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  Weekly Feature (April 29, 2006)
 


None of us is as smart as all of us
 by
Barb

 

 

The evening English 9 class has been learning how to write clear, strong thesis statements as part of their preparation for essay writing. Learning how to brainstorm has been part of this process. During the brainstorming session, all ideas and thoughts are valid and not judged. Pooling ideas and sharing thoughts are very useful tools and essential preparation for writing an essay.

When students work in groups, they learn more quickly than when working individually. One idea sparks another. The energy level and enthusiasm for the essay topic increase. Students are engaged in learning from each other and everyone is an “equal” and on the same page.

After brainstorming in groups of 3 or 4, a whole class discussion follows. The teacher writes all ideas from each group on the board so everyone can see. Next, students analyze the ideas and look for patterns emerging from them. Similar ideas are numbered with the same number so that they may be used in one body paragraph when the writing actually begins. Students are encouraged to choose only the strongest ideas for their writing and to disregard the weakest points. In analyzing shared ideas, confidence goes up and when students’ confidence increases, learning happens.

The result is that we all learn faster and on a deeper level when we discuss ideas, than we could learn on an individual basis because we have a greater pool of ideas to choose from. Hence, “none of us is as smart as all of us.” And when all of us feel smarter, we make huge gains in understanding.

 

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