1 Review of follow-up activities from last session
If you are running a professional learning programme which follows these sessions in sequence, then you should do the review of follow-up activities relating to the previous session (Supporting reasoning and managing group work). The 'review of follow-up activities' for that session is available here, and also shown below in the session text. However, if you are following selected sessions in a different order, then you should use the reflection appropriate to the previous session you did.
The review of the follow-up activities for this session (to be done at the start of the next session) is available here.
- Magic microphone. Did you try this activity? What was the open question that you used?
- Share your list of examples of objectives that can be achieved through different types of groups
- Do you have any questions that arose from reading the documents?
- Did you try the new organisational strategy put forward? Share your experiences with the group!
2 Pace grouping
Individual activity (10 min): Listen to a podcast on pace grouping. Listen to the podcast and discuss the ideas that arise. A transcript is provide to aid discussion and guiding questions are included below. Make sure you read the guiding questions before reading the transcript, as this will help you in analysing the transcript.
- Is your experience of grouping in the classroom similar or different to Agness’s experience (before she tried the new way of grouping)? Give specific examples.
- Some people worry that in mixed groups those who work at a slower pace, or are less motivated, or less proficient in the language of instruction, or less skilled at the task (including slower at typing in ICT-supported lessons), might “coast” and allow others to do the work because they cannot keep up with their peers, or they might copy. What do you think about that?
- What do you think about Agness’s idea that pupils should be asked to hide their work and then show it to the teacher by using the mini-blackboards as “showboards”, to discourage copying during group work?
- What do you think about Brian’s idea of singling out pupils who copy, for example asking them a question or asking them to “show the class”?
- What could be other ways to prevent copying, “coasting” or “free-riding” during mixed group work?
During discussion of the last question, probe the participants to think of:
- ideas during group work that focus on learning of new concepts. This is because the issue of copying generally arises when group work focuses on ‘drill and practice’ of what has already been learnt. There could be other ‘free-rider’ issues that participants have experienced and may have ideas for discouraging them
- the usefulness of ‘ground rules’ (introduced in session 3.2) in this context.
- Slavin’s criterion that groups must take responsibility for ALL members’ learning and they must make sure everyone understands, if participants do not mention this themselves; ask them if that overcomes some of the problems with slower learners not keeping up or contributing enough?
- assigning different roles within a group (likewise, participants might mention this, if not you can raise it).
3 Discussion of pace groups: Judith’s division lesson
Participants watch video, and then discuss.
Video 1: Judith's division lesson Judith carried out a lesson that consisted of group work on solving four questions to practice division, besides other activities. The children worked in “pace” or “ability” groups. She encouraged group responsibility of solving the problems as well as reporting of answers by group secretaries. She also invited pupils to explain how they arrived at the answers. In the end, Judith made the outcome of the group task transparent by listing the answers of all groups on the blackboard. She also involved pupils in assessing their own answers and pupils’ involvement in it. In the following clip, she is checking the groups’ answers on the board and finds that a group of “slow learners” has scored 0 correct.
Video 2: Workshop. Judith and others discussing mixed pace grouping and change in practice: In the this extract from a teacher workshop 2 days after this lesson, Judith discusses this episode and the notion of pace grouping with her colleagues. They agreed that the teacher’s role was to indicate that laughing at peers was unacceptable[Z].
4 Further reading
Participants read this section.
Whole class dialogue (10 min): Discussion on differentiation.. There is research evidence to show that teachers' expectations of students can influence how students perform. Consider this in the context of pace groups and differentiation:
- Can differentiation be used successfully by teachers to set high expectations of all students?
- Will this be easier or more difficult to achieve by using pace groups?
5 Judith's workshop reflections on pace groups
Continue with reading, and listening to the clips.
Observing, thinking, reflecting (10 min): We hear more about Judith's reflections on pacegroups. We now listen to two clips that follow on from the experiences in Judith's lesson. Later in the OER4Schools workshop Judith indicated how her thinking had changed through discussion with her peers, illustrating her open mind and flexibility as a reflective teacher:
In a subsequent interview Judith was probed to elaborate and reflect further on the incident when pupils laughed at the group of learners working at a slower pace. She concluded that mixed pace grouping would be better than same pace grouping. Listen to these 2 very short excerpts from that interview.
Judith's Interview - Clip 1:
Judith's Interview - Clip 2:
Whole class dialogue (10 min): Discussion of the audio clips. What do you think about this? Do you think that students working at a slower pace could benefit from working in mixed pace groups? Discuss.
6 Planning a mixed pace group work with ICT task
- Devise an open activity where groups have a shared goal and where outcomes may differ between groups, for a lesson you are teaching next week.
- Decide group size and how you will formulate groups so that they are made up of students working at different paces (look back at documents from Session 3.2 if you need to).
- How will you ensure everyone participates and everyone learns? How will you stretch all learners?
- Explicitly ask groups to make sure everyone understands the new concept or process; make it their responsibility to support each other and check this is happening.
- Assign different roles within the group.
Explicitly ask groups to make sure everyone understands the new concept or process; make it their responsibility to support each other and check this is happening.
On the above point, make sure to point out to participants that students are quite happy to help each other in this way and that sometimes they will even go above and beyond just helping each other in the classroom. The following quote from a teacher on the programme illustrates the point quite well:
When I was doing the leadership for learning, so I say if you find that your friend hasn't done well, create a situation whereby that person will have work to do at home, then you check the following morning. So it has continued just like that in class, yes, so they are used to doing it.
7 ICT practice: Different-tasks group work with ICT and activity planning
Different-tasks group work (20 min) with ICT on spreadsheets. As usual, you now have an opportunity to work on your own ICT skills. In this session, we continue with spreadsheets in OpenOffice Calc or GeoGebra. We have done some of the earlier spreadsheet exercises from the list below already. See which ones you have mastered and which ones require further work. Also try out some new ones. As before, work in pairs, help each other and help other groups.
You can print this content on a separate sheet here: OER4Schools/Spreadsheet exercises.
As you work on your ICT skills, you should think about planning another lesson with ICT (involving spreadsheets, GeoGebra, slideshows, concept mapping). Remember to keep up the typing tutor practise too!
8 Connecting with overarching goals of the programme
Open space (10 min). It's now time for the "open space", that gives you an opportunity to discuss issues that have arisen, and to relate those to the broader context of the programme. Do not just gloss over this section, but make time to raise issues, and probe the progress that you are making. You could use this space to:
- Remind yourselves of the of the Most Significant Change Technique, and e.g. collect more of your stories.
- Discuss your assessment portfolios: Is there anything that you are unsure about? Is it going well? What could be done better?
- Check on the work with the classroom assistants: Is this going well? Are there any tensions? Any observations or tips you can share?
- Reviewing individual ICT practise (such as typing practise).
- If you are preparing a presentation for other teachers, you could work on the presentation (about what you have been learning, stories emerging from MSC).
- Remind those who are doing audio diaries, to upload them.
- You could discuss any other issues that have arisen.
You will find notes and summaries of various techniques and concepts on our reference page, and you might want to refer to those for clarification during this activity if needed.
9 Follow-up activities
Part A: Try out your group work with ICT. Video some of the group work if you can (ideally a colleague can do this for you so they can capture you as well as the pupils) and upload it to the server.
Part B: Remember to think about your own role in the classroom; it is not just to monitor progress but also to interact with pupils, assess their understanding, offer support and help move their thinking forward. Sometimes a group will even need you to sit with them and offer intensive support to progress. Think about how you can identify this need?
In the next session, these follow-up activities will be reviewed. If you are using this session on its own, you can have a look at the review of follow-up activities here.
At the end of each session, we provide an overview of the activities in this session, together with their suggested timings. Although this appears at the end of the session (for technical reasons), you should keep an eye on this throughout the session, to make sure that you are pacing the workshop session appropriately!
Total time: 145 (min)
Activities in this session:
- Whole class dialogue (10 min): Review of follow-up activities
- Individual activity (10 min): Listen to a podcast on pace grouping.
- Whole class dialogue (10 min): Discussion of transcript.
- Observing, thinking, reflecting (10 min): We now watch two videos, to do with the pace grouping.
- Whole class dialogue (10 min): On pace groups.
- Observing, thinking, reflecting (10 min): We now read a short text about the issue of pace grouping and differentiation by task.
- Whole class dialogue (10 min): Discussion on differentiation.
- Observing, thinking, reflecting (10 min): We hear more about Judith's reflections on pacegroups.
- Whole class dialogue (10 min): Discussion of the audio clips.
- Same-task group work (20 min): Planning a mixed pace group work with ICT task.
- Different-tasks group work (20 min) with ICT on spreadsheets.
- Open space(10 min).
- Agreeing follow-up activities(5 min).
If you have printed this session for offline use, you may also need to download the following assets:
- Video/Judith division scoring short.m4v (local play / download options / download from dropbox)
- Video/Workshop 21-3 pace groups.m4v (local play / download options / download from dropbox)