I recently asked students to provide some input on their processing, communication and thinking about a problem. A few responses dealing with group work:
Did you give space to others to allow them to share their ideas?
- Yes, because maybe others have better ideas.
- I think I could hear others’ advice more but I did try this time.
- Not the most but some. I feel like some members liked to wait and listen to the talkative ones to make decisions. I think they should stand up and speak more.
- Yes because I asked other students their thoughts. No, because I spoke Chinese and made it hard for another student to fit in.
- Maybe not enough, seeing that I was the one who probably talked the most.
Did you have a voice and feel comfortable sharing your ideas?
- I usually don’t because if I tell them something wrong I would lead them astray.
- I think I did have a voice and felt comfortable sharing ideas because they would be accepted or at least evaluated if they are valid or not.
- I think I would if I have some ideas.
- Yes, I feel like I can talk to group mates and tell them what we can do.
Interactions between students are important to me. Whiteboards are great in providing a meeting place for work. However, as students work many interactions pass by without my hearing. Are they being respectful to each other? Are the voices of various students being heard? Student reflections provide a snapshot of these interactions. Over the course of the year, several of the more talkative students have begun to slow down and ask for the thoughts of quieter group members. Would they be doing this if I didn’t explicitly ask them to think about giving space?
I’m still puzzling over how to help out and provide more access to those students who are scared of leading partners “astray”. I also think I need more pointed (and well written) reflection questions.