Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Journal 8: Problem-Solving Software, Equity, and the Allocation of Roles

Problem-Solving Software, Equity, and the Allocation of Roles by Jackie Stokes

Jackie Stokes touches on great strategies to enhance students' problem solving abilities. Through the use of problem-solving software, students can increase their own abilities while simultaneously learning how to work cooperatively in groups. Student reflections will allow the teacher to assess the effectiveness of the activity. Students can explain how decisions were made to clarify whether one or a few students dominated, or if the group worked well as a cooperative unit. In addition, students can show how conflicts were resolved within the group, allowing them to learn problem-solving strategies in group situations as well as in an academic scenario.

Q1: If the students are not working well in a group, how could I as a teacher help them to be more cooperative in a group dynamic?

A1: Perhaps I could give each student a designated position so that they are each responsible for a different part of the project. For example, one student could be the facilitator, making sure everyone has a voice and everyone is on task. Another student could be the recorder, listing any conflicts the group faced, or strategies they struggled with. If each student has a job, they will take more responsibility for their position while resisting the urge to take over someone else's job. Ultimately, the goal is that the group of individuals will work as a unit.

Q2: If there are conflicts within the group, how could they be resolved?

A2: Of course, I would have to assess where the real problem lies, but I would try to have the students resolve the conflict to the best of their ability before I got involved. This would teach them a valuable lesson about working together. Hopefully working through these issues on their own will help them work better together in the end.

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