Updated: Jan 23
Many staff members and administrators of Rialto High School believe that they need to implement new teaching activities in order to get students to collaborate with their peers. One of these activities is called GOGOMO, but students do not want to participate in this activity - an activity that teachers and administrators might not even enjoy if the roles were switched.
Give One, Get One, and Move On (GOGOMO) is a new teaching activity where students receive a sheet of paper that contains nine boxes. In the first box each student writes their response based on the material they are going over in class. After that each student passes their paper to the left until the next two boxes are filled with other students' responses. Once that is done, the whole class stands up and when GOGOMO is said, everyone finds a partner that was not at their table in order to share responses with each other. They continue this process until all nine boxes are filled with nine different responses.
The thing with this activity is that it’s not something all students will enjoy. I know that administrators are trying and the effort is greatly appreciated but there are other ways to improve collaboration.
An effective way of teaching is to put students in groups, large groups. This will allow students to engage their listening skills and will allow them to receive a better understanding of the material.
According to the University of Washington, “...the more comfortable students are, the better they do, which yields benefits beyond the classroom.
From my experience with GOGOMO, I was the opposite of comfortable mainly because I get anxiety when it comes to approaching or meeting new people. So when my teacher was explaining the activity, my anxiety flared up. Whenever I approach my peers to converse my voice will begin to get shaky and sometimes I can feel overwhelmed to the point that I need to cry but will hold it in as long as possible.
Psychology teacher, Diana Rubio, had my class do this activity but I feel that this class already has an effective amount of collaboration due to the fact that seats are in groups of four and my class gets assigned multiple group assignments and/or projects.
She also made sure to let us choose our seats at the start of the school year, and when our seats did change she did a nice icebreaker where we each talked about ourselves or something random for a minute without getting interrupted by anyone in our group. This is a good example of how to make students feel comfortable and how to create good collaboration. Those of us who have anxiety appreciate this strategy more than one like GOGOMO.
Although some may share a different perspective like sophomore Aliya Thomas who says, “I personally think this could be a good idea because it can help people get a better understanding on the topic that’s going on in the class and I think students need to be engaged in the lesson to understand it so I think that this will let students connect with the topic that’s being taught and I would be okay doing it and I wouldn’t mind.”
Psychology and environmental science teacher, Barbara Coffing, also shares the same opinion as Aliya Thomas and states, “...GoGoMo is a great activity to review for notes and quizzes and it forces students to get up out of their seats and move, as well as practice using their academic language and vocabulary while socializing at the same time.”
I do still stand with my belief.
Rialto High School staff and administrators should realize that there are other ways of going about getting students to collaborate. They can make every classroom have seating arrangements that involve students being in groups, create a survey asking students if they would enjoy certain activities, do fun or interesting group icebreaker activities at the beginning of the school year to make students feel more comfortable with each other, and more.
While I appreciate the effort put into this strategy, it was a solid no for me. The best options are ones that have a natural feeling and have us engage in genuine conversation, not ones that are clearly attempting collaboration for the sake of collaboration.