In my last post I talked about understanding the importance of the process of groupwork, not just the product that comes out of the end of it (here). In fact, there is a product at the end of groupwork, but it isn’t the product that most students think it is. Most students think the important product is the assignment that they hand in to their teacher at the end of the groupwork assignment. But it isn’t. The important product is the skills that you learned during the groupwork. The softskills you learned: the teamwork skills, the negotation skills, giving and receiving feedback – acquiring these skills is the reason for doing the groupwork. How many of the students who study History at university become historians? Hardly any! Yet graduate historians are in demand in the job market. Because of their knowledge of History? No, because of the skills that they have.
I’ve been looking for some interesting places to send students where they can learn some language that would be good for groupwork – for discussing, making suggestions, agreeing and disagreeing. There are some broadcasts from the BBC which you can listen to, download, and read the scripts for. They were made some time ago (Tony Blair was Prime Minister!) but they are still good. If I wanted to improve my English language for groupwork I would definitely be using the the BBC World Service Learning English radio specials here.