Students identify what helped and what hindered the quality of learning and whether certain behaviors had a positive or negative effect. Using a wide range of procedures in the reflection and analysis process keeps group processing vital and interesting.
It is very important for each group member to receive positive feedback for reflection. This can be done by: having each group focus on one member at a time, having members write a positive comment about each team mate on a card, and having students comment on the proper use of social skills (“I appreciate you when you did…”, “I really liked when you…”) (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1998).
After observing the cooperative groups, the teacher can either give direct feedback or show students the data and have them reach conclusions. When summarizing observation data (charts, observation forms), teachers should encourage students to set personal goals designed to improve their effectiveness within the group. This could be achieved by asking a number of questions inviting self-reflection:
“What actions did you engage in most and least?
What actions were more and least appropriate and helpful under the circumstances? (for example, summarizing right after someone else summarized may be inappropriate and unhelpful)
What actions would have helped the group work more effectively? Decide on a personal goal to increase your effectiveness and share it with the other group members” (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1998).
When there is not enough time to reflect or there is no observational data to use (charts, observation forms collected by teacher or observers), the teacher can: a). give group members 60 seconds to identify 3 things other team mates did to help others learn, b). give students a set of questions about the effective use of skills (“How did other group members energize the group?”), or c). include a group-processing question on the assignment sheet. In addition, each group should place a processing summary into its completed academic work folder that is handed into the teacher at the end of each class session (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1998).
Johnson, D., Johnson, R.& Holubec, E. (1998).Cooperation in the classroom. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.