Uncooperative Students

Questions or discussion about Kagan theory, research, or implementing Kagan in your classroom.
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Uncooperative Students

Post by kmoj » Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:58 am

Does anybody have any advice on how to deal with students who prefer not to work in collaborative learning groups? I have had students in the past who will refuse to communicate with their group members.

Jackie Minor
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Post by Jackie Minor » Tue Feb 19, 2008 2:52 pm

It is always important to start with teambuilding so that students can build that relationship with their teammates. Many of them may have not had good experiences in the past so you may have to do a little extra teambuilding. Also, be very selective about who you put in the uncooperative student's team. Make sure they are teammates that are very easy to get along with and that a lot of kids in the class like. Another strategy is to meet one-on-one with the student just to get to know him/her. In Win-Win we call this a Same Side Chat. Just spend some time with the student to get to know them. Don't try and talk about school issues. Just get to know them. It doesn't have to take long but make sure the student knows you don't want to talk about school...just them. Sometimes uncooperative students just need to know someone cares.

Keep in mind that these students may not become cooperative over night so celebrate little victories. We are doing them favors by helping them learn to work with others.

Good Luck!


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be a leader

Post by MissJenny » Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:32 am

How about "nominating" the student to be a leader of the group? This will allow the student to feel a sense of being needed in the group and to allow the student to feel that others are counting on the student. In addition, going over guidelines on what a leader does and does not do will be helpful too.

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Post by kkonrad » Sun Mar 16, 2008 9:47 am

I suppose it depends on WHY this student doesn't want to work with others? Supposing you are building relationships with the student as well as using team and classbuilders, I have found something that has worked wonders in my room this year. FYI - I teach 3rd grade.
We have "Safe Seats" in our room that students can choose to work at or I can send them if they are causing a problem for themselves or someone else. At each safe spot I have a pad of paper and pencil. I tell them that they will need to write out all of their answers so I can visit with them later. It didn't take long at all for them to realize they didn't want to do this and would rather get to do structures at their teams. They hate missing out on all of the talking and fun that comes with learning this way. This also helps them to realize that I am not rearranging groups because they simply choose not to get along. This is often a very new concept for many of them.
Once again, I don't know your particular kiddos or situation, but keep plugging away and they'll come around! I have been amazed at the differences in my more challenging students now that I use true CL!
I would also stongly recommend daily class meetings.
Good luck,

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Post by Slyphoenix » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:13 pm

I like the idea of nominated a group leader. Give a specific task to each member of the group, that way if anyone does not cooperate, it does not effect every student in the group in such a drastic way. Hold each student accountable.

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Post by tgleason » Wed May 07, 2008 12:08 pm

I'm sure you've tried this...but I always reward the group who worked best together after doing a Kagan activity. The students feel some peer pressure to participate. I know that there are still some students who could care less, and in that case giving individual rewards for a job well done works too...especially if that one student is always keeping their table group from receiving a reward.

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Post by whudson » Mon May 12, 2008 10:43 am

I have tried the reward theory and found that it works well. I have also made the students responsible for different tasks within the group through step on a project which means they don't move on until that person does their part. Many times this gets those students going because they don't want to let the others down. Not always but most of the time!