Making Discussion and Group Work More Effective
Maximising the learning benefits group work and discussion offer
Discussion, group working and interactive teaching are all highly effective ways to develop deep learning and understanding. When managed correctly, students are encouraged and enabled to talk and interact with the each other and/or the teacher/trainer on the subject topic at a high cognitive and effective level.
By discussing issues and working in groups, students experience and can understand better, how tasks are often undertaken in higher education or the workplace. Moreover, it gives students the opportunity to learn from each other, teaches them communication skills and helps them develop interpersonal relationship skills.
Discussion, group working and interactive teaching also offer significant secondary benefits in terms of developing student; confidence, listening, speech, cognitive, and analytical skills. Discussion and group working also support the concept of the differentiated classroom and can be highly effective in meeting the needs, and wants, of different learners. In addition, they also provide students with valuable feedback on how well they understand what they are learning and make the learning process more enjoyable for all.
No wonder a key issue during Ofsted Inspection is the extent to which “teachers use questioning and discussion to assess the effectiveness of their teaching and promote learning”
However, without sufficient thought, planning and organisation, learning outcomes are often unclear and tasks can remain incomplete. This leads to students disengaging from activities and chatting amongst themselves or worse starting to argue or fight. For the teacher or trainer this can be an exhausting and frustrating experience, especially when most of the learning benefits are then lost. With the right approach these problems can be avoided.
This highly practical hands on session explores the characteristics of what makes an effective group work activity and how, when used well, promotes discussion within learning groups. It also explores the value of group and discussion and its contribution to learners understanding and learning.
The workshop explores the often-quoted barriers and obstacles to effective group working and discussion and how they can be overcome. It explores and demonstrates simple but highly effective approaches to group working that encourages the workshop participants to review their own use of group work and considers how they might effectively develop new ideas to make their own teaching more effective.
This fast-paced, highly practical workshop is designed for all those who have to work with groups of children and adults. This workshop is designed for Teachers and Trainers from Academies, Secondary Schools, FE Colleges, Local Authorities and Independent Learning Providers. The workshop will also be of interest to those working in HE and or commercial training departments or even operational managers who need to stimulate more effective discussion within their teams.
The workshop will also be of interest to managers and lesson observers who are responsible for and/or involved in developing the quality of teaching and learning within their organisational environment.
Workshop Aims and Objectives
- Understand better the benefits of effective group work and discussion
- Explore the advantages and disadvantages of group work and discussion
- Review a variety of different approaches and techniques for group work and discussion
- To consider the obstacles and barriers to implementation and how these can be overcome
- To demonstrate ways to plan, include and facilitate effective group working & discussion
1. Current Practice and Understanding
Session one explores participants understanding of why group work and discussion are fundamental in supporting effective learning, the approaches currently used, how where and when they have proved effective.
- Why Group Work & Discussion?
- Reviewing current approaches to inform development opportunities
- How effective is my use of group work and discussion?
- Development Opportunities
2. Approaches to Group Work and Discussion, reviewing activities
This session focuses on reviewing a range of approaches to group work & discussion; including how good are they in engaging students, and when they will “work best for me”?
- Evaluation of a range group work activities
- Which activity for which group of students
- Reflecting on strengths and weaknesses of different group work and discussion approaches
3. Developing group work and discussion activities that REALLY work
Session three focuses on the development of group work activities that will support the need to differentiate and enable better working with and between students.
- What will work for me?
- Building approaches and techniques to use with students
- Planning for success – using the group work planning template
- The key steps in effective planning and delivery of a group work activity
- Developing and designing activities that differentiate
- Planning and developing a group work discussion activity
- sharing ideas on difficult to teach topics
- the development of an inspirational group work and/or discussion activity
- incorporating a variety of pedagogical and differentiated approaches
- Developing the session – through guided support
4. Developing a personalised group work and/or discussion activity
This session provides the opportunity for participants to put the days learning into practice by encouraging them to reflect on all the day’s learning activities and then develop a new group or discussion activity that they can take back to their students. The goal is to develop an approach that delivers a group work or discussion activity that is engaging, differentiated and meets the needs of the individual participants’ students. It is expected that participants will be focusing on developing and devising a group work activity that:
- Has differentiated aims and objectives
- Uses a range of questioning and assessment activities
- Develops skills, knowledge, understanding
- Assesses and promotes learning
- Meets all students needs
- Supports student reflection
- Creates stretch, has pace and is challenging for students
5. Plenary, questions and answers
This final session provides for a final review of the key learning points and provides an additional opportunity for participants to ask about any issues that are still outstanding.
Learning will be facilitated through:
- Presentation and Observation
- Interactive discussions
- Peer work and review
- Practical group activities
- Analysis and review of current practices
- Individual learning activities
- Tutor feedback to individuals
Internal Staff Training and Development
This training workshop, along with most of our other best practice training workshops, can be delivered as an internal training course at your premises. Even with groups as small as 6-8 delegates, the course fees per person for internal training workshops can be lower than for open events. The potential savings are even greater, if the travel time and the travel costs of the delegates are included.
Running training workshops internally is very convenient and it allows the participants to explore how key issues will impact on them and their organization. Then as a team they can begin to agree upon a development action plan, with priorities. This approach is favoured by many of our clients as it combines a high quality service with excellent value for money and is a highly effective route for staff development.
Related Teaching Techniques Workshops
- Differentiation - Developing Activities that Work
- Feedback for Learning
- Making Discussion and Group Work More Effective
- Making Learner Induction Fun and Effective (FE & Skills)
Certificates of Professional Development.
This course is recognised for CPD purposes by most professional institutes and associations including the Law Society, the CIM, the CMI, the ICAEW, the Institute of Learning and the CIPD. Formal Certificates of Professional Development will be issued by email to participants who successfully complete this course. These certificates will enable participants to evidence the update of their CPD records. The workshop will consider how to best apply the knowledge gained by the delegates upon their return to the workplace. This element of the programme is designed to maximise the benefits of attending and enable participants to make valued judgments when recording CPD activities