Sep 172015

The keynote of a conference often gives you the Reader’s Digest of a complex topic, and day 1 of the Saskatchewan Educational Leadership Unit’s (SELU) annual conference feature a keynote discussing the nature of engagement and what we can do to foster it, so we had to get a summary of many points.  Nicole Vagle discussed a variety of topics and  provided lots of opportunity for discussion and reflection. In the ninth year of Collegiate Renewal (podcast describing what it is), Saskatoon Public has been discussing engagement deeply for nearly a decade, so much of what Vagle said was familiar.  However, there were some reminders worth discussing:

  • Vagle argued that the teacher can focus on engagement at a ratio of about 2/3 classroom environment/ relationships/beliefs to 1/3 instructional strategies.  She discussed a number of key elements that can help, and I have linked to older post on this site discussing these ideas:
  • She also noted that teachers who name a number of things within their control to increase engagement have more engaging classrooms than teachers who see engagement as outside their control.  This matches theory in wide variety of areas that indicates when you believe something is within your locus of control, you are more effective at dealing with it. Read more about teacher beliefs and engagement from this site, or a great post from Vagel detailing what teachers can do in increase motivation and flow.
  • Vagle spoke extensively about the role of empathy and thinking deeply about what motivates students.  We discussed the perception that a student might be lazy and considered how to avoid inference and stereotyping when considering what a student might need.

One of the things I appreciated the most was the fact that Vagle made a deliberate attempt to relate things to Saskatchewan. While she slipped and mentioned standards a couple of times instead of outcomes (hard to avoid if you come from the States), she referred to the Broad Areas of Learning when talking about 21st Century Literacy and did great job of addressing Cultural Responsiveness, a main theme in Saskatchewan education at the moment. We looked at common definition from Gay and spoke about which words resonated for us. Gay (2000) defines culturally responsive teaching as using the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, and performance styles of diverse students to make learning more appropriate and effective for them. Some of the people I spoke to real appreciated the clarity about why responsive instruction maters.

All in all, it was a lot to digest in a short morning, but a summary with helpful highlights. If you are interested, you can see some of Vagle’s books and chapters at Solution Tree.

Apr 242015

Coaching Classroom Instruction BookAt Saskatoon Public Schools, we have moved into supporting literacy instruction using a Learning Leader model. We have had the wonderful opportunity to work with five wonderful teachers who have taken on the Learning Leader role. Recently, our group met to explore Coaching Classroom Instruction by Marzano and Simms. We had a great discussion and wanted to share some highlights that we took from the book discussion and further connections that we made to the work.

  • Chapter 1 outlines coaching models and the benefits of coaching.  If interested in coaching models, please see graphic below.
  • The book emphasizes the importance of creating relationships, setting goals, and providing relevant feedback.
  • A framework provides coaches and teachers to establish a shared understanding of instructional practice that starts with a self-audit.
  • The last portion of the book takes you through 41 elements (see table 3) that can has a positive impact on classroom environment and learning. Through exploration of the Marzano site we found support documents for individual teacher scales for reflective practice in Becoming a Reflective Teacher in Appendix B
  • This book supports the coach in guiding a teacher from implementing new strategies to innovating and integrating several strategies that supports differentiation.
  • The book outlined many activities which support the elements using Marzano’s 9 Effective Instructional Strategies

This book enhances the learning we have done with Jim Knight’s book High Impact Instruction and is a nice companion to Charlotte Danielson’s book Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching.

By: Deighan Remoundos & Michelle Pantel

Mar 272015

I have a little challenge for you.eyetest

If this is not a good day – you’ve been marking a lot, you had some hard phone calls, or some students you’ve been really trying to help are away again, this is not the day for a challenge.  But if you’ve got some brain cells to spare and you’d like get to know yourself a bit better as a teacher, this post is for you.

My “little” challenge is deceptively simple. 

  1. Ask yourself what is really important to know and do in  unit you are currently teaching
  2. Read this post by Grant Wiggins
  3. Look over the summative assessment for the unit (test, big assignment or project) with critical eyes for the following:
    1. What percentage of the assessment requires knowledge?
    2. What percentage of the assessment requires comprehension as Wiggin’s describes it (remember, it isn’t low level as described by Bloom) – The student can identify and comprehend the major ideas which are included, as well as understand their interrelationships. This requires nice sense of judgment and caution about one’s own ideas and interpretations. It also requires some ability to go beyond mere rephrasing  to determine the larger and more general ideas. The interpreter must also recognize the limits within which interpretations can be drawn.
    3.  What percentage is application?  Remember, you had to ask the student to apply the skill or understanding in a novel situation for the task to be application…

What you’ll find by doing this activity what you really think is worth knowing in your in your class. The answers to knowledge level questions are the ones just found online. However, the answers to genuine comprehension often require a good teacher, and the answers to a good application question mean you don’t need that teacher anymore.  Most teachers talk about big ideas in comprehension or above, but many of us are guilty of asking the lowest form of knowledge questions because they are easy to write and mark.

(If you are starting to feel badly here, read this working paper that claims 0% of state tests in the US actually assess higher order think skills in more than 5% of the students.)

How does this all relate what’s worth knowing?  Well, you’ll design the best possible assessment at the unit if you write down a few key application task you are looking for, then move backwards to comprehension of concepts and process, and finally come to the base knowledge for all of that, most of which you can skip assessing because it essential to know it to be successful at the higher level. My “little” challenge is worth it, because your assessments become littler, with less marking, but much more profound.  After all, you really do know which things are really worth learning, you just may not always focus on them during that summative assessment.

Dec 052014

Recently, we have asked our Kindergarten  to 8 French Immersion staff to answer the following question: What does a high-quality French Immersion program look like and sound like? We received a wealth of responses from our staff members. I also participated in the process. Here is the list that I created:

A high quality French Immersion program looks like:

  • A wide range of students with differing needs and abilities are participating and learning an additional language
  • The teacher uses frequent formative assessment strategies to determine student ability and knowledge of content and language
  • Students learn from a range of explicit and inductive instructional experiences to enable their unique learning styles and intelligence types
  • Students work independently or cooperatively in small groups at authentic tasks and explore personal wonders that link the curriculum and the real world that are developmentally appropriate to their learning and or language needs
  • Instruction and tasks develops students language proficiency
  • Students are exposed to multiple rich language models inside and outside of the classroom during the entire school day and interact frequently and meaningfully with the francophone world
  • Students are exposed to excellent diverse learning resources (print and non-print) that are appropriate to their learning and language needs
  • Students engage in learning the language and grammar through authentic communication situations and tasks that are context specific and content rich
  • Students use the language as a tool to structure cognitive processes and as a communicative tool to interact orally frequently with a range of peers for a range of purposes
  • Students draw extensively on their background knowledge of content and language and self-assess their use of strategies, ability, skills, or knowledge according to visible co-constructed developmental continuums
  • Students receive a range of timely supports in French inside and outside of the classroom
  • The language is used as a tool to structure cognitive processes and as a communication tool in frequent interactions with a range of peers
  • The language is used a tool to structure cognitive processes
  • Students read and write a range of fiction and non-fiction texts (in print and non-print)
  • Students feel free to take risk in their learning and communication

A high quality French Immersion program sounds like:

  • The teacher only speaks French to students using vocabulary and structures that are slightly beyond their zone of proximal language development, even if the content is cognitively demanding and uses instructional strategies to ensure that students can access language and content
  • The students only speak French to the teacher and peers and use disciplinary vocabulary, communication methods and language patterns in appropriate contexts
  • Students communicate among themselves using authentic and socially appropriate language
  • The students have sophisticated methods to overcome unknown French words when communicating and continue to use the target language despite slight difficulties
  • The classroom has a continuous buzz of French communication (may appear noisy)
  • Learning targets can be heard being stated by the teacher and students and students can express their current ability level, explain specific things they can do to improve and their preferred strategies to seek support
  • Multiple language models are available to students
  • Students progress through developmental language stages and continue to improve their ability to express ideas, thoughts and fluency in the target language through a range of authentic tasks
  • Students ask and answer a range of questions (simple/closed to complex/open)
  • Students frequently receive immediate positive or negative feedback about their oral production and have the chance to immediately improve their message
  • Students develop and refine implicit grammar structures when communicating authentically during tasks
Dec 052014

Should They StayLate French Immersion

Saskatoon Public Schools is Saskatchewan’s only school division to offer Late French Immersion (LFI). LFI is an intensive two-year program starting in the beginning of grade 6 and finishing at the end of grade 7. Students interested in LFI are not required to have any French language competencies. During the program, students are fully immersed and learn the foundations of the French language using their established thinking and learning skills. At first, students focus on French language acquisition with a reduced emphasis on subject content. Once a sufficient language base has been acquired, they continue to expand their language proficiency while learning content from all subject areas. In the LFI program, students develop the ability to listen, speak, read and write in French. All subject areas in the program are taught in French except for English Language Arts. Once students complete the LFI program, they are encouraged to join the early immersion cohort to form one cohesive class in grade 8 and to pursue their studies until the end of grade 12 in French Immersion so that they may receive a bilingual mention on their high school diploma.

There are many different reasons why families consider accessing the late immersion program. Due to its structure, LFI is the optimal program to allow students to access to a French Immersion program after the kindergarten entrance point. Some parents prefer to have their children develop a solid foundation in English or an alternate mother tongue prior to undertaking French Immersion programming (Cloud, Genesee, & Hamayan, 2009). Others, prefer to wait until their children are old enough and sufficiently mature to make the decision to learn a second language on their own. Access to school bus transportation, access to schools offering the program and the number of students in the program are also factors that impact families’ decision to selecting the program. LFI is not comparable to Intensive French due to the fact that the instructional hours are far greater in the LFI program.

Timeline of Late French Immersion Programming in Saskatoon Public Schools

  • In 2009, Saskatoon Public Schools launched the LFI programming with a grade 6 cohort at École Lakeview (ÉLKVS) School and École Henry Kelsey (ÉHK)
  • In 2011, a grade 6 cohort was launched at École River Heights School (ÉRHS) and the first graduates of LFI program at ÉLKVS and ÉHK joined early immersion students in grade 8 French Immersion classrooms
  • In 2012, the LFI program was closed at ÉRHS
  • In 2013, the LFI grade 6 cohort was moved from ÉLKVS to École College Park School (ÉCPS) and the ÉLVKS LFI program was scheduled to be closed once the grade 7 cohort completed the second year of the program
  • In 2014, LFI programming is still offered at ÉCPS and ÉHK.
  • In 2016, the first LFI students will graduate from Saskatoon Public School collegiates

Benefits of Late French Immersion

  • Offers the opportunity for students to make the independent decision to study French which increases motivation
  • Offers the opportunity for late arriving students who have not previously studied in French Immersion to have the same access as their peers
  • Offers the opportunity to develop a strong foundation in their first language before adding a second language ensuring strong academic skills in both languages
  • Develops cognitive and social skills, strategies to better understand known languages and prepares a person to learn other languages
  • Exposes and develops understanding of French-speaking communities and cultures as well as their own and those of others
  • Develops language learning, critical thinking skills, oral and written expression in students
  • Prepares a student to study French in high school and then at a post-secondary institution or to accept employment in a bilingual work environment

Realities of Late French Immersion

  • Students in LFI have diverse experiences learning French ranging from none and beyond
  • Students who enter LFI received their primary education in English and come from diverse environments and cultures and may not have French or English as a first language
  • Students in LFI have already developed language skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking in their mother tongue), learning strategies and problem-solving strategies
  • At first, students listen and understand language, afterwards they speak, write and read
  • Students who have difficulties in a language will have similar difficulties in French-such as with the reading and writing (Government of Alberta – Education, 2010)
  • Students develop the ability to effectively, practically and appropriately use language for communication of personal, scholastic, social and professional purposes (Genesee, 2004) however, they do not attain equibilingualism (Roy, 2008); which means that they cannot speak both French and English like native born speakers
  • Students who learn languages use their cognitive skills differently from unilingual students (Cook, 2001)
  • Students develop French language skills according to the number of hours they have had of instruction- students who receive the most hours have the highest results (Archibald, et al., 2006)

Suggested Reading

Archibald, J., Roy , S., Harmel, S., Jesney, K., Dewey, E., Moisik, S., & Lessard, P. (2006). A Review of Literature on Second Language Learning. Edmonton: Alberta Education.

Arnett, K. (2013). Languages for All. Toronto: Pearson.

Cloud, N., Genesee, F., & Hamayan, E. (2009). Literacy Instruction for English Language Learners. Portsmouth: Heinemann.

Cook, V. (2001). Using the First Language in the Classroom. Canadian Modern Language Review, 57, 3, 402-423.

Cummins, J. (1998). Immerion Education for the Millennium. Learning through two languages: Research and practice., (pp. 33-47). Katoh Gakuen, Japan.

Day, E., & Shapson, S. (1988). A Comparison Study of Early and Late French Immersion Programs in British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Education Vol. 13, No. 2, 290-305.

Genesee, F. (2004). What Do We Know About Bilingual Education for Majority Language Students? In W. R. T.K. Bhatia, What Do We Know About Bilingual Education for Majority Language Students? (pp. 547-576). Malden, M: Blackwell.

Government of Alberta – Education. (2010). Late Immersion Foundation Document. Edmonton: Alberta Education.

Lightbown, P., & Spada, N. (2006). How Languages are Learned. New York: Oxford University Press.

Roy, S. (2008). Learning French in Alberta. Calgary: Blitzprint Inc.

Saskatoon Public Schools. (2013). French Immersion. Saskatoon: Saskatoon Public Schools.

Nov 072014

Gallery walks in a classroom mimic what would happen when you were visiting an art gallery or museum.  Most often, the visitor goes from picture to picture, or exhibit to exhibit trying to understand the artist’s meaning of the picture, or the purpose of the exhibit.  That is exactly what you hope to gain in a gallery walk in your classroom; students critically studying pictures or questions and making responses that would cause others to stop, think, and reflect.  Gallery walks are a great way to stimulate engagement, choice, and collaboration in the classroom.

There are different ways to do a gallery walk in a classroom.  Some Gallery walks are meant to encourage questions and curiosity, while others evaluate student understanding of concepts and unearth misconceptions. Used effectively, gallery walks can be used as an introduction to a unit or theme, as a concept attainment lesson, or as a way to gain peer feedback.  Obviously, gallery walks can be done in art, but they also lend themselves nicely to:

Most commonly, gallery walks are done with questions or pictures.  A gallery walk is a way to create movement for students while they dialogue.  Simply put, students get out of their desks and move through the room past the pictures or the questions.  Students can be recording thoughts, ideas, and answers on their own paper, or putting questions and thoughts up on the chart paper that has been provided so that others can enter into what has been recorded before they get to the gallery walk exhibit.  Depending on your outcome, gallery walks can be done individually, in partners, or small groups.  The number of exhibits can vary for a gallery walk, but realize the more stations the more time that is needed to complete the gallery walk.  Rotating through the exhibits can be a formal organized process where each station gets approximately 3-5 minutes, while other gallery walks can be more fluid allowing the students to choose how long they stay at a station.  Teachers can move through the room collecting observations to inform future lessons, or to stimulate conversations.  It is always important that at the end of the gallery walk that there is some type of synthesis of thought.

Key pieces to keep in mind when creating a gallery walk are:

  • It is most effective when the gallery walk is set up with open ended questions, or a focus that engages in higher order thinking skills
  • Clear step by step instructions and expectations of how the gallery walk should progress and how students should record their learning is important.
  • Arranging the room so that it is conducive to students moving through the different exhibits.IMG_1131
Nov 032014

Language LearnersBeliefs are a foundational aspect of our work in education. They surface and impact our daily work often without being recognized. It’s not at all uncommon to hear French Immersion (FI) teachers discussing dream students. The students are often revered to be the perfect learners who would succeed magnificently in FI. Other students, who do not share the same perceived characteristics as dream students are also frequently discussed by FI teachers but not in the same light. It’s true that the students who are currently enrolled in FI are significantly different than those in the pilot programs across Canada. FI is no longer an elite program, not that it was ever intended to be. When FI teachers encounter students who do not demonstrate the criteria of dream students, it’s not uncommon for these to recommend that the student should leave the FI program. Especially when behaviours or personal learning needs are perceived to be significant. Underlying this whole issue is a foundational belief about FI students and the program itself. Some teachers believe that only some students can be successful in the FI program and others believe that all students can be successful.

Some relevant topics to this issue will not be re-discussed in this post. Please refer to this prior post about supporting FI learners here.

In their 2000 publication, Dual Language Instruction- A Handbook for Enriched Education, Nancy Cloud, Fred Genesee and Else Hamayan discuss in Chapter 4- Oral Language Development, the topic of predictors of success and what makes some students better second-language learners. According to the authors, second-language learners (SLLs) attain proficiency in the second language at uneven rates, which in turn can create frustration for teachers. They explained that common misconceptions and frustration often lead teachers to inaccurately attribute difficulties to cognitive or perceptual disorders in SLLs. In an attempt to create a better understanding about student learning, Cloud, Genesee and Hamayan state that not all students will attain the same level of proficiency in the second language and that teachers should become comfortable with the uneven rate of proficiency demonstrated by students in FI.

Common in conversation between teachers is the belief that our most successful SLLs can attribute their success to strong verbal intelligence. According to the authors, this intelligence type plays a minor role and only specifically in the context of literacy. High academic achievers will not necessarily be successful in a FI program. Patsy M. Lightbown and Nina Spada, authors of How Languages are Learned (2014) would agree with this statement. In chapter 2, they discuss learner characteristics and are unable to identify any specific characteristic that would consistently predict learner success in language learning.

For Cloud, Genesee and Hamayan, the heart of student success in learning an additional language is the students’ attitude towards the language and its speakers, the motivation to learn demonstrated by the student and how comfortable the student feels in a second language classroom. Lightbown and Spada confirm this adding that the learning conditions and the environment can significantly impact a learner’s rate of learning and use of language. Ultimately, teachers should remember that each learner will develop, refine and become proficient in the language at a rate that is unique to them. Unfortunately, due to external pressures, this is not what is most commonly supported by FI teachers.

As outlined by Lyn Sharratt in the first parameter, all students can achieve high standards given sufficient time and the right support. Of significant impact to students’ ability to achieve are the beliefs that teachers have about their capacity to learn. What do you believe about FI learners? Has this always been your belief? Has your belief ever changed, and why?

Oct 292014

Counterbalanced LysterStudents who acquire a new language in an immersion program are engaging in an extremely challenging task. Their ability to accurately and effectively learn the target language is dependent on many factors, of which, the quality of the instruction, the range of the classroom and instruction discourse as well as the effectiveness of the feedback for learning are most significant.
Without these, persistent and long-term problems develop in students’ language use patterns.

In his 2007 book Learning and Teaching Languages Through Content, Roy Lyster warns that incidental attention drawn to language during the instruction of subject areas is insufficient and may even mislead student learners. He states on page 29:

“without having their attention drawn more systematically to the target language, the cognitive predispositions of second language learners interact with classroom input in ways that restrict the incidental assimilation of specific target features and grammatical subsystems, such as verbs, pronouns, and gender in the case of French immersion students.”

In French Second Language classrooms, According to Brigitte Harley’s research (1993), an explicit focus needs to be drawn on:

  • Unexpected and non-obvious features that differ from students’ first language
  • Irregular and infrequent features in the second language input
  • Features that do not carry a heavy communicative load

Lyster explains that using Harley’s research explains persistent difficulties experienced by French Immersion students, specifically: verbal systems, pronominal reference and gender attributions. These difficulties, he explains, are due to incongruence with students’ first language, lack of prominence in instructional discourse and redundancy in communicative interactions.
Of significant note for teachers, students eliminate language forms that they perceive to be redundant which explains why immersion students prefer perfective verb forms, singular forms of pronouns and masculine gender forms. Immersion teachers therefore need to create opportunities, explicitly model, and offer useful feedback for immersion students so that they may build a clear understanding of the form and function of these language features.Other researchers have affirmed the belief that target language features that create a misleading similarity between the first and second language should be explicitly taught to students because these students demonstrate long-term difficulty acquiring these through communicative interactions and that these are most often infrequent in classroom discourse.

Oct 292014

How Languages are LearnedLast year, I was very interested in trying to uncover some foundational research regarding first and second language acquisition and instruction. Throughout the year I looked at a range of articles and books although I struggled to satisfied my query. This year, I purchased a copy of How Languages are Learned (2006) by Patsy M. Lightbown and Nina Spada.

The book seemed relevant to my portfolio as the authors included a significant amount of research and content from French Immersion programs. The book includes several topics that are confirming and enhancing my knowledge of language acquisition. I would strongly recommend this book to any language teacher or person who works in a language program. Check out these Youtube videos with the authors.

In the introduction, the authors offer the reader an opinionaire. Although the questions do not represent all facets of language learning, the 17 listed questions do cover a range of topics. The following prompts are taken directly from the book although I’m not including all 17 in this post. Please read the prompt and reflect on your experience, education and training for language instruction. Afterwards, respond to the prompt using a Likert scale ranging from Completely disagree, Somewhat disagree, Neutral, Somewhat agree to Strongly agree.

These questions may allow you to uncover your beliefs about and your stance towards language learning. I am very interested in your opinion.

Please comment!

Scale: Completely disagree   Somewhat disagree   Neutral   Somewhat agree   Strongly agree

  • Languages are learnt mainly through imitation.
  • Highly intelligent people are good language learners.
  • The most important predictor of success in second language acquisition is motivation.
  • The earlier a second language is introduced in school programs, the greater the likelihood of success in learning.
  • The best way to learn new vocabulary is through reading.
  • It is essential for learners to be able to pronounce all the individual sounds in the second language.
  • Once learners know roughly 1000 words and the basic structure of the language, they can easily participate in conversations with native speakers.
  • Teachers should present grammatical rules one at a time, and learners should practice examples of each one before going on to another.
  • Teachers should teach simple language structures before complex ones.
  • Learners’ errors should be corrected as soon as they are made in order to prevent the formation of bad habits.
  • Teachers should use materials that expose students to only those language structures they have already been taught.
  • When learners are allowed to interact freely (for example, in group or pair activities), they copy each other’s mistakes.
  • Teachers should respond to students’ errors by correctly rephrasing what they have said rather than by explicitly pointing out the error.
Aug 182014

I know my students want to be with others students and care so much about what their friends (and their non-friends) think.  In fact, I can’t always get them to stop being with each other and focus on what we are supposed to be learning.  The good news is, it isn’t a question of time with peers or time for learning.  Research actually shows that students learn much more effectively with each other than by themselves, provided the teacher sets it up carefully. In fact, the “research on cooperative learning is one of the greatest success stories in the history of educational research” (Slavin et al., 2003, p. 177). There are 4 main reasons that working with peers is so important for adolescents:

What Research says the Value of Learning with Peers

1. Motivation: When you work is necessary for others, you want to do a better job.  In well-constructed environments where peers help each other learn, each person is critical to the teams’ success and has a personal role. Research shows there are four key intrinsic motivators a teacher can tap into: student interests, someone really needing what the student is doing, peers valuing what a student does and student feels of early and continued success. Working with peers to increase motivation in the first three, and sometimes the fourth.

2. Social cohesion and connection: Peers work hard because they care about the group and how they are perceived by peers. In adolescence, this is one of the most powerful positive or negative motivating forces. How the teacher structures the groups and creates a safe environment determines if collaboration uses social cohesion to increase learning or reduce it.

3. Personalization: Almost 80% of the feedback students get in a class is from their peers, and peers are much more likely to answer questions quickly than a teacher is.  In addition, students are more willing to ask direct questions of peers and typically get responses more specifically directed at what they don’t understand.  One downside is that peer’s explanations for “why” are often incorrect. Teachers need to structure peer learning to surface common misconceptions and correct them, and then personalization and feedback our powerful ways to improve student learning.

4. Cognitive elaboration: When people work in groups, they need to understand their ideas more fully to explain them to others, and they often gain insights, see errors, or find connections they would not understand on their own. Collaboration builds richer, more nuanced understanding than learning in isolation.

John Hattie  notes that the effect on learning for cooperative learning is better than common alternatives in terms of effect size (.52), and “much higher” if skills are explicitly taught (p. 78 of Visible Learning for Teachers).  If students know the basics before learning with peers starts, students learn more completely than they do in either individual or competitive learning environments.

Ensuring Students are Growing Learning by Working with Peers

There are many things you can do to help and lots of instructional approaches to try (there is definitely another blog post in there), but here are some of the key ones:

  • As the teacher, you ensure the classroom is a safe place to make mistakes and grow for everyone in the room.  One of the few times collaborative  or peer based learning does not help students is if they fear peers will hurt them or are judging them.
  • You make sure everyone has enough of the basic understanding and skills they need to start working with others. The focus of the work with others is on peers helping each other understand and apply learning.
  • Everyone has a different and important job.  The students are working as a group, not just in a group.
  • Peer processes focus much more on understanding together than doing common assignments. When there is a common assignment, everyone has a personal product and mark.
  • You teach your students to give good feedback about tasks, processes and self-regulation.
  • You structure and monitor peer learning, providing prompts and using questioning and feedback often.
  • Groups have mixed ability level and preferences, and students work with a variety of members of the class over time.


Read more about these concepts in works by the following authors: