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Avoid Group Chaos!

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There are two things I have found really helpful with group work in an ESL classroom:

1. When I had planned group work or activity as a part of the lesson, I kept creating chaotic situations. My problem: I arranged the groups, then gave the instructions for what to do. By the time the groups were formed, I had lost the control. I ended up having to go from group to group to explain what we were doing. This may be a trivial point to experienced teachers, but I learned that I must give all the instructions and demonstrate the activity BEFORE I'd have the students go into groups.

2. To have the class come back together from the group took sometimes 5+ minutes. Regrouping as a class was an exercise in futility. Then I realized that putting the group work to the end of the class would be more successful, because there would be nothing else scheduled for the class. It works.

Jari J. Vesterinen
Provo, UT

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