Group Work

Tutors often assign some tasks or assignments to groups of students as a way of introducing them to teamwork dynamics. Effective teamwork is critical to organizational growth and success. Hence, organizations expect that graduates are familiar with teamwork dynamics and can work effectively in a team. Group work in school prepares graduates for the actual working environment. A tutor’s approach to group work influences the learners’ attitude towards group work.

Benefits of Group Work

Group work gives students an opportunity to learn from each other as they share ideas. Students learn interaction and communication skills because they have to express their views to their peers effectively. Group work encourages active learning and gives an opportunity to all students to express themselves. Sometimes shy students are unable to participate to raise their views in a classroom setting but can easily raise them in a small group. Group work improves teaching and learning as different tasks are completed simultaneously. Teachers often assign different tasks with similar learning outcomes to different groups.

Students learn interdependence and critical thinking from group work. They learn how to help weaker participants and how their actions influence the outcome of the assigned task. Group work is beneficial to tutors as well. The approach improves the students’ understanding of subject matter and this simplifies the tutor’s work in teaching a subject. Group work is also useful to tutors when they have a limited number of projects to assign to each student.

How to implement group work effectively

Many students are reluctant to participate in group activities because completing an activity in a group takes longer than when doing it alone. Some students also fear that their peers might not put as much effort in a task. Sometimes one student can dominate a group discussion forcing other group members to conform to a certain line of thought. Hence, tutors must be careful with their group work approach to achieve their required results. A tutor must structure group activities in a way that each student must participate and give their opinion. Group work must encourage interdependence.

Tutors should design group tasks in a way that students learn and acquire skills that they can only learn in team. The task should be challenging and involve activities that students cannot do on their own. For instance, group activities should allow students to evaluate different ideas and perspectives to solve a problem. In addition, tutors should ensure that students take individual responsibility for the outcome of a group task. A tutor can ask all students to give their account of the group activities and their contribution. Such an account should include the lessons learnt from group activities and should influence the students’ final grade.

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