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.)


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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