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As many of you know, the selection of group composition can be a difficult task. Depending on the dynamics of your class, you may decide to have the students select their own groups. If you choose this approach, make sure that students understand the responsibilities of each group member, as well as the collective responsibilities of the group. Groups may also be selected randomly, or composed by you. The latter is our suggestion, given the complexity of the group dynamics for this unit. Given the open-ended nature of the research and role-play simulation, teacher guidance is of the utmost importance.

Logistics of group work: Emphasize that this is a cooperative endeavor, where individual opinions should be respected - the students are acting as a citizen research team.

Have the groups identify roles that each member will play (roles may be doubled up, with exception of the role of the facilitator - only one person should hold this role):

  • Speaker (the primary, although not the only, presenter of the group research; participates in the team)
  • Facilitator (keeps the group on task, focuses questions, oversees issues of quality and time management; responsible for individual and group assessment)
  • Writer (coordinates the written work of research and the production of the final group brief to be presented to the team - there may be two, if dissenting opinions emerge)
  • Visual producers (coordinates and produces the visual product highlighting the major points of their groupÔs position/research on the proposition on poster board or PowerPoint

Note: This division of labor can be used throughout the year if you utilize group work frequently in your class, so that before the end of the year everyone will assume one of these roles during some research or group project.

 

 
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