I found Brufee's discussion on Collaborative learning and the ways in which students have difficulty learning once reaching a secondary learning environment to be a fascinating look at teaching methods. I especially liked the part where Bruffee explains different methods in which to help students better cope with the problems they face in a college classroom. I would like to be able to discuss the different methods that Brufee discussed but also other methods that could be helpful in teaching students.
Response from Emily: I enjoyed this chapter as well. In my short experience teaching a freshmen classroom, group work is highly encouraged so that the freshmen can learn to work with one another as well as just get to know each other. I have tried numerous activities and set ups for the groups such as giving each group a list of questions to guide discussion, have them present their discussion to class, assigned groups, letting them pick their own groups, etc. I have not found any magical way that promotes great discussion and makes for very productive work. I find it really just depends on their attitudes, the time of the day, type of student, and most of all, whether or not they feel that they need to take this work seriously which usually depends on whether it is a grade, they will be tested on it soon, or any other incentive to make them feel like they need to participate in the right way. I also have figured out that it is absolutely necessary when they have group work for me to walk around the class and make sure they are staying on topic. If I just sit at my desk and let them be, they are much less likely to be as productive as they could be.