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Assigning Competence
Assigning competence is a powerful form of encouragement.  In the cooperative learning methodology known as Complex Instruction, it is the second of two robust Status Treatments (the other being the Multiple Ability Treatment).  

Two examples are provided for you here.  Both reference the skillful work of Suzanne McKegney.  The first is a video clip of Suzanne assigning competence during the orientation, learning station, and wrap-up phases of a CI rotation she taught.  The big idea of the rotation is "point of view" during the Revolutionary War.  The second example are transcripts of her actual words during the status treatments you will observe in the video clip.  Note the chart also contains the multiple abilities that are recognized during the assignment of competence.



The Words Suzanne Used To Assign Competence

The Multiple Ability Connected To The Group Task


Said During Orientation

I don't know if I mentioned this to the whole group, but Eric, when he was working on that task with his group,  had a great way of doing just this thing (points to "brainstorming" on multiple abilities poster).  Eric was kind of just brainstorming words - poodle, doodle, stroodle - and he just kept going and even though some of them were really silly, doing that kind of brainstormimg really just gives your group lots of things to choose from, so that was a great, uh, ability.


brainstorming words gives the group lots of things to choose from

Said During Orientation

I noticed Tyler yesterday in his group was doing something really important.  Tyler's group was doing the activity with the different pictures and you had to look at the pictures.  Tyler was really looking at the details in the pictures.  He was noticing what the people in the pictures were doing. 

Tyler?  (Tyler has his hand up.)

You already said that. 

I know but I'm just reviewing.  It's important enough to mention again. Looking at those pictures in the pictures will really help your group to draw those conclusions.  Sometimes in pictures the details are  really important.  So, I'm going to add (to the wallchart) "looking at details."


looking at the details in the pictures will help the group draw their conclusions

Said During Learning Activities

I was going to walk away but I just had to see this.  Michael just did something really interesting.  He was bringing in some other knowledge.  He said I've read this Paul Revere book and in that it says he's a patriot so he's bringing in the research he's doing from something else to this task.  I think if you all can draw on the other information you've been learning, maybe even from other subject areas,  and bring it into this task the way Michael did,  I think that might help your group get more information to help you do it.


bringing in the research from something else might help your group get more information to do the task

Said During Learning Activities

Excuse me, when I was standing over there I noticed when you were writing your title here, I noticed that Ben was using the reference material.  He was checking the spelling of Crispus Attucks' name on the paper and then saying it.  That's always a great strategy, to use your reference materials.  And Ben clearly knows how to do that in a way that has a great impact on your group.  He was using it to check spelling.  You could also use it to check facts.


that's always a great strategy, to use your reference materials - Ben knows how to do that in a way that has a great impact on the group

Said During Learning Activities

You know, I was just listening to your group's discussion and I was hearing somebody say,  "It has to be two syllables."  -  Emily -  and then I heard Ben doing that brainstorming part where it (the wall chart) talks about  -  thinking of the word, the vocabulary and the brainstorming - just pushing out two syllable words, don-key, bur-ro,  what were some of the other ones you said -  Lah-lah  -  so that's one of those brainstorming things.  Even though they were silly, they might help your group to have more choices.


the vocabulary and the brainstorming, just pushing out two syllable words, might help your group to have more choices