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contribution paper

The purpose of this assignment is to get you to engage in a deep reflection of the group process in order to learn some things about group process that will enhance your skills in groups and provide you with some insight into teaching your students group process skills.

A major part of this course is to work on collaboration skills. This includes working on the skills needed to be part of a professional learning community (your future work in building committees) as well as the use of learning communities as a pedagogical technique.The theoretical background for this work is found in the Practicing Deliberation as Citizenship paper (download here)

I view the Professional Learning Groups to be the place where you will have the opportunity to practice your individual group skills. When you form your Professional Learning Groups everyone should read and discuss the Deliberation paper. Set group norms. Assign roles of facilitator, gatekeeper, timekeeper, reporter, recorder/laptop manager (in charge of bringing or borrowing a laptop for that class), supplies manager (in charge of class materials). I want these roles filled every week by different class members. You may add roles if you desire but you must include these roles. I will be assessing the group process throughout the quarter through observation, assignments, exit slips. It is required that everyone responds to these requests I make. I view that these groups should provide technical help to one another (help understand the material we are covering) as well as share the workload, cover one anotherâs backs (provide notes to anyone who misses a session, share notes, etc.), and provide some level of social support (care) for one another. If a problem arises (attendance problem, too much talking, too little talking, not carrying their fair share of the work load, hurt feelings, anger, whatever) I expect the entire group to take responsibility to resolve it. If desired I may be called in to help out. Throughout the quarter practice your reflection skills to monitor your performance in the group. Keep good notes for your paper.

Outline for this paper:

Section 1: A section on the âBig Ideasâ about collaboration (from the Deliberation paper and other sources if desired).Section 2: A reflection on your experiences in your Professional Learning Group. Include the norms your group developed, how roles were assigned and which roles you held and how you found these roles and how the group âlookedâ when you held different roles. You should also note which skills, what knowledge, and what dispositions you worked on and improved as a result of this course. Attendance should be noted, specific contributions you made to the Professional Learning Group, examples of the different roles you filled, examples of what you shared with the large group, and other examples of your contributions are appropriate for you to include in this paper. If there were conflicts reflect on what caused them, how they were handled and what you learned about avoiding or healing conflict in future groups you will be in.

Section 3: Discuss how this experience will inform your participation in other professional work groups. Be as specific as you can.

Section 4: Make some comments on how you might use small groups in your classroom if you were a teacher or instructor. Comment on how you would teach group skills to your students and how you plan to monitor how each student group is functioning as a learning community.

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