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Making students work with students they don't like

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by atics, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. My general philosophy is that if I want 2 students to work together, they get on with it regardless of whether they are friends/like each other/whatever.
    With most groups/students this is fine and even if they don't like it, they get on with it. Especially younger years.
    But year 10/11 are so entrenched in their friendship groups that if I ever ask them to work with a different student, they can sometimes kick off and refuse. I have thus far taken a zero tolerance approach, suggesting that everybody has to work with people not of their choosing, and it's a fact of life so deal with it.
    Am I being unreasonable? Are they at an age where making them work in this sort of situation can cause real stress?
  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    My daughter is sick of having her work ruined by ignorant and lazy practical partners who take no interest.
  3. To do this you need to get a reputation of having a seating plan and the students have to know you expect them to be professional. I find that it works better if you give the students very clear directions of what they are doing in their group. Team member 1 collects X, Y Z and sets up apparatus A, then times B when team member B does N, O and P. Etc. Lots of planning!
  4. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    I agree to a certain extent. I have strict seating plans and make students carry out lab work with the person sat next to them but I shuffle the seating plans around every 1/2 term or so. Equally, if I had two students with serious issues with each other (two of my Yr 11s are sending abusive texts to each other outside of school) I would make sure that they did not sit near each other
  5. bigpedro

    bigpedro New commenter

    Make students who don't get on work together. Fine, as long as you can manage it.
    Personally, however i'd question the mixing of abilities as a way to "drag the less able up" every action has an equal and opposite reaction. therefore it quite often means that the more able get dragged down...
    phlogiston said it best...
    This is the side nobody ever considers, why would a decent, hard working student want to work with a pleb? and what benefit does the nicer student get from the relationship?
    Oh but wait.... every child doesn't matter, only the underachievers do!

  6. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    I can still remember that awful sick feeling at having to sit next to a really horrid boy or bitchy girl because the teacher thought it was good for us. Well it wasn't. I'm pretty good at getting along with people but if there is someone I really can't stand I avoid them, and that's as easy in the work place as anywhere else. There are strategies. Forcing a nice child to sit with a horrid/lazy/disruptive/smelly one is just plain mean.
  7. Whatever you do, be consistent. If they know that they have to get on with the partner you pick for them, for the few minutes it takes to complete the work then they will get on & do it - somehow - especially if they know that the work is important.
    Like another poster above, I have a seating plan that changes each half term so they know that they will only get to work with that partner for half a term. If I spot or get to hear of any serious problems I make sure that the two people do not sit together in a future plan. I do not change the current plan to accommodate friendship issues & I tell them this at the start, explaining that future life is often about working successfully with people "who have a different style of working to you" and that I have to report on how they cope with this in their reports.
    It generally works - although I have had to intervene a couple of times (one Y8 & one Y12) to remind a couple of pairs of pupils that they look as if they are not working well as a team.

  8. Does that mean the smelly child has to sit in a room on his or her own?

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