In this video, the presenters explained the values and challenges presented by using group activities, projects, and presentations to teach students. They utilize many different methods at many different skill and age levels.  These techniques may be used to the benefit of all students, but there are some associated risks with the associated techniques if not utilized properly. Despite these inherent risks, groups, projects, and presentations have the potential to greatly improve students.

The value of group work for students of all ages is immense. At every level it helps students form social skills that will prove invaluable as they make their way through the education system, and in the world beyond that. These social skills will help them to communicate ideas with peers, work together to meet a common goal, and to paraphrase what one child said in the film, “When we put all our ideas in together, we create something greater than the sum of our parts. ” Because of these things, group work can help to make students of all ages better learners and better people. There are inherent risks with utilizing these group techniques, such as students being off task and having the rest of their group need to pick up the extra work. However, by delegating exactly what students are expected to do, within reason for the age group, these group techniques should be successful.

Projects can be utilized to help students gain a myriad of skills and techniques that they will be able to utilize to better their future. Being able to make a personal investment is an important part of projects, as the greater the amount of interest garnered from students, the more permanent their understanding of the topic will be. Also, by being able to perform all the work necessary for the project, students will gain a greater degree of understanding provided by some traditional assignments. Some students may benefit greatly from project techniques where they might flounder otherwise. Not only that, but these projects will aid students in delegating responsibilities such as time management, organization, and being able to accurately communicate ideas to their peers.

It is important for student to learn presentation skills. These skills will help them become more confident in their future endeavors. It will also help them communicate ideas to their peers. This idea is so important in all these activities. In emphasizing this communication among peers, the students will be able to communicate in a variety of settings that may be outside their comfort zone and the scope of their knowledge. However, being able to properly function in these settings will give students an ability that will aid them through their educational careers and beyond.

Group, projects, and presentations are great techniques that make a permanent impact on a student’s learning. By having them connect with the material, other students, and their audience students are bettering themselves and learning great skills for the future. The onus is on the teacher to properly utilize these techniques in a way that will be beneficial to all students, regardless of age or skill.

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Philip Beadle was an interesting teacher that had many ideas and techniques to aid in student assesment.  He earned teacher of the year in his country, and the video really supported that honor. Many of the methods he utilized in his class challenged his students and helped them form logical connections that assisted them in deeply understanding the topics they were studying.

One of the most interesting methods he utilized in his class was argument tennis. Students were required to read a text, and form arguments based on one perspective from that particular text. They then presented their arguments to their peers, either face to face in pairs, or in a forum with representatives elected to argue a specific viewpoint. By using this method, Beadle encourages students to colloborate and hear alternative viewpoints. It also encourages students to critically think about the information they’ve digested and utilized their own particular viewpoints to inform an argument with or against their classmates. For Beadle, this provies many opportunities to check for understanding as at the various steps in this lesson, he would be able to check individual understanding through face to face arguments, and also group understanding through the forum debates.

Link: http://www.teachers.tv/videos/a-lesson-from-the-best

Writing is an important assessment tool that should be utilized when checking for understanding. From very early in a student’s curriculum reading stays an important focus in their education. By being able to properly communicate by writing effectively, students will be able to properly transmit their ideas in a medium that their peers can understanding. It is important that teachers utilize this method to properly assess student’s understanding as writing can be used in a variety of situations to convey ideas that students and teachers would have trouble using in a variety of other settings. By using these techniques students could properly be able to communicate narratives, informative essays, and persuasive writing. By assessing these methods, teachers can learn a great deal about how much students understand. There are many methods that also utilize group interaction to help students express ideas to other students, and then reform any errors or make improvements based on another student’s perspective. This method of  Reading the associated text or knowledge base, Writing about what they’ve gained through it and understand about it, Pairing up to share their ideas, and then Sharing them with each other proves beneficial as it allows students to properly assess their own success, but also helps the teacher assess how well they understand the topic. Writing is an important tool for assessment, but it can be misused as a punishment. In this way, the students do not gain understanding and have issues with properly expressing what they understand. This doesn’t help the teachers check for understanding, and it doesn’t help the students learn.

The RAFT approach to checking for understanding is an interesting method. It helps students identify key topics in a piece of writing by identifying them in easy to understand, broad terms. By properly associating the Role of the writer, the writer’s Audience, the Format the author is writing in, and the Topic of the piece, students can understand many of the key points in a piece of writing and be able to communicate their understanding to the teacher.