Individual, individualized, collective, group tutoring, team, cooperative or Montessori learning. In the last article, we compared individual with individualized learning. In a previous article, you could learn about organizational forms of teaching. That is, about how pupils can be taught or, conversely, how teachers can teach them. In the following lines, you will find the differences between collective and group learning, which we will discuss in detail in this very article. What are organizational forms of teaching? We have already explained the concept of organizational forms of teaching in previous articles, yet we will gladly repeat its meaning for those who have not read them. Although the term may seem unimaginable or, in a way, exotic, there is a very simple reality beneath it. It is a particular set of methods in which teaching can be organized. Therefore, the organization of teaching is who and how the teacher works with and where the teaching takes place. If we were to look at the organization of teaching in most primary schools, we would probably come across frontal teaching, which we will explain in more detail in a moment. Group tutoring techniques As we wrote above, in this article, we will explain group tutoring and frontal teaching, their positives and negatives. “When I first heard the term frontal form of teaching, I imagined a queue in a shop at the checkout. Do students line up in frontal learning? Or what is it then?” If you are not familiar with the term, you are probably picturing something similar. However, we have to laugh at this question and explain in more detail what frontal, or collective teaching, actually is. Frontal teaching Jan Amos Komenský, who created the system of collective teaching, had already worked with the frontal or collective method of teaching. In this type of teaching, the teacher works with all students at once. Thus, everyone learns the same topic in the same way. It is assumed that the students will be of the same or similar age (the difference arises, for example, in the case of delayed entry into the first grade of primary school). Frontal teaching can take the form of, for example, whole-class explanation, teaching, one topic by the teacher, independent work set by the teacher the whole class, correcting homework together, or summarizing the topic together. Lessons are 45 minutes long and are separated by a break. Seating arrangements determine the layout of the classroom, and pupils are seated in the same place throughout the school year. There is a blackboard at the front of the classroom where the teacher has a seat. Teaching students solely through the teacher’s interpretation is often criticised. Students may not practise the topic sufficiently, and therefore their knowledge is limited, and they do not master it. Quantity, therefore, prevails over quality. Students often memorize the topics without understanding the essence, or knowing the context. The teacher's too fast or too slow explanation is also often criticised. Slower students may not keep up, or the more talented ones get "bored". Thus, teaching does not produce the desired results. The human brain can perceive a monotonous explanation for about twenty minutes. After that, the attention span of the audience drops, and they can “sleep with their eyes open”. Thus, the problem also arises when the teacher explains the material monotonously for a longer period, the pupils lose their attention, and it is up to the teacher to deal with the situation. The teacher can either accept the fact that students do not pay attention or keep telling the students to pay attention and interrupt the explanation. Slower pupils will only remember part of the explanation, and more talented pupils are often bothered by interruptions. This is why longer explanations are also criticised. Frontal teaching can be effective, especially if the teacher checks the students’ knowledge every lesson, the students check their homework together, and constantly repeat and practise the topic under the teacher’s supervision. The teacher provides feedback, points out mistakes, and reviews problematic areas. In the Czech Republic, the collective form of teaching is often expected of teachers by parents and grandparents who have themselves been taught in this way. Group tutoring It is groups of students that characterize this type of teaching. Teachers divide students into smaller tutoring groups, and they then complete different tasks. The groups may consist of more gifted or slower students, or the more gifted students may be mixed with the slower ones. In the latter case, i.e. if the group is diverse, there may be significant improvements in the slower pupils. The more gifted pupils encourage them, and they want to get closer to their level. This type of teaching teaches pupils mutual tolerance, cooperation, and reasoning. When they want to assert something in a collaborative task, they have to convince others of the truth of their statements. Pupils also focus their attention on learning and get rid of the fear of a bad grade. Group learning is good for practising and fostering knowledge. However, if the focus is more collaborative, it is no longer group teaching but cooperative teaching, which we will focus on one of the following articles. Benefits of frontal teaching Teaching focuses on key parts of the curriculum and systematic practices The topic is explained in a clear and understandable way Whole-class explanation saves time Students hardly encounter any incorrect statements when the teacher explains the topic Criticism of frontal teaching Pupils' knowledge may be superficial, so they may not master the topic well The class does not progress in learning at the same rate, there are slower and more gifted pupils Pupils' attention span decreases during prolonged monotonous explanations Pupils are not developing independent learning skills Arguments for group tutoring Increased pupil activity Involvement of all pupils in group work, cooperation Increased pupils' self-confidence, reasoning Taking responsibility for own mistakes Learning to tolerate each other Getting feedback Checking each other in the group, clarifying any confusion Increased interest in the task at hand, in the topic discussed in general Arguments against group tutoring Pupils often focus only on their own work and do not pay attention to the work of other groups Difficult control of pupils by the teacher, teacher's attention is fragmented Groups can be noisy Pupils work unevenly, some work more, others less Some pupils may not cooperate with each other If we were to summarise group and collective teaching, we would find that they are different from each other. So do other types of teaching. If the teacher correctly assesses the composition and abilities of the class as a whole, he or she can choose the type of teaching form that will produce great results. It is not possible to satisfy all students 100%. The student, or his or her parents, should always ensure that the knowledge acquired in the classroom is sufficiently repeated, reviewed, and, if necessary, study the topic more at home. Especially in collective and frontal teaching, repetition, home practice, and self-study are a must. Here, the teacher does not act individually, as in individual or individualized learning, but in a collective manner. It is thus up to the students to foster their knowledge individually. If the student does not understand the topic, it is advisable to find a tutor who will explain and practice it and help the student understand it. One of the options where to look for a tutor is School Populo. If you or your child has trouble understanding any topic, do not hesitate to contact School Populo.
In this miniseries, we will compare organizational forms of teaching one by one. Whether it is individual, individualized, collective, or group teaching, each has its pros and cons, advantages, and disadvantages. In previous articles, we have looked at these forms of learning in more detail. Each of them is specific, and each is unique in its own way. In this article, we will deal with cooperative learning. In the following lines, we will discuss it in more detail and offer you the opportunity to learn more about it. Why use cooperative learning? We will be happy to explain the concept again for readers who have never heard the term organizational forms of teaching before. Organizational forms of learning are a set of ways of how and with whom a teacher works and where teaching takes place. So, if we are looking at, for example, group learning, where pupils work on a task to reinforce what they have learn, this is group learning. However, if the teacher focuses more on collaboration and acquiring new knowledge, it is a cooperative form of learning. Group versus cooperative learning We have already discussed group learning in a previous article, in which we compared it with collective learning. However, since it is similar to cooperative learning, we will mention it now. When we hear the name group learning, we think of the groups of students that characterize this form of learning. The teacher gives the students a task, and they then work in groups to complete it. It is primarily the use of the group as an organizational form that is common to the group and cooperative learning. Cooperative learning ideas Group learning is widespread in education, but it has certain shortcomings and disadvantages. Compared to this approach, cooperative learning tries to eliminate these shortcomings. It uses the relationships and cooperation of students to make everyone's learning more effective. Cooperative learning is not the same as group learning. Co-operative learning promotes students' performance (improving memory), better reasoning, deduction, etc., vocabulary and fluency, communication with others, and choice of strategy in dealing with difficult situations. In the beginning, it is the teacher who guides the pupils in learning to succeed. The pupils then learn and improve themselves in groups so that they can successfully solve the task on their own at the end of the process. Therefore, cooperative learning must be used by the teacher in a way that pupils benefit more from it than from working alone. Types of cooperative learning: For cooperative learning to work, several basic features should be observed. Face-to-face work – the class is divided into several groups which are "mixed" of more and less gifted pupils, boys and girls, etc. Bond between pupils – pupils learn together. An individual is only successful if the group succeeds. Conversely, a group is only successful if the individual succeeds. Thus, if one member of the group “gives up” on the work, the group has no chance to succeed. There are several ways to help students work together. These include: Common goal – For the group to succeed, everyone must contribute with several ideas. The team goal is for everyone in the group to understand the material. Everyone in the group will be involved in some way in creating the work. Reward – If everyone in the group participates in the assignment, the group will achieve some reward (extra points on a test, free time, less homework, etc.). Single resource – Students are given only one worksheet, one book, or one resource per group to share Work roles – Each pupil will be given a specific role in the task; for example, one pupil reads the text while the other writes down the answers, or one cuts, one glues, etc. Individual responsibility – Each pupil should have a place in the group, and development should take place through collaboration. All members of the group should benefit from learning from each other. Pupil cooperation – Learning thrives when pupils can work together in groups Reflection on group activity – The success of the group also depends on group members being able to agree on elements of the task, for example, what to keep and what to change in the presentation Opportunities for collaboration There may be several possibilities for collaboration between students. Below we present a few of them: Ask your partner – Pupils ask their partners for help, e.g. to solve a task or explain a concept. Think and share – Pupils think individually about the answer to a question, followed by a discussion where they defend their opinion. Group reading – Groups of three read texts together and answer questions relating to it. One pupil reads the text, the other answers the questions, and the third checks the answers. At the end of the activity, everyone signs the worksheet and confirms that they agree with the answers. Checkers – Pupils are divided into pairs, each of them completing the task. Pupils in the group check each other’s answers. Problem solvers – Pupils in groups are assigned a problem to which they find a solution. They can decide on this solution together, but each must be able to explain the process they used to solve the problem. Group report – Pupils research a topic together, each being responsible for one source and writing several pieces of information. The students write the report together, but each is responsible for the information contributed. All pupils are involved in the oral report and help each other. Is cooperative learning effective? If we summarize cooperative learning, unlike group learning, it involves necessary cooperation and interaction between group members. These groups are usually small, and it is this fact that allows the pupils to consolidate their knowledge in the best possible way. When organizing cooperative learning, it is important to: – set students goals, not only factual - i.e. understanding, but also social - the ability to ask the other for help, – form groups that are diverse so that students can motivate each other, – choose the right task to be presented to the students, – monitor the groups' activities and intervene only if no one in the group can find the solution, – use different ways of assessment, not only teacher assessment but also peer assessment or student self-assessment. Finally, we would like to stress that every pupil or student needs motivation in their learning. This does not only have to be a material reward but also a good feeling of having achieved something. If the pupils or students do not understand some part of the topic, it is advisable to find individual tutoring not only to learn the topic in which they are lacking but, above all, to become more self-confident and be sure that their solution is correct. How online tutoring works? School Populo can also help you in your search for individual tutoring. If a student does not understand some topic, it is advisable to explain it as quickly as possible so that they can keep up with the class and not get unnecessarily lost.