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ERIC Number: ED428007
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Sep
Pages: 14
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Building Classroom Community through Group Assignments, Role Plays and Modeling.
Smith, Zeric Kay
Academics spend most of their intellectual lives engaged in theoretically complex and sometimes arcane debates, and it is sometimes easy for them to forget that their students are being introduced for the first time to many of the concepts they as educators take for granted. In political science courses, a variety of group activities can serve the basic instructional goals of (1) subject mastery; (2) building critical thinking, writing, and speaking skills; and (3) promoting literacy in social scientific method. Group activities also can promote community both inside and outside the classroom. Small group discussions and in-class debates are instructional activities that extend the learning environment into a community building mode, especially when used with concrete goals in mind. Dividing a class of 30 into six groups for a short set of discussions allows frequent student interaction. In-class debates are a logical extension of small group discussions. Each group is asked to prepare a 2-minute opening statement in which they summarize their position; then each presents a 1-minute critique of the competing position. A debate between the two positions ensues with each group alternating by answering specific critiques and posing follow-up questions to the other group. Another way that participation can be built into courses is through group-based case study projects combined with class presentations. Intensive role-play projects that encompass virtually all of the group-based activities combine rigorous demands that students understand the substance of the course material with an enjoyable way for them to interact with their peers and with the instructor. Contains a table. (BT)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A