Teaching a variety of skills/literacies

Discuss modes of participation, preferences and roles explicitly in the group to increase awareness of diversity and how different approaches can enhance the learning process. Make learners more aware of different roles in all assignments and let them test unfamiliar roles.

Work on developing a mix of skills: listening, deep reading, analysis, collaboration, reflection etc. Learning involves all of these and all should be practiced by all learners during the course.

  • Introvert learners can contribute to collaborative tasks by writing summaries of group discussions, providing input to discussions by writing outlines of the main discussion points etc.
  • Invite the extrovert learners to be silent observers from time to time and be responsible for summarising the discussion afterwards. This would make create space for the more silent learners to take the floor and learn how to actively contribute.
  • Assign tasks that focus on reading longer texts and drawing conclusions from them. Introverts can often be best at this and can be a role model for the rest of the group.
  • Activities like creating collaborative mindmaps (using tools like Mindmeister or Coggle) from an article or to describe a complex theory can also focus on reading and reflecting.
  • Learner blogs is an excellent way to promote reflection and meta-cognitive skills.
  • If the study groups are large consider pair work where the silent learners get more space to work.
  • Before a synchronous group discussion ask everyone to spend five minutes or so to write down their ideas on the topic. This must be done in silence and forces everyone to reflect before speaking. This could be repeated halfway through the discussion with a new question that invites them to reflect on what has been said so far.
  • A variation on the above is to start with individual silent reflection on a topic, then discussion in pairs and finally an open discussion. This gives everyone the chance to get warmed up.