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Group work: Is it beneficial?

Carla+Holzinger%28Left%29+and+Grace+Tasel%28Right%29%2C+working+together+on+the+group+assignment%2C+providing+feedback.
Carla Holzinger(Left) and Grace Tasel(Right), working together on the group assignment, providing feedback.

Carla Holzinger(Left) and Grace Tasel(Right), working together on the group assignment, providing feedback.

Malik Telfer

Malik Telfer

Carla Holzinger(Left) and Grace Tasel(Right), working together on the group assignment, providing feedback.

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“Although working alone has it benefits, teamwork has proven to be the absolute winner.” This is how freshman, Makai Watson feels about team work.

The advantages of student group work speaks for itself; breaking complex tasks into parts and steps which means breaking down a big problem into simple and easy problems. Students have to plan and manage time. Organization is a good skill to have and helps set out tasks to complete in a timely fashion.  Refine understanding through discussion and explanation. Talking to the members of your group can help you better understand the problem at hand and even put a new idea in your head, and develop stronger communication skills..

Sean Lipka (left) and Bryce Hoffmaster (right) working on the group assignment; providing constructed criticism and support.

Having good communication skills goes a long way. Talking to others and providing feedback is very beneficial to the group and helps a lot. Group work is also beneficial to teachers. Teachingcenter.com said group work “can reduce the number of final products teachers have to grade and teachers are able to have the content reinforced by giving the students ways to apply what they have learned in a collaborative setting.”

Compared to individual work, students prefer and benefit more with group work. Some teachers prefer individual work while others prefer group work. Mrs. Wheeler prefers group work. “Group work helps students break down complex problems and solve them together.” Mrs. Wheeler said. “It gives students a wide variety of ideas and good feedback from they’re peers.” Teachers like Ms. Wicker prefer individual work. Ms. Wicker said, “Individual work is easier on the students because they can focus more at the task at hand. There is also no distractions and it can help improve problem solving ability.” Although group work can be beneficial, it has a downside. Some students find group work uncomfortable and challenging, particularly students who do not feel confident about their ability to communicate. Also students may struggle with making decision in a group setting or have varying attitudes regarding collaborative work in the classroom.

Some teachers also find that group work can be time consuming and difficult to grade fairly. But when it comes to developing student’s group work skills, there’s no best approach. It all depends on the teacher’s particular teaching and objectives. Cornell University has suggestions on how to adapt to group work. “Usually the ability to work in a group is based on the environment. Within schools and colleges, working in groups can also be adopted as a mean of carrying forward curriculum concerns and varying the classroom experience. You can also create a beneficial relationship and help other people out. One of the main reasons why group work doesn’t work is because of the partners students choose.”

Even though group work could be frustrating, there are ways to make it work. Vanderbilt University has tips on making group work. “Adapting to the task at hand so you will be in the same mindset as you’re group members, Active listening is also another way to make things easier. It is also a communication technique tha everyone needs. Using your emotional intelligence is important during group work. Using your emotional intelligence means you just identify the core of a problem and fix it so you can identify the core of an interpersonal problem and then work out a solution. It takes emotional intelligence to work out which members might be slacking or trying to take over. “

In all, Group work has its advantages and disadvantages for both students and teachers but it can be just as beneficial as individual work.

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Group work: Is it beneficial?