Group work

Aug. 8th, 2017 03:18 pm
liv: Cartoon of a smiling woman with a long plait, teaching about p53 (teacher)
[personal profile] liv
I'm on a mission to redeem group work in education. I expect this to be controversial among many of my friends. So if I'm right and lots of you have terrible memories / experiences of being made to do bad group work, I invite you to comment here and tell me what was bad about it. Do you think it's just awful, or are there problems that might be fixed? I believe strongly that while it can be dire, it can also be great, or perhaps I might phrase it as, there are things that look like group work superficially but are actually great.

Because I'm on a mission this may turn into a more formal research survey at some point, but in that case I'll pose the question in a formal context with ethics and everything. Right now I'm just trying to gather some opinions and not just rely on my own ideas. Plus I am eye-deep in paperwork and I could do with some distraction, so do rant away.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-08 06:25 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ewt
My memories of group work in school:
-I didn't have great social skills so was often "last pick" when we chose our own groups
-I was perceived as smart and often ended up doing the bulk of the work, especially for projects I found easy
-I was never taught how to negotiate division of labour
-mission creep
-Other students sometimes mostly wanted to goof off instead of learning
-there would be several small groups in the same classroom, which meant a lot of noise, which made everything else harder to navigate
-sometimes in group presentations people would add their own opinions whilst presenting, this weakening the argument we were trying to make
-sometimes it was assumed we would get in touch with our group to work on things together outside of class time. For kids with no independent means of transport this wasn't always possible, and my extra-curricular schedule made it difficult too.
-in some groups the other kids conspired to trick or tease me, and when I got upset about this I was penalised for "not getting along with the group".

In general, the smaller the group the more pleasant I found group work; working with one other person was usually OK as long as the noise wasn't too bad. Working with two other people could kindof work in the right context, but wasn't exactly fun. More than that got really unpleasant.

That said:
I really enjoy chamber music, and I suspect that group work with appropriate boundaries and good division of labour can be positive and enjoyable in a similar way.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-09 12:35 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ewt

I would go so far as to say that if I had been explicitly taught the skills involved in doing group work, the group work itself would have been a good opportunity to practice those skills, particularly some of the social ones, in a semi-structured way that had benefits outside of the group work.

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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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