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Teaching Strategy #3: Small-group work
Killen (2009, pg. 187) refers to group work occurring, 'when you ask two or more students to work together'. Small-group work relies heavily on students input, needs to be carefully planned and closely supervised and can also be used for an entire lesson or part of one (Killen, 2009). It requires students to connect with other learners around them and work collaboratively together on a task in a comfortable learning environment. There are numerous advantages of using small-group work as stated in Killen (2009, pg. 188) and Wasik (2008, pg.5). These include assisting students to; be active learners, improve communication and teamwork skills and to learn in a fun and motivating way. As a teacher, one large advantage of using group work is the opportunity to devote more attention to individual students, therefore specifically catering for their needs and improving learning and development (Wasik, 2008). The group work task and group organisation is required to be carefully structured to help assist in the learning process (Killen, 2009). Some disadvantages from small group work (Killen, 2009) include; an opportunity for students to be off task, unequal contribution of work effort and the chance that the lesson may not achieve the learning outcome if the teacher is not well planned. Small group work also correlates with CAST’s UDL guidelines (2011) by providing options for; perception, comprehension, physical action, expression and communication, recruiting interest and sustaining effort and persistence. Overall, small-group work is a quality strategy if the teacher fosters the time in planning and structuring.