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…That Will Save You (lots of) Money and (even more) Time!

The topic of negative keywords is one of those things you learn in SEM 101. It’s certainly one of the first things we discuss with our new hires, and it’s something they claim to understand rather well.

So, with such a topic you might expect consensus amongst PPC vets, but that certainly hasn’t been my experience (at all).

If I were to sum up the generally accepted approach, it’d be, simply put, “Favor exact match negatives.” Of the folks I hear from who have been in PPC for a while, about half take this approach. I tend to (not surprisingly) disagree.

To better define my logic on negatives, we need to start with the definitions of each match type. Surprisingly, a fairly large percentage of people who have been doing search for a fair amount of time don’t have a grasp of this definition, as they assume negative match types are the same as positive ones.

Here’s what Google says (they tend to use examples instead of hard definitions):

Negative Match Types

Exact: [free trial]

Example: free trial

Phrase: “free trial”

Example: free trial lawyer

Broad: free trial

Example: trial outcome defendant free

Typically, broad match negatives are the main point of confusion, as this match type is fundamentally different for negative and positive keywords. The misconception is that broad match negatives will expand to plurals, misspellings, semantic variations, etc., much in the way the positive broad match does.  SEMs who believe this tend to avoid broad match negatives like the plague, since they also believe broad match negatives block far more than they actually do. If, however, we understand the definition, broad match negatives shouldn’t be feared.

So, understanding the definition of the match types put us quite a bit closer to an efficient (defined as “Achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense”) negatives approach.

General Match type Distribution

What is also lacking in the community is an understanding that negatives (in quantity, primarily) depend on how you use positives. To overly generalize, I’d create the following guidelines (note: the table assumes selection of relevant positive keywords):

Next, let’s discuss typical use cases I see for each negative match type. The first stage of my approach: the “Reactive Negatives Approach.”

Reactive Negatives  Approach (Stage 1)

In the first stage of our negatives approach, we are looking at the search query report to reactively make adjustments.

After finding a bad query, I’d choose match type as follows:

Exact Match:

Typically I only use exact match in accounts with a heavy positive broad match emphasis (which most well-established accounts should still be using). The typical use case is actually in the instance where you have a positive keyword of perhaps 3 tokens, and are matched to a query of fewer tokens. An example of this would be if you bought the keyword “power of attorney” in broad match and Google matched you to the query  ‘power’ or ‘attorney.’ I see this rather often, so as a result my exact match negatives tend to be just one or two tokens long, and usually have high search volume. There is another instance where you might use an exact match, but it’s a bit more rare. This would be the instances where adding additional tokens actually changes the meaning of your keyword. To steal from our founder, David Rodnitzky, a great example is if you sell ‘night stands’ and want to negative [one night stand].

Phrase Match:

This is what I most commonly use in my accounts. It requires analysis as opposed to recognition (as in the case of exact match negatives). I tend to use phrase match when there is an irrelevant token (or more than one) contained within a query. For example, if I were a divorce lawyer and saw the query ‘heidi klum divorce,’ I’d make ‘heidi klum’ a negative phrase match. To be even more aggressive, I might consider making ‘heidi’ a negative as well as ‘klum’ and ‘klums.’ This is aggressive, but if you’ve never had a conversion containing these tokens, and you can’t think of instance where a query containing these tokens would be relevant to your business, then you should try this approach (as opposed to just making a negative of [Heidi klum divorce]). Otherwise you’re just waiting around to make misspellings and variations a negative the next time around. Not only does that type of reactivity cost you money, but it also takes extra time since you have to continue to be very diligent with negative scrubs each and every time.

Broad Match:

After understanding the definition of each negative match type, and using the ‘query trimming’ approach I just discussed, there isn’t much room left for broad match negatives. This match type is really only useful when your irrelevant tokens are separated by articles. For example, if you found the query ‘work at home’, and the irrelevant portions of the query were ‘work’ and ‘home,’ but only if they appeared in a query together, you might make ‘work home’ a negative broad match. Again, I think this is a pretty specific use case.

If you prefer, for whatever reason, to use broad match instead of phrase match negatives, it’s certainly valid to do so in most cases. If you’re very proactive with identifying negative tokens, phrase and broad match negatives are the same thing (i.e. a one-token phrase match is, by definition, the same of a one-token broad match negative).

After going through this type of process with your search query report (which, by the way, really doesn’t take much longer than a traditional search query scrub that relies on negative exact match), you’ve completed your reactive scrub. The next step is the proactive approach.

Proactive Approach (Phase 2)

As mentioned in the ‘phrase match’ negatives use case, it’s necessary to extend to plurals for your negatives. If you’d like, you can also extend to common misspellings. So, if you have ‘letter’ as a negative phrase match, you should also make ‘letters,’ ‘leters,’ and ‘leter’ negatives.

Additionally, however, you might want to consider an approach that extends to the semantic meanings of the negatives you’ve already found. For example, if you’re a B2B marketer who sells enterprise ‘live event streaming’ services, you might be matched to something like ‘free live soccer streaming,’ which is clearly B2C traffic. In addition to making ‘free’ and ‘soccer’ negatives, why not make ‘basketball,’ ‘baseball,’ and other sport names negatives? If you’ve seen that Google is matching you to the incorrect traffic, the idea is to not wait around for more of it.

Summing It All Up

At the end of the day, I’m claiming that finding negatives is based primarily on semantics, not metrics (though, this is certainly an oversimplification!). That means that I don’t use ad group-level negatives (except to control query mappings) because what’s semantically irrelevant in one ad group is probably irrelevant in all ad groups.

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Working From Home Requires An Efficient, Clutter

For those who aren’t used to it, working from home requires a big adjustment in mindset and, in most cases, technology. Remote workers have to overcome the challenges of working isolated — detached from colleagues and from the resources readily available in their office environment. Remote workers also have to figure out, technically, how to replicate and maybe even improve upon how they’re set up to operate at their company’s offices. It’s hard to do good work without good equipment.

With some thoughtful analysis and planning, and some available space, a home office can be highly productive — and attractive for reasons beyond missing rush hour traffic. Here’s a rundown of what both IT managers and staffers need to think about, as well as the equipment needed for effective home office setups.

Assessment and planning

Where can you work in your home? In the tight confines of big-city apartments, condos and townhouses, the kitchen table or your lap may be the most viable options.

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But for people with more room, a dedicated space is going to prove more workable, particularly for people who have roommates, partners and/or kids. Ideally, there’s a door that can be closed and an ability to communicate that even though that home worker may be visible, they’re not really there; they’re at work.

The workspace

For telecommuters fortunate enough to have a dedicated workstation, there are some essentials to put in place.

Obviously, the core component is a desk or other work surface, right-sized for the available space. Desks are available at just about any big-box store, but different options, like standing desks — easily raised and lowered — are also available online or in brick-and-mortar retail locations. A good chair is also obvious, but a very personal choice.

The screen(s)

The biggest office consideration is going to be the monitor, or multiple monitors. Most modern office workers are, by necessity or design, multitaskers. Employees are constantly running, looking at and churning through multiple software applications at once.

If your home office setup allows room for more than a laptop, consider using a separate monitor, which enlarges visuals and reduces eye strain and allows users to have multiple applications open at once. Large screens also matter to people like animators and designers, project managers and accountants, who all work on documents that easily fill the width of wide monitors.

Monitor selection

Choosing the right monitor likely comes down to a few key considerations:

What work is being done

How many applications need to be open simultaneously

How much physical space is available

Big, curved monitors that were originally seen as dream machines for avid esports players are now finding their way into workspaces. There are two key attractions:

Monitors as large as 49-in. enable power users to view and use multiple applications at full size on a single screen, without needing to use browser tabs and open or minimize windows. A more compact 43-in. or 32-in. version offers the same benefit, but may better fit the available space in some work from home arrangements.

Curved screens — notably those with a 1500/1800R curvature rating — mimic the natural curve of human eyes. The curve equalizes the focal distance of what users look at, whether that content is at the center of the screen or its far edges — which studies have proven reduces eye strain. Samsung also has plans to release a 1000R in 2023 to promote even better eye health.

If your available space is tight, Samsung has a variety of monitors that can optimize circumstances:

The thin bezels (or edge frames) of the SR650 series enable pairs or arrays of monitors to be tiled and stacked to create multiple viewing windows that aren’t visually interrupted by large visible seams.

Samsung’s clever Space Monitor series eliminates the bulky stand of a typical monitor and uses a super thin screen that allows it to be stored flat against a wall — while still available to easily pull out into an ideal working position. The unique monitor design reduces dead space occupied by conventional flat panel monitors) by 93 percent and increases desk space by 40 percent.

Accessories and peripherals

What a work-from-home setup needs depends on what the employee does, how collaboration is handled and what’s used in normal times.

A USB hub or even a docking station organizes and connects things like keyboards and printers. But these devices add cost and complications, and mean a tangle of cables. Some display manufacturers, like Samsung, have a selection of monitors with built-in USB Type-C connectors, which take the place of hubs and docks, decluttering desks and reducing points of failure.

If you have a recent Samsung Galaxy S or Note series smartphone, you can make the most of your desk space by running your productivity apps straight from your phone using Samsung DeX, which lets you create a desktop-like environment with nothing but a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Making it all work

There are many nontechnical considerations in making home offices workable for businesses and their staff. But the foundation is a setup that allows people to be as productive and effective as they are when they’re in an office with their colleagues.

Take this short assessment to learn more about what kind of monitor — and its technology capabilities — best suits your unique needs.

How To Be An Ethical Leader

Ethical leadership is defined as demonstrating appropriate and thoughtful conduct inside and outside the office, respecting ethical beliefs and values, and being motivated by the dignity and rights of others.  

To be an ethical leader, you need to ensure ethical values are aligned across the organization, promote open communication, avoid bias, lead by example, be willing to accept responsibility and admit mistakes.

Ethical leadership in your company helps create a positive work culture, improve brand image and reputation, foster employee and customer loyalty, and increase productivity.

This article is for business owners and managers who want to learn more about ethical leadership, its benefits and how to implement it in their companies.   

For a manager, there is a clear difference between being just a boss and being a leader. Where a boss orders, a leader guides; a boss manages, a leader inspires. The contrast lies in how you make your employees feel and how you view your relationship with them. A good leader sees it as their responsibility to inspire, guide and nurture their employees to help them improve, and they lead by example. Above all, they practice ethical leadership.

What is ethical leadership?

Ethical leadership is the practice of demonstrating appropriate conduct inside and outside the office. It is mainly concerned with moral development and virtuous behavior. Ethical leaders display good values through their words and actions. 

Ethical leaders do not overlook wrongdoing, even in cases when doing so may benefit their businesses. Showing integrity and doing what’s right is at the core of being an ethical leader. Ethical leaders set an example for the rest of the company.

As Heather R. Younger, founder and CEO of Employee Fanatix, put it, “An ethical leader is someone who lives and dies for integrity. The ethical leader’s mantra is doing the right thing, even when it hurts.” 

Key Takeaway

Ethical leadership should be demonstrated inside and outside the workplace.

How can you be an ethical leader?

While ethical leadership may sound lofty, it’s more attainable than you might think. Here’s how to become an ethical leader.

1. Define and align your values.

Consider the morals you were raised with: Treat others how you want to be treated, always say thank you, help those who are struggling, etc. But as you grow and society progresses, conventions change, often causing values to shift.

“This is the biggest challenge ethics face in our culture and at work and is the biggest challenge ethical leadership faces,” said Matthew Kelly, founder of Floyd Consulting and author of The Culture Solution (Blue Sparrow Books, 2023). “What used to be universally accepted as good and true, right and just, is now up for considerable debate. This environment of relativism makes it very difficult for values-based leaders.”

Ask yourself what matters to you as an individual, and then align that with your priorities as a company leader. Defining your values not only expresses your authenticity, but also encourages your team to do the same, creating a shared vision for all workers. Kelly said that to succeed with ethical leadership, business owners should demonstrate how adhering to specific values benefits the organization’s mission. 

“Culture is not a collection of personal preferences,” he said. “Mission is king. When that ceases to be true, an organization has begun its journey toward the mediocre middle.” [Read related article: Establishing a Company Mission for a Better Business Culture]

2. Hire people with similar values.

While your values don’t need to be identical to those of your workers, you should be able to establish common ground with them. This often starts with the hiring process and is maintained through a vision statement.

“I do not believe that every person is a fit for every company, and that is OK,” said Shane Green, author of Culture Hacker (Wiley, 2023). “Companies need to do a better job ensuring they find people who are aligned with their values rather than just hiring for experience.”

In fact, Kelly believes hiring employees with different experiences and perspectives is valuable because they each offer their own solutions to challenges. [See how healthy workplace conflict can help your business grow.]

“But when it comes to values, I think having and hiring people who share your values is critical,” he said. “Nobody wants to work for somebody who doesn’t share their values … Without mutual respect, it is very difficult to form a dynamic team, and most people find it very difficult to respect someone who doesn’t share their values.”

The same mentality should apply to choosing business partners, consultants, suppliers and even customers. Your ethical values must align across all your business operations. Learn more about hiring for cultural fit.  

3. Promote open communication.

With each decision you make, be transparent and encourage feedback from your team. This helps you become a better leader and allows your workers to feel more confident sharing their ideas or concerns.

“I believe that one of the important responsibilities for the modern company is to create an environment where open communication is encouraged and that, more importantly, people are listened to,” Green said. “We are seeing a lot of employees calling on their companies to change policies, drop customers or take a stand on current issues. Companies cannot bend to every employee’s demand, but what they do need to start executing is creating forums where employees can raise their viewpoints, feel they are listened to and receive follow-up explaining why certain things can or cannot happen.”

Gathering feedback from your team helps you improve as a leader and propels your business forward. “Management is all about the people,” said Alain Gazaui, co-founder and CEO of SpaKinect. “Understanding where they come from is crucial.”

4. Beware of bias.

As humans, many of us have beliefs, subconscious or otherwise, that are outdated or erroneous. No leader wants to admit their flaws, but failure to practice self-awareness can have detrimental consequences.

“Everyone has bias, but for the longest time, you were not called out on it because you were never really challenged,” Green said. “Now that the workforce is more diverse … some unexposed biases are being called out. Managers need to … look at themselves and be honest that they do in fact have biases that may impinge on another person feeling comfortable at work.”

Recognize the biases, preconceived notions and stereotypes in every situation, and be sure you’re not doling out unfair treatment as a result of them.

Did You Know?

If you’re an open-minded leader, you’ll be able to build and maintain better relationships with your workers.

Top Ten Reasons To Be An Architect

Architecture is a beautiful profession that requires creativity and a lot of effort. The path to becoming a skilled architect is not a short one, nor is it easy. Depending on the country, it takes anywhere between five and seven years with necessary postgraduate training. However, the rewards that come with being a respectful architect are just too many to count. It’s what makes going through architecture school worth the while.

Here are the top ten reasons to be an architect, according to SDH Studio architects:

University is Never Boring

While there is no argument that architectural school is challenging, it is also fascinating unlike many other schools. The entire experience is much more dynamic and proactive. You’ll get knowledge and learn vast theories from different fields and industries, including economics, philosophy, and social work.

Since architecture offers a wide range of knowledge, future architects usually find school demanding, exciting, and rewarding.

Gain Respect

Even when people don’t entirely understand what an architect does, there is a global perception about architects being responsible, knowledgeable, and ethical. It’s the fundamental reason why so many books and main movie characters are architects. Moreover, people rarely perceive them as money-drawn professionals like lawyers or doctors.

The Job Constantly Evolves

Programming and building technology are essential parts of architecture processes. The materials are constantly evolving, and so are technologies and construction methods. Moreover, things like energy consumption, recycled material usage, and building performance are under constant development. As an architect, you’ll evolve professionally along with the entire landscape. Work will never be tedious, and you’ll constantly grow professionally. If you’re hungry for knowledge and continuous improvement, architecture is perfect for you.

Experiment All You Want

The final product doesn’t have a right or wrong solution in architecture. Although architects must rely on building technology and precise science, no two architects will present the same idea even if they had the exact parameters. Experimenting is expected in architecture and there is always room (and a necessity) to include your personality in every project you execute. Moreover, architects are constantly trying new technologies, exploring various materials, and incorporating new processes into their projects.

Variety of Professional Options

When you graduate with an architecture degree, you don’t have to know what type of architecture you want to practice. Unlike many other professions, you’re free to choose out of many positions as an architecture graduate. You can work in small or big firms and float between roles like designer, project architect, or project manager. Architects work on various building types for different sectors. You may work in retail, residential, civic, or retail sectors until you figure out the one that suits you best.

Work for As Long as You Like

You can always practice architecture. Moreover, most architects reach the highest points in their careers in their 50s. By then, they fully understand who they are, what they want and love doing. Most architects have long, successful careers and many open private practices after they retire at big companies.


The way architecture as industry embraces the creativity and individualism of every person is one of the most beautiful things in architecture. It encourages you to unleash your creativity and find a style that manifests uniquely beyond your work. If you want to live an authentic, creative life and express your true self through work and lifestyle, architecture is perfect for you.


An architect is usually a specialist at literally everything. The exciting part of architecture studies is about learning a wide array of theories from different fields regularly. If you’re hungry for knowledge, you’ll be happy to know it extends to an architect’s working career.

An architect can never have too much knowledge. Every project is a new chance to include new technology, innovative ideas, and new processes. There are various construction methods to explore and successful organization theories to include in projects. As an architect, you’ll know a ton of things, and you’ll learn new ones all the time.

Improve People’s Lives

Architecture is a Way of Life

An architect doesn’t think of their work as a ‘job.’ Their passion for building designs goes much deeper. Architecture is their life, and they can rarely pass an interesting building without trying to figure out what technologies and processes the building creators had used. When you adore something like architects usually love their profession, it becomes a lifestyle.

Mlops Vs Devops: Let’s Understand The Differences?

This article was published as a part of the Data Science Blogathon.


In this article, we will be going through two concepts MLOps and DevOps. We will first try to get through their basics and then we will explore the differences between them. As you might be aware in DevOps we try to bring together the programming i.e development of web app or any software, it’s testing mainly done by QA people and then its deployment. MLOps as well share similar objectives. There is a whole machine learning model development life cycle that we try to streamline. So here in MLOps, we are trying to stitch this lifecycle to make a coherent process that works with minimum or very less hiccups.

Let’s dive into the details of each of these concepts and then we will try to understand key differences between them.

What is DevOps?

DevOps is a practice where people work in a team to build and deliver software at the best possible speed. DevOps enable software developers(devs) and operations(Ops) teams to fasten up the delivery of Software through collaboration, and in an iterative manner. DevOps methodology helps improve communication between your developers and ops working on projects. It best serves the following purposes:

you can launch new features faster

increases the customer’s satisfaction and of developers too at the same time.

feedback loops help better communication

Key principles of DevOps:




Continuous improvement

Continuous testing


From this figure above we can understand the whole DevOps process. Organizing tasks and schedules and other stuff starts with this very step called plan. Planning starts according to the user stories made in every sprint if you are using agile methodology. Then starts development or coding part of the software. Testing is done of the application developed so far for any bugs. Once code passes this stage of testing (or continuous integration) it is sent for deployment. In the next step, Ops maintain infrastructure and truncates any vulnerabilities or security issues from the software. The last stage is to monitor the application developed for fixing the hiccups to ensure a smooth end-user experience.

So, I hope with this you are now clear with what exactly is DevOps. Let’s now understand what is MLOps…

What is MLOps?

In DevOps, we saw that it was for streamlining software development and then deploying and monitoring them. In MLOps we focus on Machine Learning Operations. So, the guys who are involved in this methodology are data scientists, IT, and DevOps Engineers. It is a useful approach for creating best-in-class machine learning solutions for the end-user. For developing machine learning solutions the standard lifecycle goes like this:

Requirement gathering

Exploratory data analysis

Feature engineering

Feature selection

Model creation

Model hyperparameter tuning

Model deployment

Retraining, if needed

So from this whole pipeline, it is understood that developing models is just a very small part of the whole process. Many other configurations, steps, processes, or tools are to be integrated into the system. For this streamlining, we have this machine learning development methodology MLOps.

MLOps also provide the same benefits as in the DevOps. It increases scalability, efficiency and reduces risk to a greater extent of the whole process of developing a machine learning solution.

So, now we are clear with both these concepts, their approach. Let’s have a look at the key differences between these two methodologies.

MLOps vs DevOps

It is very clear now that outcomes of both are top software quality, faster updates and releases, and higher end-user satisfaction. But there are some differences as well.

DevOps focuses on building a generic application and uses a standard set of libraries for specific use cases. Whereas MLOps builds a model that feeds inferences and also has a broad scope for languages, tools, libraries, and many frameworks, unlike MLOps. People generally involved in DevOps are Software Engineers and DevOps engineers whereas, in MLOps, Data scientists and Machine Learning Engineers are most required.

it was trained. It doesn’t have the same performance which it had initially because probably now we have more useful information than we have in the beginning and also it might be possible that user behaviour is changed. But this does not happen with DevOps. Software never degrades once it is developed, it will always serve the purpose it was made for.

If we compare the cycle of both the methodologies we can see that both have a code, validate and deploy loop. But you can catch differences in Development(code). In DevOps, code creates an application that is converted to an executable and then deployed by validating using wide series of test cases. But in MLOps, code is done to build or train a machine learning model. Validation is done to check the accuracy of the model i.e how well it performs for test data. This cycle is repeated until the model gives a performance at a threshold.

One more major difference between the two is that in DevOps only CI/CD (Continous Integration and Continous Deployment) pipeline is required. Whereas in MLOps one additional thing is required and that is retraining. So CI/CD pipeline with a retraining approach is required for the machine learning or deep learning solution you are developing. So this factor affects the monitoring involved in both the methodologies. In MLOps re-training is required because future data may change especially if data has seasonality in it. So, in order to keep model results consistent and reliable, this has to be kept in mind.

End Notes

In this article, we deep-dived into MLOps vs DevOps and saw what are they, what are differences in them with respect to various conditions. I hope you find this article helpful. Let’s connect on Linkedin.

Thanks for reading my article on MLOps vs DevOps 🙂

Happy coding!

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A 4 Step Approach To Planning Collaborative Experiential Learning

Teachers can guide high school students to be active participants in their learning by having them work together on authentic tasks.

We know that students learn from action and reflection. Why is it, then, that so many classrooms treat students as passive recipients rather than active agents? 

School can be so much more than predictable lectures and routine tasks. But shifting what students experience can be challenging for teachers. When students are positioned as active players in their learning experience—through authentic projects, student-led inquiries, team challenges, and experiential learning—educators forfeit much of the control, predictability, and comfort they may be accustomed to.

To navigate the challenges of relinquishing control, educators can think about four phases of planning and facilitating experiential collaborative learning experiences and address seven questions as they design and facilitate learning.

Phase 1: Determine the Purpose 

Establish learning goals: What are the goals for student learning?

Consider the key knowledge, skills, mindsets, and dispositions that represent the learning goals for the experience. These goals may extend beyond traditional content knowledge goals and into more sophisticated disciplinary practices, such as historical inquiry or mathematical argumentation, as well as goals related to social and emotional mindsets and skills, such as engaging in a productive collaboration with peers and making personal connections to the topic. 

Only by getting clear with these goals is it possible to make principled and effective design and facilitation choices later on. After all, different learning goals will require different design choices, different criteria for when a teacher should intervene (or not), and different reflection questions and supports.

Phase 2: Establish the Context

Keep it real: What’s the authentic experience that provides the context for learning?

Teachers can begin to design an authentic experience by considering the various authentic elements of the experience, including the role that students will take on, the problem they will explore, the personal connections they’ll make, the product they’ll produce, and the impact they’ll have. For example, students can take on the role of a scientist as they observe the natural phenomenon of ice melting while placed on different surfaces, design investigations to test their hypotheses, and produce real scientific findings to share with others.

Design for collaboration: How will the experience support and encourage students to collaborate?

Consider a civics class where student groups are tasked to research a specific topic and prepare a presentation for the class. While this sort of group project follows a familiar structure, students may not see how a group effort would benefit their work, other than delegating different parts of the project to different members of the team. Now consider a project that is designed with collaboration in mind. In this case, students must work together to collectively define a problem of local community concern; research, explore, and analyze options for how to address the problem; reach a consensus on which option to pursue; and then engage in civic activities to promote or implement their solution. If teachers expect students to collaborate effectively, they need to be mindful that they are actually designing group-worthy tasks.

Phase 3: Orchestrate the Experience

Cultivate collaboration: What structures and supports will encourage equitable collaboration?

Intervene intentionally: When and how will I intervene in ways that support student learning? 

Imagine a group of students struggling to reach consensus on a key decision for their team project. With students’ frustration levels beginning to rise and their collaborative efforts beginning to break down, the teacher must decide whether or not to intervene. The teacher may closely observe the team to try to decipher whether the struggle is productive or not in relation to the primary learning goals. For example, if one of the learning goals is for students to build their capacity to synthesize multiple perspectives into a proposal, this struggle may in fact be a core component of the learning experience.  

When teachers do intervene, they should always strive for capacity-building interventions, not enabling interventions. In other words, does the teacher’s intervention build students’ capacity to solve similar problems in the future, or does the intervention build students’ reliance on the teacher? For instance, the teacher in the example above could offer the team a consensus-building protocol and support the students to use it themselves, rather than the teacher stepping in and taking over the group’s process. 

Students’ collaborative efforts may also be derailed by harmful power dynamics or troubling patterns of participation. Many of these patterns frequently occur along racial, gender, language, or other lines of difference. These challenges are clearly destructive to student learning and thus require thoughtful and assertive interventions by the teacher.

Phase 4: Facilitate the Debrief

Analyze and reflect: How will students reflect on their experience to surface big ideas?

Reflection is the process through which students make meaning of their experiences. Students can develop emerging intuitions and ideas that can be formalized and stabilized with the support of the teacher.

For example, while reflecting on a science project, students may develop some inclinations about the limitations of their investigation. These reflections can be the foundation from which the teacher helps students build their understanding of significant concepts within the field of science, such as limitations of experimental designs and the validity and reliability of scientific findings. The teacher’s role is to help students articulate and translate these emerging inclinations into more formalized understandings by offering additional context, providing definitions of concepts, and supporting students to make connections between new ideas and the things they already know.

Teachers can consider the types of reflection protocols and questions that are most likely to support students to see critical aspects of their experiences and then make sense of them in ways that produce powerful insights.

Transform insights into implications: How will students transform their new understandings into actionable next steps?

Once students have reflected on their experiences and deepened their understanding of big ideas, they’re ready to look forward. How will their insights and ideas influence the way they think, feel, and act in the future? 

Consider an English language arts project where students reflect on the effective use of various narrative techniques as well as aspects of the collaborative writing process. The teacher can now support students to look forward and consider implications for their future writing projects. Reflection allows students to build a bridge from the present experience to their future endeavors.

While we as teachers may not always have an immediate and thoughtful response to each question above, simply posing these questions can help direct our attention toward important considerations while planning and teaching. As with all complex endeavors, engaging in this process with colleagues can enrich the process, and students benefit when their learning experiences reflect the thoughtful planning of a team of educators bringing multiple perspectives, ideas, and approaches to the table. 

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