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 06:15 pm (UTC)
jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
From: [personal profile] jenett
Related to my comments about the class where this really worked for me - I think that having it be a good reason for the group work is key.

In that class, most (at least half, maybe more like 3/4) were things that would legitimately be a group discussion and presentation in a number of library settings. F'ex:

- You have X budget to spend on Y topic of books for a library of Z size/population specifics. How do you spend that and why?

- A book in your collection has been challenged. You and your colleagues need to explain what you're doing about that, in keeping with your library's policies.

- You and several other librarians are making a presentation to the library board about what Y budget would allow you to do to increase diverse resources for the collection (and why that matters.)

In small libraries, you might not have colleagues to do these things with - but they're all pretty reasonable tasks that people do on occasion or might need to deal with, where doing them for the first time for real is even more scary (and has significant consequences if you mess up.)

I'd also argue that sometimes it's possible to learn a lot not just from working with your group, but watching how other groups tackle the same basic question (which was also true in this class: in most cases we had the same basic assignment).

Watching 6 iterations of the same thing, with people sometimes taking very different approaches, was really educational, and in a bunch of cases made future professional discussions a lot easier for me, because I'd seen examples and had been able to ask questions about "Why'd you go at it this way?" that wouldn't fit in a professional discussion as easily.

It obviously doesn't apply in every field or every topic in a given field - but when it does, I think the 'try it out in a lower-stakes setting' is handy.)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-09 01:34 am (UTC)
siderea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] siderea
Like, lots of people are terrified (often justifiably) of the consequences of poor performance, but don't in fact have the ability to get perfect marks all the time by working on their own with no input from others. So they're not better off if forced to work individually.

Welp, you just absolutely slammed one of my buttons: you have to be abused by this educational process for the good of other people.

You have two people, one of whom, A, will get bad marks regardless, and one of whom, B, reasonably believes they will get bad marks if in a group and good marks alone. Also, B will be beaten by their parent if they bring bad marks home.

And you just said, "Well, it's not actually safer to do individual work, because look at A's case."

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-09 09:13 pm (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
I am acquainted with a college student who feels in danger of their life if they don't know how to do an assignment.

The history: an egregiously emotionally abusive and physically neglectful home of origin, knowing that another 4+ years of emotional abuse would kill them, realizing that they would have to have college funding that didn't depend on parental cooperation (because of course "I am paying for college" and/or "I am cooperating with loan paperwork" could be used as a lever for abuse), and getting an appropriate scholarship depended on stellar grades. (College is now taken care of independent of the parents, but the student has not fully recovered from that level of abuse overnight.)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-31 12:06 am (UTC)
recessional: bare-footed person in jeans walks on log (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
I'm late to the party, but:

Like, lots of people are terrified (often justifiably) of the consequences of poor performance, but don't in fact have the ability to get perfect marks all the time by working on their own with no input from others. So they're not better off if forced to work individually.

Actually I repeatedly proved to teachers that I could do projects as well or better than the group working on my own, with less stress and misery to me.

This did not stop being the case until I was doing literal masters-level working-in-my-field level projects.


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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