Basically, from a personal stance, intrinsic to group work is the process of students working together to do a task whereby shared goals are realised through the sharing of knowledge. As stressed by both Ted Panitz (n.d) in his article ‘Collaborative versus Cooperative Learning- A Comparison of the two Concepts which will help us understand the underlying nature of interactive learning’ and Olga Kozar (2010) in her article ‘Towards Better Group Work: Seeing the Difference between Cooperation and Collaboration’, group work comprise two major aspects and there is a marked difference between cooperation and collaboration. For the teaching of English Language, it most commonly the latter which is resorted to by teachers as a strategy to promote learning because of its several benefits. Nonetheless collaborative learning is not devoid of drawbacks.
For the teaching of English Language/General Paper, group activities entailing group presentations on an essay topic, error analysis of peers’ written work, observations of sampled written works, are largely feasible when working towards essay writing. But, when applied for the teaching of comprehensions and grammar, classes often do not require much collaborative work.
Fundamentally, collaboration amongst peers in the classroom constitute an asset to boot learning especially in mixed-ability classes and it becomes a platform to cater for different intelligence types concurrently. Students who find it difficult to go beyond lower order thinking get the opportunity to draw ideas from their peers and to use other skills they might have. A paradigm of this can be an English literature class. For example, Form IV and Form V students are timetabled for literature only 4 periods a weeks for the study of three texts in the course of roughly one and a half year. In one chapter of a novel or a scene of a play, there is a lot to analyse in terms of characters, themes, style, etc. As such, one specific
References: BLATCHFORD, P., KUTNICK P., BAINES E. and GALTON M., n.d. Toward a Social Pedagogy of Classroom Group Work. International Journal of Educational Research. Special Ed. BLATCHFORD, P., GALTON M., KUTNICK P. and BAINES E., 2005. Improving Effectiveness of Pupil Groups in Classrooms. ESRC Project Ref: L139 25 1046. End of Award report. Pp. 22-34. BLATCHFORD P., KUTNICK P., and BAINES E., 2007. Pupil Grouping for Learning in Classrooms. In International Perspectives on Effective Group work: Theory, Evidence and Implications. Chicago: American Educational Research Annual Meeting. DUPRIEZ, V., 2010. Methods of Grouping Learners at School. Paris: UNESCO. JOYCE, B., WEIL, M., and CALHOUN E., 2008. Models of Teaching: Learning Styles and Models of Teaching. 8th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc. Ch.19. KOZAR, O., 2010. Towards Better Group Work: Seeing the Difference between Cooperation and Collaboration. In English Teaching Forum. No.2. PANITZ, P., n.d. Collaborative versus cooperative learning-a comparison of the two concepts which will help us understand the underlying nature of interactive learning. Available at: http://home.capecod.net/~tpanitz/tedsarticles/coopdefinition.htm 25/5/2548 9:58:24.Pp 1-15. RANDALL, V., 1999 Cooperative and Collaborative learning: some critical perspectives. Available at: http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/coopcollab/index_sub4.html RUEGG, R., 2009. Group Size in the reading classroom. In The Language Teacher. 33.5. Pp.3-7.