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What types of grouping structures and techniques could an educator use to optimize authentic interaction among students?

According to Swain (1993) providing children with authentic reasons to communicate and interact supports language development and language acquisition. Furthermore, authentic interaction opportunities enable students to move from receptive, semantic processing (listening to understand), to expressive, syntactic processing (formation of words sand sentences in order to communicate). Knowing this:

What types of grouping structures and techniques could an educator use to optimize authentic interaction among students?

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I used groups frequently in my FL classrooms, depending on the types of cooperative learning activities planned. The major caveat is that nearly all already shared a common first language, English. Most frequently the groups were long-term assignments, usually 4-9 weeks, but I changed often enough to add variety or if the groups were not working effectively. What I found to work well was to stratify the groups according to ability. For example I would set my group size first, say 3. In a class of 24, that would give me 8 groups. I would then identify my 8 strongest students as group ...

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"With adolescents, I rarely allow them to do their own choosing, because I don't want it to become a...

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