Wednesday, April 7, 2010

No grades and Group work

I have had a number of people comment or e-mail me asking how I conduct and assess group work if I have no grades. I have a true story for you to read. Take a look:

Elements of Control

When it comes to group work there is no complaining, whining or competing over grades in my classroom because their are no grades to fight over. Instead of my students seeing each other as obstacles to their own success, they see each other as collaborators. Rather than competing over grades, my students collaborate over their learning.

After reading my story, do you see how the real problem is not that Samantha gain proper credit, or that she be overly concerned about her own learning? 
 
She was learning.
 
She knew it.
 
I knew it.
 
Her partner was not learning as much as her.
 
She knew it.
 
I knew it.
 
Hell, even her partner knew it.
 
This is where real character education is born. I provide Samantha with an extrinsic-free learning enviornment, so she can spend less time worrying about her own learning and competing for her own share of the grade-pie, and spend more time thinking of others. This is all very cool because while she is stressing less over her own learning and helping others, she is bettering her own learning.
 
Competition is a zero-sum game.
 
Collaboration grows learning exponentially. We all win.
 
Words can not properly express how mind-blowingly different this environment is compared to the school you and I experienced.

For more on abolishing grades, take a look at this page.

5 comments:

  1. There is no question in my mind that you are right.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love the way you are thinking. Dreaming of making what could be into what is real for my students -- it is challenging but satisfying work.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think you would like this:
    http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/grade-game

    ReplyDelete
  4. I totally disagree in that there is no whining or complaining in group work. I've had kids come to me and complain to me that in other classes they have had so many group assignments that they aren't learning anything. I've seen again and again kids hating group work and begging me to work alone. It often creates anxiety if some kids are doing all the work and others none, and also some keen kids like to take control of everything and others don't get a chance.
    Calgary teacher

    ReplyDelete
  5. I totally disagree in that there is no whining or complaining in group work. I've had kids come to me and complain to me that in other classes they have had so many group assignments that they aren't learning anything. I've seen again and again kids hating group work and begging me to work alone. It often creates anxiety if some kids are doing all the work and others none, and also some keen kids like to take control of everything and others don't get a chance.
    Calgary teacher

    ReplyDelete

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