Summer 2007 - Volume 10 Number 3
|Reviews||Learning in Groups: A Handbook for face-to-face and online environments. 4th ed.
London: Routledge, 2007
This new edition of a book published originally in 1984 provides an excellent resource for college teachers eager to make the best use of small group learning in the postsecondary environment. British educational consultant David Jaques is joined on this edition by Gilly Salmon, well-known specialist and author on e-learning. The early chapters provide a thorough review of current literature related to group functioning from a variety of theoretical perspectives, and apply these theories to both face-to-face and e-learning groups. The latter half of the book provides recommendations for a wide variety of group tasks, including suggestions for ensuring communication, enabling group interaction, supporting collaboration, and assessing group work. Finally, the authors provide ten case studies that illustrate the ideas in action, plus a terminal chapter of very detailed group exercise templates.
This text is very comprehensive and the theory offered may exceed the needs of the beginning teacher, who may find the more practical chapters of more immediate interest. However, it also provides the depth of scholarship sometimes missing from “how-to” teaching manuals.
The balance of application to both face-to-face and online environments serves to support the admirable notion that group work tasks, challenges, and, often, solutions are common regardless of the teaching environment. In addition, the authors stress that effective group dialogue can be supported online, and provide practical suggestions for how to manage this.
This book contains a wealth of information, and is not a quick read. Nevertheless, the teacher dedicated to implementing successful group learning either in the f2f or online classroom will find much here to consider and explore.
Ruth Rodgers is Curriculum Consultant, Applied Research, Innovation, and University Partnerships at Fanshawe College, London, Ontario; she can be reached at: RRodgers@fanshawec.ca
The views expressed by the authors are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of The College Quarterly or of Seneca College.
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