group work

Should we seek to balance teacher-led and student-led lesson activities?

2023-11-25T11:17:48+00:00October 29th, 2022|Featured|

For as long as I've been writing about education, many commentators have argued that teaching should seek to balance teacher-led and student-led activities. Although this is often presented as self-evidently obvious, it rather begs the question. What's so great about balance? Should we seek balance for its own sake, because it's intrinsically valuable, or should we consider what we want to balance? Despite balance sounding - well - balanced, no one would argue that we should seek to achieve a balance between effective and ineffective activities so to argue that teaching should include both teacher-led and student-led activities we really [...]

What’s the best (and easiest) way to teach?

2020-08-14T15:09:24+01:00September 25th, 2018|Featured|

I thought I'd said all I ever wanted to say about group work until, responding to a tweet from an education professor exhorting all teachers to add group work to their teaching repertoires, I unwisely suggested that maybe that wasn't such great advice. Unless you teach PE, drama, or some other subject where outcomes require cooperation this may not be good advice. Instead think very carefully about what the purpose of asking children to work in groups might be. All too often it adds little and costs much. — David Didau (@DavidDidau) September 23, 2018 In all honesty, I really [...]

Should group work be imposed?

2015-02-16T20:35:22+00:00February 15th, 2015|Featured|

I recently posted some thoughts on what group work is and isn't good for. At no point did I say it was good for nothing (although predictably my opinion was caricatured as 'hating' group work) and I have never claimed that it cannot work. Some of the criticisms I received were as follows: - Group work is better than lecturing. I'm not sure I can even be bothered responding to this except to say that group work is also better than being punched in the face, but that's not saying much! As soon as decide lecturing is a preferable alternative I'll let [...]

The ultimate teaching technique

2020-10-03T16:19:30+01:00February 14th, 2012|learning|

UPDATE: I no longer agree with any of the following. It remains on my blog as a warning against hubris. June, 2016 Maybe it's just me, but I seem to be encountering an awful lot of people railing against 'progressive' teaching methods of late (see this for an example.) There seems to some sort of consensus that all schools are bastions of constructivist theory in action and that seldom, if ever, are teachers allowed to waffle from the front. Sadly, my experience is that many teachers still spend far too much time standing at the front of their classes talking at [...]

Is it better to be told, or to discover a fact?

2012-01-22T15:39:39+00:00January 22nd, 2012|learning|

I've read a lot of blogosphere twaddle about why students don't learn effectively in groups and the only effective method for teaching is direct instruction. My view is there needs to balance in all things and using one teaching strategy to the exclusions of all others is a bad mistake. I think it's worth reproducing this fairly lengthy quote from, John Hattie in full: Various successful methods of teaching were identified in Visible Learning, but the book also identified the importance of not rushing to implement only the top strategies; rather it is important to understand the underlying reasons for the [...]

Does group work work?

2011-07-18T22:17:05+01:00July 18th, 2011|learning|

Have just been reading 59 Seconds by Professor Richard Wiseman (@RichardWiseman) and am rather dismayed to note that contrary to popular belief, but according to scientific research, groups are less creative than individuals! Does this mean that by getting students to work in groups I have been stifling their creativity? Apparently this is down to what Wiseman calls 'diffusion of responsibility'. Because there are other people to take the blame, we make less effort when we are part of a team. The consensus view in education now seems to be all about groups. Is this just a vogue? Does it need [...]

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