Productive Group Work
Defining Positive Interdependence:
To create positive interdependence within groups,
the group task must be designed so that the participation of every
member is necessary to its completion, and students must clearly
understand their interdependence in accomplishing the task. The task
should also capitalize on the variation among group members so that
individual strengths can be tapped. Johnson and Johnson (1994) observed
that interdependence may be accomplished in the following four ways:
- Goals can be made interdependent by assigning a task
that requires each member to contribute for the group to be successful.
In other words, they sink or swim together.
- Resources can be distributed to ensure each group
member has a unique piece of information essential for completing a
task, and no one can complete the task alone or without each member's
- Rewards are excellent motivators for interdependence
when given both for individual contribution to the group task and for
the overall group effort and result. Group members then know they have a
stake in each other's learning and their own.
- Roles can be assigned to give each group member a
distinct way to participate in the group's work. Each member's job
should be necessary to completing the task. Some common roles are
recorder, materials manager, encourager, and reporter.