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What Makes Effective Groupwork?
News Editor
/ Categories: Teaching and Learning

What Makes Effective Groupwork?

Simon Hills considers some of the issues around collaborative learnng





We’ve all done it, ‘Ok we are doing group work today….’ and we get the students into groups and then give a task.

Our expectation is that they know how to work in a group with other students, some who are more able than them, some less, others quiet, some loud etc!

How much actual work and progress are they all making in this scenario?

If we can get this right and train the students then the research suggests they can make gains quite rapidly in small collaborative work with each other.

As part of a Twilight Inset group devoted to looking at this topic we stared with looking at the research available regarding groupwork. Using the excellent EEF website we found that good collaborative/group work is a strategy shown to have 5 month's positive impact on progress, according to the research conducted.

Group work shouldn’t be something we ‘just do’ and expect students to know how to do it! 


We developed a set of MRC strategies for effective collaborative learning:

      Small and accountable group sizes

      Explicit/Specific job roles allocated to each individual student (accountability for that role) Talk through what each role ACTUALLY means

      Model what great group work looks like/share good examples/show them what you are expecting to see throughout (not just the final product or presentation but the stages to get their)

      Different colour pens for students

      Pupil Premium students – Team manager roles (focus on organisation or leading and make them responsible explicitly for something)

      Epraise for random selection of groups

      Presenting back to the whole group, naming which student has had the input as it's fedback

      Randomise the ‘speaker’ of the group (Don’t make this one of the roles – it’s an easy get out, instead teacher can elect or other students)


Have a look at the website:


This is an excellent resource for exploring not just groupwork, but any educational strategy and its effectiveness.

If you have any questions or would like help on integrating groupwork into your lesson more effectively, please contact Simon Hills.

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