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A study on the teacher’s roles in group work in communicative language teaching at phuc tho high school, hanoi

VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HA NOI
UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
FACULTY OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES

------

NGUYỄN THỊ THU HUYỀN

A STUDY ON THE TEACHER’S ROLES IN GROUP WORK
IN COMMUNICATIVE LANGUAGE TEACHING
AT PHUC THO HIGH SCHOOL,HANOI
(Nghiên cứu vai trò của giáo viên trong hoạt động nhóm
ở lớp học giao tiếp ở trường THPT Phúc Thọ, Hà Nội )

M.A. MINOR PROGRAMME THESIS

Field: English Teaching Methodology
Code: 60140111

Hanoi - 2016



VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HA NOI
UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
FACULTY OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES

------

NGUYỄN THỊ THU HUYỀN

A STUDY ON THE TEACHER’S ROLES IN GROUP WORK
IN COMMUNICATIVE LANGUAGE TEACHING
AT PHUC THO HIGH SCHOOL, HANOI
(Nghiên cứu vai trò của giáo viên trong hoạt động nhóm
ở lớp học giao tiếp ở trường THPT Phúc Thọ, Hà Nội )

M.A. MINOR PROGRAMME THESIS

Field: English Teaching Methodology
Code: 60140111
Supervisor: Assoc.Prof. Dr. Nguyễn Xuân Thơm

Hanoi - 2016


DECLARATION

I, Nguyen Thi Thu Huyen, declare that this thesis is my own research for the
Degree of Master of Arts at the University of Languages and International Studies,
Vietnam National University, Hanoi and that this thesis has not been submitted for
any degree at any other university or institution.

Hanoi,2016

Nguyễn Thi Thu
Huyề n
̣

i



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

First and foremost, I would like to express special thanks to my supervisor
Assoc.Pro.Dr. Nguyễn Xuân Thơm for revising my thesis, for his valuable advice,
kind and helpful attitude and considerable assistance that he provided me
throughout the study.
I am also greatly indebted to all the lecturers at the Faculty of PostGraduate Studies, University of Languages and International Studies, Vietnam
National University, Hanoi, for their useful lectures which played an important role
in the completion of my thesis.
Finally, I wish to thank all my friends and colleagues for their support during
the process of writing this paper.

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ABSTRACT

One of the techniques of communicative language teaching is group work,
which provides a chance for social interaction. Group work is one of the possible
solutions of the problem how to get all students to speak in language lessons. The
teachers sometimes have a tendency to interrupt students when they are speaking
together during group work activity. The students do not feel comfortable with the
interventions. This research was carried out to investigate the roles of teacher and
the behaviors of the tenth-grade students to these roles in group work activities in
communicative language teaching at Phuc Tho high school, Hanoi.
The data for this research was collected through the observation of some
communicative classes in grade 10 and in the forms of survey questionnaire for the
tenth-grade students at Phuc Tho high schoool. The findings of the research
revealed that the teacher plays most roles in all stages of group work, the students
like to work with their friends, arranging weak students and strong students into
groups is very helpful, most of the students want to practise speaking English in class
without the teacher‟s control, the teacher needs to be sensitive when interrupting group
work communication and the teacher should always available and only interrupt
students‟ work when they ask for support.
It is hoped that this thesis will help other teachers of English to make use of
their roles appropriately in group work activities, to help students learn best in
groups and to take all advantages of the group work under their arrangement.

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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
CLT: Communicative Language Teaching

LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES
Table 1: Teacher‟s roles during the activity Interview and Report ..........................24
Table 2: Students‟ behavior in the activity Interview and Report ............................24
Table 3: Teacher‟s roles during the activity Discussion ...........................................26
Table 4: Students‟ behavior in the activity Discussion .............................................26
Table 5: Teacher‟s roles during the activity Verb Review game ..............................28
Table 6: Students‟ behavior in the activity Verb Review Game ..............................28
Table 7: Teacher‟s roles during the activity Picnic Planning ...................................30
Table 8: Students‟ behavior in the activity Picnic Planning .....................................31
Table 9: Teacher‟s roles during the activity Name the Place ...................................33
Table 10: Students‟ behavior in the activity Name the Place ...................................33
Table 11: Teacher‟s roles during the activity Movie Review ....................................35
Table 12: Students‟ behavior in the activity Movie Review .....................................35
Table 13: Teacher‟s roles during the stages of group work activities 1-6 ................36
Figure 1: The students‟ interest in work arrangement ..............................................37
Figure 2: The students‟ preference with the change of the partners .........................38
Figure 3: The students‟ preference with group formation ........................................39
Figure 4: The students‟ choice of the partners ..........................................................39
Figure 5: The students‟ preference with the teacher‟s control ..................................40
Figure 6: The students‟ feelings when the teacher corrects all of the mistakes ........41
Figure 7: The students‟ choice of the supporter ........................................................41
Figure 8: The students‟ preference with speaking English without the teacher‟s
control........................................................................................................................42
Figure 9: The student‟s interest in the teacher‟s participation ..................................43
Figure 10: Learning by speaking with the partners who make a lot of mistakes......43

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

DECLARATION ........................................................................................................ i
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.......................................................................................... ii
ABSTRACT .............................................................................................................. iii
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................................................................... iv
LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES ......................................................................... iv
TABLE OF CONTENTS ............................................................................................v
PART A: INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................1
1. Rationale .............................................................................................................1
2. Aims of the study ................................................................................................1
3. Significance of the study ....................................................................................2
4. Research questions .............................................................................................2
5. Method of the study .............................................................................................2
6. Scope of the study ................................................................................................2
7. Design of the study ..............................................................................................3
PART B: DEVELOPMENT .......................................................................................5
CHAPTER I – LITERATURE REVIEW...............................................................5
I.1. Communicative language teaching (CLT) ........................................................5
I.1.1. An overview of communicative language teaching (CLT) ........................5
I.1.2. Communicative activities ............................................................................6
I.1.2.1. Definition of communicative activities: ...............................................6
I.1.2.2. Types of communicative activities .......................................................7
I.2. Group work ........................................................................................................8
I.2.1. Definition of group work ............................................................................8
I.2.2. Difference between group work and pair work ..........................................8
I.2.3. The organization of group work .................................................................9
I.2.3.1. The formation .......................................................................................9
I.2.3.2. Group size ...........................................................................................10

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I.2.3.3. Procedures for group work .................................................................11
I.2.4. Advantages and disadvantages of group work..........................................12
I.2.4.1.Advantages of group work ..................................................................12
I.2.4.2. Disadvantages of group work. ............................................................14
I.3. The roles of a teacher ......................................................................................14
I.3.1. The roles of teacher during group work ....................................................14
I.3.2. Teacher positioning in the classroom .......................................................15
CHAPTER II - METHODOLOGY ......................................................................17
II.1. The setting of the study ..................................................................................17
II.2. Methodology ..................................................................................................17
II.2.1. The description of participants and methods ...........................................18
II.2.2. Description of the activities .....................................................................19
II.2.2.1. Activity 1: Interview and Report .......................................................19
II.2.2.2. Activity 2: Discussion .......................................................................20
II.2.2.3. Activity 3: Verb Review Game .........................................................21
II.2.2.4. Activity 4: Picnic Planning ...............................................................21
II.2.2.5. Activity 5: Name the Place................................................................22
II.2.2.6. Activity 6: Movie Review .................................................................22
II.2.3. Observations ............................................................................................22
II.2.3.1. Observation 1: Interview and Report ................................................23
II.2.3.2. Observation 2: Discussion .................................................................25
II.2.3.3. Observation 3: Verb Review Game ..................................................27
II.2.3.4. Observation 4: Picnic Planning .........................................................29
II.2.3.5. Observation 5: Name the Place .........................................................31
II.2.3.6. Observation 6: Movie Review...........................................................34
CHAPTER III – FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION ..............................................36
III.1. Findings from observations ..........................................................................36
III.2. The analyses of the questionnaires for students ...........................................37
PART C: CONCLUSION ........................................................................................45

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I. Summary.............................................................................................................45
II. Concluding remarks ..........................................................................................45
III. Limitations of the study ...................................................................................46
IV. Suggestions for further studies ........................................................................47
REFERENCES ..........................................................................................................48
APPENDIXS…………………………………………………………………….......I

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PART A: INTRODUCTION
1. Rationale
As far as we know, in recent years there have been number of exciting
developments in language teaching. These developments are sometimes referred to
as communicative language teaching (CLT). According to Nolasco and Arthur
(1988) a greater emphasis on activities in which students have chance to determine
what they want to say independently on the teacher is among the most important
features of CLT. The problem of getting students to express themselves freely in the
foreign language has come to prominence.
One of the techniques of communicative language teaching is group work, which
provides a chance for social interaction. Group work is a class management strategy
and the role of the teacher has to play while teaching is of a facilitator. Teacher‟s
role in group work is very difficult and at the same time it is very important role,
too. Groups of some students can be formed to solve a problem or pose a question.
The teacher can organize these groups at any time in a class of any size to check on
the students‟ understanding of the material, to give students an opportunity to apply
what they are learning, or to provide a change of pace.
I have chosen the topic of group work for my thesis since it is one of the possible
solutions of the problem how to get all students to speak in language lessons. I often
use this way of interaction in my teaching, but I sometimes have a tendency to
interrupt students when they are speaking together during group work activity. I
have noticed that they do not feel comfortable with my interventions. That is why I
decide to observe students‟ behavior to find out how this is changing with various
teacher‟s roles. My main aim is to find out what teachers actually do in various
stages of group work and what are students‟ perception and reactions to teacher‟s
roles. I will observe my own classroom to examine how many roles the teacher has
during one stage of an activity.
2. Aims of the study
The purpose of this research is to find out the roles of teacher in group work
activities in class and students‟ behaviors to the teacher‟s roles in order to obtain

1


valid information regarding the effective use of group work under teacher‟s
management, so as to bring innovation in class. The focus is on group work in
English language classes.
The specific purpose of the study was to:
-

evaluate

the

different

roles

of

teacher

in

group

work

activities.

- find out the behaviors of the students towards the teacher‟s roles in some group
work activities.
3. Significance of the study
The findings of the study would be much beneficial to teachers of English who are
considering how to make use of their roles appropriately in group work activities,
how to help students learn best in groups and how to take all advantages of the
group work under their arrangement.
4. Research questions
The study aims to answer the following research questions:
(i) What are the roles of teacher in group work in grade 10 at Phuc Tho
high school?
(ii) What are behaviors of 10th grade students at PhucTho high school
toward the teacher‟s roles in implementing group work activities?
5. Method of the study
In order to achieve the purpose of the study, both qualitative and quantitative
methods will be used. Class observation will be carried out with the detailed notes
about students‟ behaviors about the teacher‟ roles during the process of
implementing six group work activities. In addition, a survey questionnaire will be
delivered to get result from 120 students who are chosen randomly from the tenthgrade classes at Phuc Tho high school. All comments, remarks, recommendations
and conclusion will be carefully considered based on the data analysis.
6. Scope of the study
The study is designed to find out the roles of teacher and the tenth-grade students'
behaviors about the roles of teacher in group work in communicative language

2


teaching at PhucTho high school. Within the framework of a minor thesis, the
researcher only intends to draw a brief overview of the roles of teacher and the
tenth-grade students' behaviors about the roles of teacher in group work at PhucTho
high school. Also, due to the time constraints, this study only involves a small
number of students in the tenth grade at PhucTho high school.
7. Structure of the study
The thesis is composed of three main parts:
Part A – Introduction: In this part the rationale, the aims, the research questions,
the scope, the method, and the design of the study are presented.
Part B – Development: This part is divided in to three chapters.
Chapter I: Literature Review
This chapter presents the theoretical background for the study. It mentions the
concepts of communicative language teaching and group work. It also makes
clearly the difference between group work and pair work and lists common forms of
group work. I point out to organizing group work activities in the classroom
including ways of grouping students and appropriate positions of teacher. In this
chapter, I also deal with the role of teacher during group work which is also the
main subject of the next chapter.
Chapter II: Methodology
There are two parts in this major chapter of the study. In the first part I give
information about the setting of the study. The second part I describe the
participants, the data collection methods and data analysis procedure. In details, I
divide the second part of my thesis into three sections. In the first section, I describe
the participants and methods. In the second section I introduce the activities which I
used for the research. The third section deals with the observations of six group
work activities. Its main aim is to focus on different teacher‟s roles in group work
and to observe students‟ behaviors towards the teacher‟s intervention during the
course of group work activity.

3


Chapter III: Findings and Discussion
This chapter presents some main findings from the observations and students‟
questionnaire and the relevant discussion.
Part C – Conclusion
This part summarizes the study, states the concluding remarks, the limitation
of the research and offers suggestions for further research.

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PART B: DEVELOPMENT
CHAPTER I – LITERATURE REVIEW
I.1. Communicative language teaching (CLT)
I.1.1. An overview of communicative language teaching (CLT)
Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) is the most influential language teaching
methodology in the world. It emerged in the 1970s and 1980s and is currently the
most favorite and the most widely-used method in English language classes . Since
the introduction of communicative language teaching in the late 1970s, there have
been a variety of definitions and ideas about CLT.
Among the available definitions, the one given by Nunan (1989) seems to be the
most widely-accepted and the most favorable one."CLT views language as a system
for the expressions of meaning. Activities involve oral communication, carrying out
meaning tasks and using language, which is meaningful to the learners. Objectives
reflect the needs of the learner including functional skills as well as linguistic
objectives ". Nunan also asserts that in communication process, learners
are negotiators and integrators whereas teachers are facilitators. Language is not
simply a system of rules. It is now generally seen "as a dynamic resource for the
creation of meaning" (Nunan, 1989). This point of view really supports CLT.
Richards and Rodgers (1986) consider CLT as an approach rather than a method
which comprises two sets of theories: assumption of what to teach, and assumption
of how to teach. In the first assumption, the purpose of language teaching is to
develop "communicative competence" - a basic concept in CLT. Hymes (1972)
defines “communicative competence” as “what a speaker needs to know in order to
be communicatively competent in a speech community”. According to this, CLT has
two following main aims pointed out by Richards and Rogers (1986:64):
1. To make communicative competence the goal of language teaching.
2. To develop procedures for the teaching of the four language skills that
acknowledges the interdependence of language and communication.

5


Different authors view CLT differently. However, most definitions of CLT come
under its weak version which emphasizes the importance of opportunities to use
English for communicative purposes.
approach rather than a method.

To sum up, CLT is best considered an

It is most often defined as a list of general

principles or characteristics. One of the most recognized of these lists is David
Nunan's (1991: 279) five characteristics of CLT:
- An emphasis on learning to communicate through interaction in the target
language.
- The introduction of authentic texts in to the learning situation
- The provision of opportunities for learners to focus, not only on language
but also on the learning process itself.
- An enhancement of the learner’s own personal experiences as important
contributing elements to classroom learning.
- An attempt to link classroom language learning with language activation
outside the classroom.
These characteristics will be the principles for teachers to choose to improve their
students‟ participation in communicative activities in a language classroom. Some
ideas about communicative activities will be discussed in the next section.
I.1.2. Communicative activities
I.1.2.1. Definition of Communicative activities:
Communicative activities, defined by Littlewood (1981), are those that provide
whole task practice, improve students' motivation, allow natural learning and create
a context supporting learning as well. "In communicative activities the teacher
creates a situation and sets an activity in notion, but it is the learners themselves
who are responsible for conducting the interaction to its conclusion” (Littlewood,
1981: 18). According to Harmer (1991), communicative activities are those that
give students involved desire and a purpose to communicate. Such activities are
very beneficial for students because they can do their best to use the target language
and arrive at the degree of proficiency in the end.

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I.1.2.2. Types of communicative activities
Harmer (1991) divides communicative activities into oral and written ones. Oral
activities include such categories as communication games, problem-solving,
reaching a the consensus, discussion, replaying instructions, role-play, etc. Written
communicative activities consist of writing reports and advertisements; co-operative
writing, exchanging letters, writing journals and so on.
In addition, according to Littlewood (1981), there are two main types of
communicative activities which he calls: "functional communication activities and
social interaction activities". The main purpose of the former is that learners should
use the language they know in order to get meanings across as effectively as
possible. Functional communication activities include such activities as identifying
pictures, discovering identical pairs, discovering missing information, discovering
differences, following directions and so on. The later activities are those that
emphasize on social as well as functional aspects of communication. Learners,
therefore, not only convey meanings effectively, but also, pay greater attention to
the social context in which the interaction takes place. Simulation and role-playing
are important techniques for creating a variety of social relationships and situations.
Nolasco and Athur (1993) also characterized communicative activities as follows:
- They involve using language for a purpose.
- They create a desire to communicate. This means there must be some kind of
“gap” which may be information, opinion, or reason that students seek to
bridge.
- They encourage students to be creative and contribute their ideas.
- They focus on the message and students concentrate on “what” they are
saying rather than “how” they are saying it.
- The students work independently off the teacher.
- The students determine what they want to write and say. The activity is not
designed to control what the students will.
(Nolasco and Athur 1993: 58)

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I.2. Group work
I.2.1. Definition of group work
One of the dominant ways in which the teacher can help students to practice and
develop language skills is through the use of group work. Group work has been
considered “one of the major changes to the dynamics of classroom interaction
wrought by student- centered teaching”( Nunan and Lamb, 1996: 142).
Group work is a way to organize classroom activity, where students are given a
group assignment from the teacher and where the participant‟s equality and
mutuality depends on how they engage in the group task. Group work is
customarily defined as „pupils working together as a group or a team‟ (Blatchford,
Kutnick, Baines & Catlon, 2003:155) or just “students working together in small
groups‟ (Lumpe, & Haney, 1998:123).
Adrian Doff ( 1988:137) defines group work as a process that : the teacher divides
the class into small groups to work together ( usually four or five students in each
group), all the group work at the same time.
Collaborative group work, conversely, presupposes that all group members are
involved in and working on a common task in order to produce a joint outcome
(Bennett, & Dunne, 1992; Galto, & Williamson, 1992). Collaborative group work is
characterized by a common effort and utilization of the group‟s competences,
including problem solving and reflection, in other words working as a group or
conjunctive group work (Steiner, 1972).
Clearly, group work is a co-operative activity, during which students share aims
and responsibilities, they have chances for greater independence as they take some of
their own learning decisions, without the teacher controlling every move, and they can
work without the pressure of the whole class listening to what they are doing. They learn
to negotiate, to listen to different opinions and points of view. They participate more
equally and in most cases, they feel free to experiment and use the language.
I.2.2. Difference between group work and pair work
According to CLT, pair work and group work are seen as the most common
activities in a language classroom, in which students can interact with each other,
8


and will be able to communicate in the target language. But what are the differences
between pair work and group work?
Adrian Doff (1988: 137) defined that, in pair work the teacher divides the whole
class into pairs. Every student works with his or her partner, and all the pairs work
at the same time. The definition of pair work in this case is an activity that gives
students more opportunities to practice and perform language skills.
In group work the teacher divides the class into small groups to work together. As
in pair work, all the groups work at the same time. Obviously, during group work
students share aims, responsibilities, especially independence because they can take
some of their own learning decisions without the control of the teacher. Students
can learn to negotiate, to listen to other opinions.
I.2.3. The organization of group work
I.2.3.1. The formation
We have to decide how to put individual students into groups. There are a number
of factors we might consider when doing this. According to Harmer (1999), we can
base such decision on any of the following principle:
Friendship: A key consideration when putting students in groups is to make sure
that we put friends with friends rather than risking the possibility of people working
with others whom they find difficult or unpleasant. However, our observation may
not be always accurate and friendship can change from time to time. We can also
ask students to get into groups with whom they like. But letting students choose
their partners in this way may exclude less popular students.
Streaming: Students can be streamed according to their ability.The first suggestion
is that groups should have a mixture of weaker and stronger students. Therefore, the
more able students can help their less able students.The second one is that we can
create groups in which all the student are at the same level. This may give us the
opportunity to go-to a group of weaker students and give them special help they
need. However, some of the values of cooperative work may be lost.Besides, we
can stream students on the basis of participation. Students less participating in the

9


lesson may be put together in a group. However, the teacher should observe and
support them in order to make them concentrate more on the lesson.
Chance: Students can be put in groups by chance. This is the easiest way since it
demands little pre-planning. We can have students sit next to or near each other
work in groups. Also, students can be put in groups at random based on the order of
their birthday, or some similar features such as wearing glasses, wearing black or
green, having the same occupation, etc.
Changing groups: The group may change while an activity continues. Students can
first work in groups of four, then groups of eight, or even sixteen.
Additionally, teachers can group students based on some following criteria given by
Honeyfield (1991).
Free- grouping: students make their own decision about who to work with.
Same proficiency level grouping: students of the same proficiency level are grouped
together.
Mixed proficiency level grouping: students are grouped so that each group has a
mix of proficiency levels.
Random grouping: students are located to group in some random ways on the basic
of who is sitting next to whom in the class.
Grouping based on other differences: in a mixed class, students are grouped so that
each group has a mix of some other characteristics, e.g. sex, age, nationality, mother
tongue or ethnic origin.
In short, our grouping decision is made based on a variety of factors. We can put
students in groups differently according to our own purpose or the class‟s
atmosphere or characteristic.
I.2.3.2. Group size
Group size is one thing we need to consider when getting students to form groups.
We may consider the question: “Are smaller groups better for learning than larger
ones?”

10


According to Honeyfield (1991), the smaller group is, the more “talking time‟‟ there
is for each participant. If the time available is ten minutes, each member of pair
could talk for five minutes, while each member of a group of four could talk for
only two and a half minutes (provided that the participants share the talking time
equally).
However, Honeyfield (1991) also points out that “the smaller groups are, the more
groups there are, so the teacher has more motoring to do and the less practical it is
to have groups report back to the class”.
In addition, group size can be determined by types of tasks, Moreover, for realworld tasks, “it may be necessary to have the same number of learners in a group as
would occur in real life‟‟ (Honeyfield, 1991). Thus group size is determined by the
nature of the task itself.
I.2.3.3. Procedures for group work
Harmer, J divides it in to 3 steps: before activities, during activities and after
activities.
Before: The teacher makes students feel enthusiastic about what they are going to
do. They need to understand what they are going to do, and they need to be given an
idea of when they will have finished the task they are going to get involved in.
Sometimes our instructions will involve a demonstration- when, for example,
students are going to use a new information- gap activity or when we want them to
use card. On other occasions, where an activity is familiar, we may simply give
them an instruction to practise language they are to study in groups, or to use their
dictionaries to find specific bits of information.
The important thing about instructions is that the students should understand and
agree on what the task is. To check that they do we may ask them to repeat the
instructions, or, in monolingual classes, to translate them in to their first language.
During: While students are working in groups the teachers have a number of
options. They could, for instance, stand at the front or the side of the class (or at the
back or anywhere else in the room) and keep an eye on what is happening, noting

11


who appears to be stuck or disengaged, or about to finish. In this position we can
„tune into a particular group from some distance away. The teachers can then decide
whether to go over and help that group.
An alternative procedure is to go round the class watching and listening to specific
groups. The teachers can stay (with their agreement) for a period of time and then
intervene if we think it is appropriate or necessary, always bearing in mind what we
have said about the difference between accuracy and fluency work.
When students are working in groups the teachers have an ideal opportunity to work
with individual students whom they feel would benefit from our attention. They also
have a great chance to act as observer, picking up information about students‟
progress.
After: When groups stop working together the teacher need to organize feedback.
The teachers want to let them discuss what occurred during the group session and,
where necessary, add their own assessments and make corrections.
Where group work has formed part of a practice session, our feedback may take the
form of having a few groups quickly demonstrate the language they have been
using. The teachers can then correct it, if and when necessary and this procedure
will give both those students and the rest of the class good information for future
learning and action.
Finally, it is vital to remember that constructive feedback on the content of student
work can greatly enhance students‟ future motivation. The feedback the teachers
give on language mistakes is only one part of that process.
I.2.4. Advantages and disadvantages of group work
According to Hubert Skrzynski, group work have both advantages and
disadvantages. These are mentioned below :
I.2.4.1.Advantages of group work
Group work increases the amount of student practice. When students work in
groups they have more chance to practise. Working in groups, students often feel
more willing to talk among themselves in a small group than with a teacher in a

12


large group, so that it dramatically increases the amount of talking for individual
students.
It also increases the learner's confidence. The students feel much more comfortable to
speak in a foreign language to just one or two people rather than to the whole class and
the teacher. Especially timid students, or ones who are not good at manipulating the
language yet, feel more relaxed and self-confident trying to put their language abilities
to a test during the activity and seeing how they use them.
Group work encourages students to cooperate with one another. They feel that they are
responsible for the group and for each of its members. This is widely seen during group
competitions when the students work for the benefit of the whole group. They have to
cooperate and help each other, and there is no way of escaping or avoiding the
cooperation for shy and weak students. They are all involved in the activity.
Working in groups students can learn from one another a lot. In a class there are always
weak and strong students. There can be a mixture of different ability levels in one
group. The teacher can predict which roles would be the most adequate for which
students and what they could teach their classmates, and then give them the tasks. The
students need to work together as often as it is possible to learn how to cooperate with
other people and get used to different ways of speaking in a foreign language.
Group work also develops students' fluency. The students can use the language
freely and express their opinions and thoughts without any restrictions. It is difficult
not to get the impression that fluency can be improved only during constant
speaking practice in the atmosphere of independence and in the state of relaxation.
There is a variety of available group work

activities. The more different the

activities the teacher uses during his/her lessons, the bigger their motivation towards
learning the language. It is true that in group work students' motivation increases
because they are active and feel important during these activities. In keeping with
this, the teacher is going to experience success in his/her work because motivated
students are usually good language learners and they always make progress.

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I.2.4.2. Disadvantages of group work.
Students often speak in their native language. This is difficult to eliminate if the
class is really big and consists of forty students. The teacher cannot listen to all
groups at the same time, but it does not mean that he/she is unable to do anything
about it. The teacher should establish certain rules at the beginning of the school
year and be very strict about them. After some time the good habit of speaking only
English may be established.
Another disadvantage is incorrectness. During group work the teacher usually does
not disturb the students, even if he/she notices some mistakes they have made, but
lets them speak freely. However after the activity, he/she should discuss the most
common ones. It is tempting to suggest that the learners may learn each other's
mistakes or errors. Besides, students try to correct each other rather than learn the
mistakes. One of the main points of having learners speak to each other is to help
them increase their confidence and reduce the anxiety. Group work activities are
usually geared to fluency enhancement rather than accuracy practice.
Shy or weak students can be eliminated from the practice, because of individuals
who always tend to dominate. The teacher should assign roles to avoid one or two
learners taking over the activity and others becoming passive observers. In group a
student may have the role as a secretary; a leader;a presenter, etc.
Group work may cause noise and indiscipline. Participants in a group work activity
are normally unaware of the noise and of what other groups are doing. The only
possible problem here could be if the classroom had particularly thin walls.
It seems that there are as many disadvantages as advantages of these classroom
arrangements and one cannot unanimously state which one is better, since each
teacher has his/her own likes and dislikes. It is his/her individual choice which one
should be used during the process of teaching a language.
I.3. The roles of a teacher
I.3.1. The roles of teacher during group work
The teachers‟ role in the classroom is significant and may be problematized in
various ways in connection with classroom management and in implementing group

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work (Gillies, 2008; Gillies, Ashman, & Terwel, 2008; Hammar Chiriac, &
Granström, 2009, 2012; Lotan, 2006; Webb, 2008). The teacher always has the
utmost responsibility for all the actions and processes occurring in the classroom.
The role of the teacher will depend to a large extent on the function he performs in
different activities. Hammer examines the roles of controller, organizer, assessor,
prompter, participant, recourse, tutor and investigator. (Harmer 1995: 200-205) It
will be obvious that the teacher‟s behavior for various types of activity will be
different. For communicative output according to him, the role of the teacher should
change. Group work is often used for communicative activities that is why role of
teacher vary often changes in group work. Since the teacher as controller is no
longer oppressively present students can help each other to use and learn language.
The teacher will still, of course be able to act as an assessor, prompter or recourse.
With group work, then, students can practice language use and joint learning.
When the group work activity is carried out, the students should work
independently of the teacher and their own pace. The role of the teacher is to
monitor the students‟ progress by walking round the classroom, pausing briefly
beside each group, listening to them and noting any language errors or
communication problems which can be taken up later on with the whole class. It is
best not to interrupt them or correct them while they are working as this will impede
fluency, spoil the atmosphere, distract them from what they are doing and, at worst,
destroy their confidence. But if things are obviously going really badly, the teacher
should be prepared to offer advice and encouragement – just sufficient to get them
working again.
I.3.2. Teacher positioning in the classroom
Teacher‟s roles are closely connected to the teacher‟s positioning in the classroom.
Griffths in his article says that where we decide to position ourselves at various
stages of the lesson is important if we take into account the effect it has on our
learners. This view is commonly agreed that whether the teacher is standing, seated
or crouching in front of, to the side of or behind learners send out a message with

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regard to what he wants them to do. Wherever the teacher stands in the class,
students will see him, therefore, standing is important when he wants the attention
of the whole class, for clarifying language or giving instructions, for example.

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