WHY GROUP WORK?
Learning Becomes More DiverseLearning Intensifies
There can be many quite different reasons for group work; the following are examples:
- Sharing and combining of points of view
- Better results
- Getting people to commit themselves, creating team spirit
- Qualitative learning results: self-esteem, motivation, self-regulation skills and cooperation skills
- Achieving consensus
- Learning to engage in team work.
“The wealth resulting from personal differences is an important contributor to teamwork enabling us to achieve so much more.” (Douglass & Douglass)
Learning Becomes More Diverse
A task or problem, which is then clarified through interaction with the other group members, always serves as the starting point for teamwork. Interaction is used as a means of reinforcing learning on the part of every student so that learning becomes better both quantitatively and qualitatively.
The objective in using team work is to teach the students to discuss, share viewpoints, and to think. Discussion consists of explaining, listening and answering. Thinking includes the ability to resolve problems, to deduce and to evaluate. Working in a group develops the participant’s critical thinking and ability to resolve problems and it promotes comprehension. Group work also promotes the management of social and cooperation skills.
Often when group work is proposed, someone will ask: May I do this on my own? In such a situation, it should be noted that learning in a group is more than just ”doing”.
Social interaction is extremely important from the point of view of the learning results. Interaction both requires and develops social skills. Every member of the group contributes to the functioning of the group. With every individual bearing some of the responsibility and there being common objectives, the end result is that a positive interdependence is created between the members of the group. The working of a functioning group is not only the total sum of the work contribution of individuals; when all goes really well, the group can achieve considerably more than the students as individuals.
The effectiveness of the group is based on the interaction between individuals. Knowledge and thoughts are exchanged within the group. The group can also serve as a mirror in the development of one’s own thinking, e.g. as in regard to the weaknesses and strengths of deduction and problem resolving strategies. Group work also promotes personal growth, e.g. in the form of improved self-knowledge and self-confidence. The processing of matters with other members of the group helps one to understand them more profoundly than when working alone.
Cooperation-based learning is one form of the group work; it means learning and studying in cooperation. Studying takes place in small groups with a common objective.