Book Review

Productive Group Work

How to Engage Students, Build Teamwork, and Promote Understanding

by Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher and Sandi Everlove, ASCD, Alexandria, Va., 2009, 128 pp., $21.95 softcover


Productive Group Work: How to Engage Students, Build Teamwork, and Promote Understanding is a comprehensive guide offering teachers detailed procedures for engaging students in group learning experiences.



Co-authors Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher and Sandi Everlove combine their extensive experience to provide the structural and operational procedures for successful student teamwork while acknowledging and addressing the fear teachers may have when called upon to give their students a larger share of control over the learning process.

This is a how-to book providing a step-by-step process complete with useful guides and forms. It is well-organized, with clear and concise operational definitions. Descriptive and detailed examples taken from real elementary, middle and high school classrooms provide models for each of the critical and necessary components.

The authors fail to note that students learn from team activities in sports, music and theater where the performance is entirely in the hands of the students. How sports coaches and music and theater directors guide and promote student learning can serve as a model for teachers in other disciplines.

The proposed practices and procedures for productive groups are given in depth and in detail but in a measured and manageable style.

Reviewed by Jim Frenck, retired associate professor of teacher education, Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, N.Y.