Developing a Design for Selecting Groups to Promote Participation and Performance

By Kenneth B. Samuels.

Published by The International Journal of Design in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The initial idea for this design occurred in junior high school while choosing sides for football. The purpose then was not to have lopsided teams but competitive ones. The purpose of this latest and more complex design has been primarily to get diverse and multilevel classes of students to stop talking just to the teacher or perhaps only to a few others in class but instead to talk to any and all students during class activities. The design has been mostly developed incidentally within a student peer mentor program at a community college, and with beginner level ESL (English as a Second Language) students. The principles involved combine and draw loosely on Goleman’s theory of emotional intelligence, Krashen’s affective filter hypothesis, and the American concept of equal opportunity. The design as implemented during class activities and over the span of a course is somewhat mathematically systematic, yet results in first name familiarity among the students and often a preference for learning within and benefiting from the selected groupings. Student retention and performance improve.

Keywords: Design, Small Groups, Selection Procedures, Affective Filter, Emotional, Intelligence, Equal Opportunity, ESL, Communicative Competence, Social, Competence, Collaborative Learning, Participation, Diversity Training,, Leadership, Student Peer Mentor, Rounds, Retention

The International Journal of Design in Society, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp.51-63. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 606.893KB).

Kenneth B. Samuels

Adjunct Instructor, English as a Second Language, Palomar College, Fallbrook, California, USA

My higher educational background has been very diverse: at different locations in Maryland, Germany, Virginia and California; and in different fields such as natural sciences, philosophy, economics, psychology (PhD), and ESL (MA). I was an English Language Fellow with the US State Department with assignments at the Ministry of Economy in Tirana, Albania (2003 - 04) and at Kryvyi Rih State Pedagogical Institute in Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine (2005 - 06). I have been an ESL instructor at Palomar College since 2007. At Palomar, I became involved with the Student Peer Mentor Program and wrote frequently for its mentor newsletter (my articles there are drawn on here). My interests are diverse: multi / inter-disciplinary, some public affairs issues, writing, the outdoors, music, health, and nutrition.