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  1. Newbie
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    #11

    Re: Collaborative Inquiry

    Quote Originally Posted by markrogers View Post
    I've been teaching English for 5 years in Cambodia and used to put my students in groups for learning activities quite often, but I had a lot of difficulty with this as there were often conflicts and arguments among students (I teach teenagers 13-15). Sometimes they were okay and depending on their moods they would sometimes cooperate and work together but most of the time I always experienced issues like group members not getting along, disagreeing, fighting or just plain not wanting to work with others.

    Maybe my class is a bit strange but I find that they work better alone and are more productive that way. Is collaborative learning really that necessary or can we just do whatever works for our class?
    Hi,

    I understand your frustrations, and I guess every class is different. You mentioned that it depends on their moods when they want to work together or not so I would suggest monitoring your class to see what makes them want to work together and what doesn't. Are there certain students who don't get along and can't stand each other? Or they just prefer to work alone in general? If there is something that you can help in resolving I would take that initiative, as collaborative learning is quite beneficial in many ways.

    I found this resource that might help you - it talks about the benefits of collaborative learning and there are 2 videos at the bottom that give tips on how to make effective groups of students for CL while considering all the issues you mentioned:

    http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/con...ndex_sub3.html

    Also, I wanted to know how you all use Collaborative Inquiry not only in your classrooms with students but amongst your colleauges at work - any experiences or tips you would like to share?

  2. Newbie
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    #12

    Re: Collaborative Inquiry

    Quote Originally Posted by missmaryam View Post
    Hi,

    I understand your frustrations, and I guess every class is different. You mentioned that it depends on their moods when they want to work together or not so I would suggest monitoring your class to see what makes them want to work together and what doesn't. Are there certain students who don't get along and can't stand each other? Or they just prefer to work alone in general? If there is something that you can help in resolving I would take that initiative, as collaborative learning is quite beneficial in many ways.

    I found this resource that might help you - it talks about the benefits of collaborative learning and there are 2 videos at the bottom that give tips on how to make effective groups of students for CL while considering all the issues you mentioned:

    http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/con...ndex_sub3.html

    Also, I wanted to know how you all use Collaborative Inquiry not only in your classrooms with students but amongst your colleauges at work - any experiences or tips you would like to share?
    I really think it depends on your workplace environment. At the school I work at in Cambodia, all the teachers (just like the students) prefer to work alone. Even if thereís a problem they donít like to share it with others and rather solve it themselves. And to be honest Iím quite the same... it kinda looks bad on us in front of the principal if we need help to solve an issue in class or with students. Itís like weíre not competent enough to take care of it ourselves.

  3. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #13

    Re: Collaborative Inquiry

    When I was in Cambodia, many years ago, some people put the lack of collaboration in many areas down to mistrust following the Pol Pot/DK era. I don't know how much truth there was in that.

  4. Newbie
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    #14

    Re: Collaborative Inquiry

    Quote Originally Posted by markrogers View Post
    I really think it depends on your workplace environment. At the school I work at in Cambodia, all the teachers (just like the students) prefer to work alone. Even if thereís a problem they donít like to share it with others and rather solve it themselves. And to be honest Iím quite the same... it kinda looks bad on us in front of the principal if we need help to solve an issue in class or with students. Itís like weíre not competent enough to take care of it ourselves.
    I can totally understand that - it looks bad on us as teachers if we're unable to manage and deal with issues that arise in our classes... but that being said, I would consult other teachers/my boss if it was something that's really critical cuz my supervisor probabaly wouldn't appreciate the fact that I didn't bring it to his attention and the issue escalated and involved parents complaining etc.

  5. Newbie
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    #15

    Re: Collaborative Inquiry

    Quote Originally Posted by haleemah View Post
    I can totally understand that - it looks bad on us as teachers if we're unable to manage and deal with issues that arise in our classes... but that being said, I would consult other teachers/my boss if it was something that's really critical cuz my supervisor probabaly wouldn't appreciate the fact that I didn't bring it to his attention and the issue escalated and involved parents complaining etc.
    I agree that our particular work environment does play a huge role in why or why we cannot incorporate collaborate inquiry with our colleagues. Fortunately, where I work, it is actually encouraged (UAE), as it takes the pressure off us as teachers and we can learn from our colleagues experiences (especially the more senior teachers). When it's a petty issue that we can solve on our own I agree that there is no need to involve others.

    However, the more complex problems, or "ill-structured" problems that don't have an easy answer are the ones we could use some help with! I recently had a student who was not able to read and write properly and despite several efforts, continuously kept making mistakes. It was with the help of another colleage that suggested she may have dyslexia. After considering this fact we had a chat with the parents to get her assessed by a professional, and she was indeed found to be dyslexic. We have now ordered special materials for her and have a shadow teacher to help her in class to offer extra support. Her parents are also working closely with her therapist on how to help their daughter and they often meet with me as well and share these techniques so I can better help her in class. I have designed a special plan for this child with my supervisor and other teachers so she can succeed at her literacy skills. Of course she gets the extra help she needs outside of class as well, but at least now we know what was causing her difficulty and came up with the appropriate solutions to help her out.

    Has anyone else encountered a problem like this with any of their students?

  6. Newbie
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    #16

    Re: Collaborative Inquiry

    How old was this girl?

  7. Newbie
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    #17

    Re: Collaborative Inquiry

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewD View Post
    How old was this girl?
    She was 6.

  8. Newbie
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    #18

    Re: Collaborative Inquiry

    I've had some students around the same age in my class who had trouble with reading and writing but it was just becuase they didn't feel like doing it - they were just plain lazy and bored. They needed a lot of motivation and encouragement or else the wouldn't do anything in class - this was in Spain about 2 years back. Their parents were the ones who forced them to be in class to learn English - I could tell they didn't wanna be there. So that was quite challenging for me to deal with. They were smart kids but didn't put in the effort...

  9. Newbie
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    #19

    Re: Collaborative Inquiry

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewD View Post
    I've had some students around the same age in my class who had trouble with reading and writing but it was just becuase they didn't feel like doing it - they were just plain lazy and bored. They needed a lot of motivation and encouragement or else the wouldn't do anything in class - this was in Spain about 2 years back. Their parents were the ones who forced them to be in class to learn English - I could tell they didn't wanna be there. So that was quite challenging for me to deal with. They were smart kids but didn't put in the effort...
    So what did you do to motivate them and how did you go about it? I'm also facing the same challenge with my younger students - especially the 9-11 year olds. They clearly do not want to be in class and are being forced to go by parents... and the pressure is on us teachers to make sure they are learning and doing very well or else we have to deal with some angry parents!

  10. Newbie
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    #20

    Re: Collaborative Inquiry

    Quote Originally Posted by haleemah View Post
    So what did you do to motivate them and how did you go about it? I'm also facing the same challenge with my younger students - especially the 9-11 year olds. They clearly do not want to be in class and are being forced to go by parents... and the pressure is on us teachers to make sure they are learning and doing very well or else we have to deal with some angry parents!
    Well first off, we held a meeting with all teachers cuz this was an issue with a lot of classes, not just mine. We got together and figured out the reasons why they are not motivated (that was the easy part), and then how we can engage them more in class activities so they actually want to come on their own and not just because their parents are the ones telling them to. So we came up with the following ideas:

    - reward system for speaking English
    - more games and fun activities
    - making the topic of the lessons more appealing to them and what they are interested in and teaching around that
    - praising students more (sometimes this helped and sometimes it didn't depending on the student...)
    - playing some popular English songs they know in class and deriving English lessons from it (grammar and vocabulary)
    - role plays and using costumes
    - other fun stuff...

    we came up with a lot of ideas actually when we all brainstormed together - so I'd say we did engage in "collaborative inquiry" to solve this problem - even though I've never heard of this term before (thanks missmaryam for introducing it to me), I'd say we do it a lot unconsciously at work... but only when we all have the same problem!

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