Some time ago, while taking a
certificate with Laureate Faculty Development on Working Adult Students (WASs),
I was triggered with two burning
questions that gave me some good time to think and consider ways to deal with
group management and this implies:
oWhat would you call group management
oWhat are your thoughts on the students'
the following blog entry, I have tried to summarize my own thoughts regarding
group management either in a face-to-face environment or in a virtual scenario.
And I just hope that this can provoke more thinking on the potential reader of
these ideas of mine.
on my expertise with WASs, group management strategies can be
defined as basic principles that need to be followed in other to have or
exercise control over a group or team of individuals. Group management implies
the use of leadership techniques that
allows any instructor to deal with disruptive behaviors but also to minimize
the off-task, non-disruptive behaviors we can have in F2F classrooms or VLEs.
whether they are the traditional kind or the WASs, need to be “controlled”
though they may find certain sections of a lesson rather slow or boring because
of their empirical expertise they could have gained at work. Understanding the
cognitive load students have (their capacity to process and retain information
for later tasks) can be of great use to have them focus their attention on the
instructor’s explanations while one is lecturing, while watching a video
tutorial and applying what is being demonstrated, and so on.
individual learners or groups of students is another way to exercise one’s
group management as instructors. If the learners are or not in class, this can
be done beyond any doubt; in a F2F classroom this is done by means of scaffolding,
but in a VLE this is done by collaborating on Google Drive, exempli gratia, with a group and see
what they are achieving and/or not completing yet. No matter what kind of
management control is needed, it must be wisely combined with a good use of
leadership techniques and strategies. Making learners aware of their
responsibility towards their own learning is part of the leadership needed to
help them collaborate or to assist an instructor to scaffold students.
and group management are not the full extent of the equation needed to have
successful learners; motivation is part of this formula. Comprehending that
there are various types of motivation is crucial; the Andragogical instructor
must bear this in mind at all times. There are intrinsic learners, who do not need to get motivated much, since
they come to class with a strong desire to learn and continue building their
knowledge and then be more functional at work. We also have students who are
motivation is connected with the goals that must be achieved by learners to
have access to certain perks or positions at work; lacking the proper education
in a given area is something counterproductive for this kind of WASs. More
traditional students are extrinsically motivated with grades or other kind of
academic rewards. And still there is another type of student who is at the
university because of some kind of instrumental
motivation: the chance to have access to certain benefits or perks that can
only be attained if certain educational qualifications have been accomplished.
matter what kind of motivation is driving learners’ interests, it is important
to notice when this is absent from one’s students. Lacking motivation means
that an individual is not really interested in course content and in the
development of skills and competencies needed at work. This kind of off-task
behavior is counterproductive for both teachers and students. The learning process
is then affected and it does not take place as a consequence. The leader
teacher needs to exercise his/her motivating power to re-focus learners and
help them go back on track and on task to keep developing themselves as
students, as workers, and as individuals.
sum up, to achieve group management needs some very basic and essential
oUnderstanding the scope of student cognitive
load to process and retain information,
oStudent progress monitoring via
collaboration or scaffolding (depending on the teaching scenario the instructor
is involved), and
oThe type of motivation driving force that is
pushing students to learn.
have no doubt that this shallow list can be greatly expanded, but it can be
used as a starting point for anyone interested in managing groups of working
Monday, January 09, 2017
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