Dolly Edwards: Groups key at New TechPublished 9:55pm Thursday, May 17, 2012
One thing that sets Niles New Tech apart from a traditional high school environment is group work. Learners work together on almost every project.
Groups can be determined by a random draw, by test scores and even by the learners’ last names. Once the group members are determined, the learners sign a group contract. The contract is a simple arrangement that is used to keep the learners accountable and proactive.
When students are involved in group work, they can have a good time and get their work done. Interaction is required, and students often are introduced to people with whom they don’t always socialize. The students’ work ethic is also improved, because their work doesn’t just affect themselves anymore. If they don’t get their parts done, it brings down the entire group. Nobody wants that on his or her conscience.
Group work isn’t always positive. Many ﬁnd themselves stuck in a group where they cannot seem to get along with some of the members. Not all of the learners pull their weight on projects.
Learners create steps of intervention in their group contracts to help keep everyone accountable, but they aren’t always followed as strictly as they should be. Some are afraid to offend.
Group work isn’t for everyone, but that’s one of the things Niles New Tech is trying to change.
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