How to implement interactive groups

4.A. Try it: Designing an Interactive Group session

After reading all about Interactive Groups in the Learn about it section, now it is your turn!

Here are six important steps that will help you design and develop an Interactive Group session in your classroom:


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Set the goal of the IG session

It is very important to define the objective of our IG session. In most cases IGs are designed to review or reinforce contents worked at a specific didactic unit. Nevertheless, this classroom organization can be used to introduce a new content provided students have previous knowledge of the topic.


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Design the activities

The type of activities designed for each session of interactive groups will depend on the final goal of such session: introduce a topic, review or reinforce some contents, etc... However, all of them will endeavor to provoke interactions between the students and students and volunteers; and switch collective type tasks with other of an individual nature.

Some examples of activities could be: classifying, comparing, using the interactive whiteboard, watching a video on a computer an answer a series of questions, true/false activities, art & craft activities, problem solving, collaborative reading, jig saw activities, designing a poster collectively, organizing a text, making an experiment, etc.


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Contact volunteers

Volunteers are an essential part of an IG session. In some schools a Comission is created in order to organize the attendance of volunteers. This comission consists of some teachers and parents who, under the supervision of the principal, make the calls in advance according to the calendar and timing set by the teachers.


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Train volunteers

It is important that volunteers receive training before taking part in an interactive groups session. The teacher who carries out the activity will explain the different tasks and will offer some guidance on what their role in the classroom will be, providing strategies to favour peer interaction such as:

  • Strategies to make the activity understandable.
  • Strategies for everyone to participate in the activities.
  • Strategies to promote argumentation and reflective thinking.
  • Strategies to favour peer learning, peer support and solidarity.


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Develop the IG session

During the IG session the tutor is not responsible for any group, but coordinates and observes the whole class, solving doubts or problems that may arise in the groups or with volunteers. He or she takes the times, and oversees the general development of the session.


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Assess the IG session

The assessment of an IG session must be organized in three levels:

  • With the volunteers:
    • Was there any problem?
    • Did all students cooperate and participate?
    • Were the activities well designed?
    • Do they have any suggestion?
  • With the students:
    • Did they find the activities interesting?
    • Did they have opportunities to participate?
    • Did they collaborate with their classmates?
    • Were volunteers useful?
  • Self-assessment as a teacher:
    • Were the activities well designed?
    • Did the activities serve their purpose?
    • Was the time devoted to the activities enough?
    • How did the groups work?
    • Did volunteers know what to do and how?
    • The noise level in the classroom, was it appropriate? (pedagogical noise).