Small Group Instruction
AS Hornby explain that group is a number of people or thing gathered, placed or acting together or naturally associated. It means that group is associated of the people who to do something together or work together.
Small group in learning is a collection of persons who are emotionally, intellectually, and aesthetically engaged in solving problems, creating products, and making meaning an assemblage in which each person learns autonomously and through the ways of learning of others.
According John, F Cragan a small group as a few people engaged in communication interaction overtime, in face- to- face and or computer mediated environments, who have common goals and norms and have developed a communication pattern for meeting their goals in an independence manner.
Zeuschner said that ‘ a small group is collection of between 3-12 individuals who are involved in face-to-face interaction to achieve a common goal.
The characteristics of Small Group
There are the characteristics of Small Group as follows:
1. Group have Goals, which can be defined as something that the group hope to achieve. A group may be striving to reach targets such as sales result or it may be trying to work out a suitable policy for the achievement of employment equity in the organization.
2. Most groups have norms or standards, that define acceptable behavior in the group.
3. Members have position in group. These positions refer to the parts that members play in group in terms of responsibilities or rights.
4. Members fulfill key role requirements in group. Roles refer to the behavior associated with the position. (for example, the chairperson is a facilitator at a meeting, making sure that speakers get a fair turn during discussion.
The Goal of Small Group
There is no real limit to the way in which teachers can group students in a classroom, though certain factors, such as over-crowding, fixed furniture and entrenched student attitudes, may make things problematic. The goal of small group learning is to build a collective body of knowledge; learning groups strive to create publicly shared understandings.
The Advantage and Disadvantage of Small Group
A group is a number of people who have joined together for a purpose. There are different methods of learning that can be used by an individual or a group. In schools and in the education industry, there is a group of students who learn to be as a team. They learn together and also face the challenges together. There are various advantages of small group leaning and this is the reason for the small groups to be better in learning.
The advantages of the small group learning are listed here:
1. The students are active: In a large group, there may be many people and the individual attention from each member may not be present. When the group is a small one, the people all have eye contact with each other an it is very difficult to not become participate in this kind of a group. So, in a learning situation, if there is a small group, then the students will be able to learn better than if it is a larger group
2. Sharing: In a small group, it is possible for each of the members to share their views and experiences to be able to learn more. Other than this, they will also be able to share their observations and insights on what they are learning. Each of these is an important method that will help in the learning process. If a group is a larger one, there will be limited scope for the group members to be able to share their experiences. They might not have the time or place to do so. In this scenario, only a person or two may be able to share their experiences.
3. More responsible: The members who are in a small group for the learning to occur will be more responsible to each other. This will mean that the people in the small group will support each other in their quest for the knowledge and learning. This helps the leaning process to become better. There are many individuals who feel that they are responsible for the learning needs of the whole group. On the other hand, if it is a very large group, then individuals cannot make sure that they are responsible for the learning process of the group and its members.
4. Feedback: In a smaller group, the members will be able to have adequate feedback. They will be able to learn from the other member as to what the feedback was. In a larger group, because of the sheer size of the numbers and the group, the feedback becomes an impossible method of collecting the relevant details
The Disadvantages of the small group learning are listed here:
1. The teacher may feel like they are losing control of the class.
2. Students will speak only in their L1
3. Teacher are often concerned that students will pick up incorrect English from other students .
From the statement above about advantages and disadvantages of small group as method in learning, the writer conclude that by using small group in the classes the teacher can help the students see that language usage is more than the sum off its grammatical and collocation parts, it is about effectively connecting with others in other to establish yourself as a unique and valuable member of the community, in this case the classroom community and it should be known that small group learning is the best method of learning as a group.