Saturday, October 9, 2010

Group Work: It's Just How Things Go!

    I am no expert on tutoring and/or the theory behind it, but I will try my best to explain my understanding of it. I ,also, aim to propose some tips to help tutors and tutees. A tutor reading this can gain an understanding of this abstract concept and a student reading can understand the concept of group work from a tutor's perspective.
    The purpose of group work  is to develop discussion amongst students between one another and the tutor, regarding developing/writing their work. However, group work does not have to always be about developing or revising the students' works. Instead, group work can be a mere brainstorming session where students come in with nothing and leave with an idea of how to approach the assignment at hand.
      I offer two very different types of group work activities a tutor can employ,"Getting Started," and "Developmental Writing."
      Typically, in the "Getting Started" activities the instructor prompts the tutors on what the class has been working on and what the assignment is. The tutor joins the group to discuss the assignment with the students and what their ideas already are for executing it. An introduction is always needed where a tutor should say their name and go around to each student and let them do the same. Tutors remember to take notes of the students name because it is helpful to address students by their name and not just pronouns. This group work activity revolves around asking open- ended questions about the prompted assignment.
      Tutors should keep in mind that the students participating  in group work may need to warmed up to the idea of open-ended discussion. To get rid of silence within group work a tutor can ask questions that require a show of hands instead of a verbal response.
     Finally, the activity I call, "Developing Writing's" goal of the session is to discuss the work that has already been done. In the case of this activity, you will not get to go over the whole paper.  There is not enough time and energy. A remedy to the limited time is a tutor going over the key points: thesis, support, and intentions behind writing.

-Kara Taylor-

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