Adjusting Expectations Of Collaborative Group Work As A New Teacher

Open Access
French, Chelsea Erin
Area of Honors:
Secondary Education
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Angiline Louisa Whitney, Thesis Supervisor
  • Angiline Louisa Whitney, Honors Advisor
  • Jamie Myers, Faculty Reader
  • group work
  • collaborative learning
  • secondary education
  • authentic learning
  • peer orientation
  • student reflection
My query into the use of group assignments at a high school level was initiated by vastly dissimilar responses to group assignments across several of my tenth grade classes. The struggles I encountered while encouraging certain classes to work collaboratively left me wondering why are effective collaborative group assignments so difficult to implement in the high school classroom? How can teachers make students recognize the value in communication skills they learn during collaborative assignments? This paper examines the failures and successes of several group assignments implemented into four different tenth grade English classes. It analyzes the importance of focusing on process over product in the designing of group projects and uncovers other crucial criterion for teachers designing group assignments. The writing of several other teachers helps instruct the creation of these criterion. In order to judge the effectiveness of the group assignments described, reflections and comments made by students are closely analyzed. Following these reflections are suggestions for implementing successful, educational group assignments into a high school class curriculum.