussed”. Ask each subsequent group to report on something from their conversation which has not already been mentioned. Once there are no groups with any new points to mention (or you have run out of interesting points to report), end the sharing part of the activity.

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