Spotlight on Strategies

A peer-teaching strategy to use with digital media.

Expert Groups

Background:


This strategy is similar to the jigsaw strategy, which is a popular strategy used to introduce a new topic. It has also traditionally been used to divide up text readings rather than reading an entire article with a class. (For more information on Jigsaw and Expert Groups, visit this document.)


In this version, the Expert Groups view a short video segment to gather information and answer key questions, then discuss the video together to ensure understanding. After recording key information, they will share the information with other "experts" who viewed a different video segment. The focus is on summarizing and clarifying information as part of a team, before sharing and re-teaching the information to peers. After each "expert" teaches their home group what they have learned, the whole class meets to discuss and answer an overarching question guiding the lesson. This overarching question can be used as an assessment to determine student understanding of the concepts.

Example From the Classroom

  • During our study of the novel 1984 by George Orwell, students explore the author's background to determine the context for the political commentary represented by the novel.
  • Before beginning, the class is given the following focusing question: "How do societal forces and personal experiences influence the production of a text?" (Alberta Learning, 2003)
  • Four different video clips about events in Orwell's life are set up in opposite corners of the classroom. (Orwell in Burma, Orwell in Paris and London, Orwell and European Politics, The Later Years and Legacy of George Orwell)
  • Students are divided into their "expert groups," meeting in each corner in groups of five. They watch the video segment two times, taking notes to summarize important information and answering a key question provided by the teacher for each one.
  • Students compare and discuss their notes in their expert groups, and respond to the key question.
  • Students then return to their "home groups" to share what they learned in their expert groups. Each student records the information shared by their peers on the sheet provided.
  • As a class, students turn their attention towards the focusing question, and answer it aloud, in small groups, or in their notes.

Challenge

Use Expert Groups in your own class!



  • Determine an outcome or question that needs to be addressed
  • Find several short video (or audio, readings, images, etc.) segments that help reinforce the concept or deliver a new topic to students
  • Split class into expert groups and have them view the video
  • As they watch again, ask them to record important points in their notes, then check with the other experts to make sure everyone is on the same page
  • Meet with home groups to teach what they have learned
  • Summarize as a class and answer your overarching question

References

Alberta Learning. (2003). English language arts (Senior high) [Program of Studies]. [Edmonton, Canada]. Alberta Learning.


Jigsaw puzzle. [Image.] (2014.) Retrieved November 15, 2014, from (http://pixabay.com/en/jigsaw-puzzle-jigsaw-piece-parts-313586/)


Lucky World Production LTD. (1995). Famous Authors: George Orwell: 1903-1950. [Full Video]. Available from https://app.discoveryeducation.ca/


PB Works. Strategies and tools for group processing. Heartland Area Education Agency, 2006. Web. Retrieved Nov. 15, 2014 from <http://learningteams.pbworks.com/f/Facilitation+Tools+%26+Strategies.pdf>


Teacher-mentor-coach-tutor. [Image.] (2014.) Retrieved November 15, 2014 from http://pixabay.com/en/teacher-mentor-coach-tutor-407360/