Excerpts from: Motivating Groups

By Steven H. Roberson
(This article appeared in the June/July 1992 issue of “American Music Teacher”)

Motivational Group Strategies

Tactics for motivating groups do not differ substantially from those useful in motivating individuals. In fact, the task is often easier, given that research has demonstrated that most people learn best in groups. That is how youngsters are accustomed to learning in school.

The two inviolable rules of group teaching are that a homogeneous match of student abilities must be achieved, and that all activities must involve the whole group and not focus on individuals. Group teaching strategies should not devolve to the level of several brief private lessons while other class members work on their own projects. Group unity and cohesiveness are of primary importance.

Ask many questions and involve everyone. You will be teaching people to think for themselves and to become problem-solvers. This is probably not the way most of us were taught, and since we all tend to teach the way our teachers did, it will be hard to break the old pedagogical mold and embark on the path to discovery learning.

Use electronic equipment. Students of all ages enjoy the latest technology. It can be fun and educational when used properly. The one important caveat is that this technology must be used in such a way to enhance accomplishment as a group rather than as individuals who happen to share a room. Never let computers become surrogate teachers that separate and isolate.

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