Topic (follow-up to Thursday, DATE 2010):
Is groupwork or collaborative learning always possible in mathematics?
As it happened on Monday, 6th December 2010, 19:30 - 21:00 GMT
7:33 pm
ColinTGraham:
Hello everyone and welcome to Monday's #mathchat
7:34 pm
ColinTGraham:
If it's your first time, just try to interact with one or two people and don't forget to use the hashtag ---> #mathchat
7:34 pm
ColinTGraham:
Today's topic is: "Is groupwork or collaborative learning always possible in mathematics?" #mathchat
7:35 pm
cpoole27:
Hello I am an English Teacher just stopping into #mathchat today :)
7:36 pm
ColinTGraham:
@cpoole27 Hi Chuck, welcome. No bias against subject here! #mathchat
7:37 pm
cpoole27:
@ColinTGraham ok great! #mathchat
7:38 pm
maxmathforum:
hi mathchatters #mathchat
7:39 pm
ColinTGraham:
One thing that we never fully pinned down on Thursday was areas of maths which cannot be done in groups... if there are any! #mathchat
7:39 pm
cpoole27:
I find that when students work collaboratively they learn together and in turn what they learn becomes relevant to them #mathchat
7:39 pm
ColinTGraham:
@maxmathforum Hi Max! #mathchat
7:40 pm
maxmathforum:
I can't think of any math that's not group-y. There are moments I like to work alone, but not whole topics #mathchat
7:41 pm
ColinTGraham:
@cpoole27 I don't think anyone would dispute the value of collaboration... the question for maths teachers is how much it is used #mathchat
7:41 pm
maxmathforum:
Like I prefer to do calculations and organize my thinking in peace and quiet. #mathchat
7:42 pm
suburbanlion:
Based on Thursday's discussion, I'd say group work is alway *possible* but might vary in effectiveness for different situations. #mathchat
7:42 pm
ColinTGraham:
@maxmathforum Calculation can be done by machines though... #mathchat
7:42 pm
cpoole27:
I think in math there could be a balance of both in order to be effective #mathchat
7:42 pm
maxmathforum:
To me, it's more to do with the classroom and students than the topic I'm teaching. For example, some classes work better in pairs #mathchat
7:43 pm
cpoole27:
@maxmathforum I agree with you! #mathchat
7:43 pm
ColinTGraham:
Methodology maybe? RT @cpoole27: oh ok, in my school I have noticed that some math teachers use it often while others never at all #Mathchat
7:43 pm
suburbanlion:
@ColinTGraham @maxmathforum yes, calculations can & should be done by machines, but is still prevalent on standardized tests #mathchat
7:43 pm
maxmathforum:
@suburbanlion #mathchat I missed thurs. quick recap? 140 characters or less :)
7:43 pm
ColinTGraham:
@suburbanlion Prevalence in testing is probably because machines do the marking too! #mathchat
7:44 pm
maxmathforum:
@ColinTGraham @suburbanlion some calculation must be done by hand tho to help understand a problem situation and generalize #mathchat
7:44 pm
ColinTGraham:
@maxmathforum Do you always adjust whether or not you use groups/individual work or do some things always get done the same way? #mathchat
7:46 pm
ColinTGraham:
@maxmathforum Quick summary: Group work good, not done enough, should be possible in all areas, except calculation... #mathchat
7:46 pm
maxmathforum:
@ColinTGraham gd pt some things require groups eg we divide into groups to try different strategies or we need 4 ppl for 4 roles #mathchat
7:47 pm
ColinTGraham:
RT @cpoole27: @ColinTGraham I think there must be constant adjusting throughout the lesson #Mathchat
7:47 pm
suburbanlion:
@maxmathforum I suggested "arithmetic" & was quickly rebutted, but "calculation" seemed to emerge as s non-group topic. #mathchat
7:48 pm
ColinTGraham:
@maxmathforum I think all subjects are capable of being learnt individually, even tennis!, but the question is maybe effectiveness #mathchat
7:49 pm
ColinTGraham:
@suburbanlion Yes, it's easy to forget that exploring the associative, distributive, commutative laws etc. can be discussed! #mathchat
7:49 pm
maxmathforum:
When I say I calculate alone, I'm imagining v. flexible grouping eg calculate, quick chat to compare results, back to own work etc #mathchat
7:50 pm
ColinTGraham:
@maxmathforum Is comparing/checking answers really groupwork, though? Some would dispute that... #mathchat
7:50 pm
suburbanlion:
@ColinTGraham at least it stimulated some discussion! #mathchat
7:50 pm
maxmathforum:
@ColinTGraham maybe could explore what topics or moments require group work. Like I could learn to serve alone, but not volley #mathchat
7:51 pm
maxmathforum:
@ColinTGraham why wouldn't it be group work? #mathchat
7:51 pm
ColinTGraham:
What makes you uncomfortable about it? RT @mathrabbit1 My students doing algebra in groups. Using CPM program. Not sure I like it. #mathchat
7:52 pm
maxmathforum:
@ColinTGraham (I don't actually know anything about tennis) #mathchat
7:52 pm
ColinTGraham:
@maxmathforum I wonder about the relative quantity of time spent on each activity. #mathchat
7:54 pm
ColinTGraham:
@maxmathforum There are activities which benefit from or demand individual practice... I think maybe number bonds only, in maths. #mathchat
7:54 pm
maxmathforum:
@colintgraham number bonds? #mathchat
7:55 pm
ColinTGraham:
@maxmathforum Basic arithmetic facts is another name for number bonds #mathchat
7:56 pm
suburbanlion:
I have a related #mathchat question: is the collaboration in the important part? or is it difference in language between groups & lecture?
7:56 pm
ColinTGraham:
Concern about 1 or 2 in the group? RT @mathrabbit1: Also worry about them getting it, many times they don't with traditional math. #mathchat
7:56 pm
maxmathforum:
@ColinTGraham cool name for it. i realize i almost always have students in groups, and they sometimes choose to calculate alone #mathchat
7:57 pm
maxmathforum:
#mathchat which is different from having them be required to calculate alone
7:57 pm
ColinTGraham:
@suburbanlion Mathematicians need to be able to explain themselves, particularly if there isn't something empirical they can do #mathchat
7:57 pm
maxmathforum:
@suburbanlionI maybe it's the difference in who's talking? #mathchat
7:58 pm
ColinTGraham:
RT @mathrabbit1: CPM is more guided learning. very different from "traditional" math. I am learning a new way to teach. #mathchat
7:59 pm
mathrabbit1:
@ColinTGraham I completely agree with good explaining skills. #mathchat
8:00 pm
maxmathforum:
@suburbanlion Often students struggle to understand and explain and so the teacher talks more. They should talk less at that pt. #mathchat
8:00 pm
ColinTGraham:
@suburbanlion Communication of reasoning and understanding is an explicit part of many curricula. #mathchat
8:01 pm
ColinTGraham:
@maxmathforum Requirement to work alone is different from allowing discussion, which is different again from explicit groupwork #mathchat
8:01 pm
maxmathforum:
@mathrabbit1 In classes with lots of students who aren't good at gp wk yetIi start in pairs. They hold each other more accountable #mathchat
8:02 pm
ColinTGraham:
When someone mentions groupwork, what do you see as being the size of the group? Do you see it as different from pairwork? #mathchat
8:04 pm
maxmathforum:
@ColinTGraham more good points! Is groupwork when explicit part of task is to improve collaborative math skills? #mathchat
8:05 pm
ColinTGraham:
@maxmathforum I'm not sure, do roles get assigned to people in the groups or does each group get the same or different tasks...? #mathchat
8:06 pm
ColinTGraham:
RT @sdisbury: @ColinTGraham 2's, 3's or 4's normally unless task requires different? #mathchat
8:09 pm
ColinTGraham:
You would assign roles then? RT @cpoole27 I think roles for individuals or different tasks will depend on the overall task at hand #mathchat
8:09 pm
cybraryman1:
My Cooperative Ed page: http://bit.ly/dhggEr & Building a PLN page: http://bit.ly/fBSuSV #mathchat
8:11 pm
ColinTGraham:
@cybraryman1 Would you advocate the building of subject-based PLNs during school lessons, Jerry? #mathchat
8:12 pm
dendari:
RT @maxmathforum: @suburbanlion Often students struggle to understand and explain and so the teacher talks more. They should talk less at that pt. #mathchat
8:13 pm
cybraryman1:
@ColinTGraham You are talking about Cooperative Learning! (gave you that page!) Lurking to see if I left out anyone on #mathchat
8:14 pm
cpoole27:
@ColinTGraham I have found that students, when given leadership ops, tend to take on the roles themselves and are successful! #mathchat
8:14 pm
ColinTGraham:
What topic areas in mathematics would benefit from increased groupwork, where the grouping is an integral part of the work? #mathchat
8:15 pm
ColinTGraham:
@cpoole27 So you provide opportunities and allow the groups to organize themselves? #mathchat
8:16 pm
maxmathforum:
When students are working across representations or across topics, eg linear functions in graphs, equations, tables. #mathchat
8:17 pm
ColinTGraham:
@maxmathforum So increase the connections between topics, eg algebra and geometry, by using group discussion? #mathchat
8:18 pm
ColinTGraham:
Do you mix up the groups? RT @cpoole27 yes, I then facilitate, trouble shoot, & assist in their "struggle" from time to time :) #mathchat
8:19 pm
maxmathforum:
@ColinTGraham yeah coz students have different strengths and need to see multiple strategies and ways of understanding, to connect #mathchat
8:20 pm
maxmathforum:
@cpoole27 how do you process the gp wrk and help students learn what works and what seems to be effective in groups in general #mathchat
8:21 pm
ColinTGraham:
Sugata Mitra suggested 4 children round 1 computer was critical in his 'Hole in the Wall' experiment. Anyone use groups round PCs? #mathchat
8:22 pm
cpoole27:
@maxmathforum I film group work, once comp. we debrief using a google doc together, then I edit and we view the next day b4 cont #mathchat
8:23 pm
cpoole27:
@ColinTGraham yes the groups are mixed often and I will often use simple strategies to mix them so they do not get stagnant #mathchat
8:25 pm
maxmathforum:
@cpoole27 cool use of video! could you share the google doc categories you've used? #mathchat
8:26 pm
ColinTGraham:
@cpoole27 With English teaching, the students probably see more relevance in writing than students in maths would! #mathchat
8:26 pm
cpoole27:
@maxmathforum i actually just created a blank chart to use for tomorrow's group debrief session if you would like it #mathchat
8:27 pm
cpoole27:
@ColinTGraham yes that may be true, I am coming from a different realm :) #mathchat
8:28 pm
ColinTGraham:
Does anyone make a difference between formal and informal group responsibilities? eg requiring reporting/answering as a group #mathchat
8:29 pm
maxmathforum:
@cpoole27 yes please! #mathchat
8:29 pm
cpoole27:
@ColinTGraham one math teacher in my building uses group responses and then uses "poll Everywhere" for individual response #mathchat
8:31 pm
cybraryman1:
@cpoole27 Do they use "Clickers?" #mathchat
8:31 pm
ColinTGraham:
@cpoole27 I was thinking more along the lines of presenting findings versus just working/collaborating with others #mathchat
8:34 pm
ColinTGraham:
Does anyone see working in groups as different from working in teams (competitive aspect)? If so, which works better? #mathchat
8:36 pm
cpoole27:
@cybraryman1 Actually we use cell phones (on occasion) and netbooks when we use poll everywhere #mathchat
8:37 pm
cpoole27:
@maxmathforum this is a simple form we will use tomorrow after group work is completehttp://bit.ly/fa5lAK #mathchat
8:38 pm
ColinTGraham:
RT @BeckyFisher73 Formal cooperative learning (ala Johnson & Johnson) is different from "group work" - both have place, but differ #mathchat
8:39 pm
ColinTGraham:
@BeckyFisher73 Cooperative learning is part of what we're discussing. Main point is individual vs pair vs group work, perhaps #mathchat
8:42 pm
ColinTGraham:
& not maths! :-) RT @BeckyFisher73 It goes back to purpose - I "taught" cooperative learning to build social skills - that's huge #mathchat
8:43 pm
ColinTGraham:
The use of groupwork seems more common now than when I did my teacher training about 15 years ago. Is there enough, though? #mathchat
8:44 pm
maxmathforum:
have to leave early to go to Philly Math/Sci coalition mtg to problem-solve with them. Fun! #mathchat
8:44 pm
ColinTGraham:
@maxmathforum OK, Max thanks for 'popping in' ! #mathchat
8:47 pm
ColinTGraham:
Is age a factor in groupwork? How about students of mixed ability? #mathchat
8:48 pm
padgets:
#mathchat hey everybody! My name is Sharon and I am a hs sciecne teacher from Ottumwa Iowa USA
8:48 pm
cpoole27:
Thank you #mathchat for allowing an English teacher to drop by! I have to run for now
8:49 pm
ColinTGraham:
@cpoole27 OK Chuck, everyone's welcome to #mathchat whatever they teach (or not as the case may be!)
8:50 pm
ColinTGraham:
@padgets Hi Sharon, just in time for the last 10 minutes! #mathchat
8:51 pm
ColinTGraham:
Summarizing: improving communication skills, discussing connections between topic areas, allowing Ss to take leadership #mathchat
8:52 pm
ColinTGraham:
Checking answers... Are there any other areas where mathematics teaching would benefit from increased group work? #mathchat
8:53 pm
reasoningmind:
@JumoConnect Reasoning Mind is now on #Jumo! Follow us at http://ow.ly/3kPT6 #nonprofit #mathchat
8:54 pm
reasoningmind:
@colintgraham retention may be increased by group work in addition to checking answers. #mathchat
8:54 pm
padgets:
#mathchat sorry this going back to CST is messing me up!! I am using many more PBL than I use to 17 yrs ago it was all individual
8:56 pm
padgets:
#mathchat I know many of my fellow teachers here are doing more group work, co-op skills important to them, cheating a major concern
8:57 pm
ColinTGraham:
@reasoningmind Retention was also something that Mitra mentioned in his experiments. Understanding is also deeper, I think #mathchat
8:57 pm
ColinTGraham:
@padgets So science teaching has also changed towards group work as a methodology, or is it a personal choice? #mathchat
8:58 pm
padgets:
@ColinTGraham #mathchat no we have changed as a method I think some more than others
8:59 pm
ColinTGraham:
@padgets Cheating whom, or is it more about whether everyone in the group is 'pulling their weight'? #mathchat
9:00 pm
padgets:
@ColinTGraham #mathchat I think it is more the pulling weight
9:01 pm
ColinTGraham:
@padgets That may be a topic for another time... how to use groupwork effectively! #mathchat
9:02 pm
padgets:
@ColinTGraham #mathchat :-)
9:03 pm
ColinTGraham:
OK, that's it for another #mathchat! Thanks for your contributions everyone. Don't forget to vote for the next one: http://bit.ly/c9KL7w
9:08 pm
padgets:
#mathchat thanks for letting me lurk today, much appreciated :-)