Group Work

I’m really enjoying this weeks forum on group work. It’s interesting to hear other people’s opinion on group work. Some questions were raised as to whether group work should be marked and if so are we marking the process or the product and our thoughts on students self or peer assessing?

These were all excellent questions. So much to think about. I don’t do a lot of group work for evaluation in my classroom. I have my students practice in pairs, but no evaluation is graded. It would be very difficult to mark group work either process or product when as instructors we’re not really sure if all members of the group have participated equally. I am torn between whether or not to self or peer assess? When using self-assessment, if a student doesn’t participate in the group work but wants a good grade, they will self-assess themselves with a high grade. Have they really learned to that value? If using peer-assessment, this may be a more accurate evaluation, however it may cause some tension between the members when assessing each other. Possibly doing group work for it’s value of learning from each other would be a better assessment rather than receiving a mark? There will always be pros and cons to group work.

This is a good article on why students hate group work. As a learner, I don’t like group work either. This article says students dislike group work because groups make them feel vulnerable individually and I agree with that. I feel that way when having to do group work. Also, it mentioned students are more likely to dislike the group work when it’s poorly designed, due to how it’s evaluated (everyone gets the same mark, no matter how much input). What if all group work was self-assessed? Students would benefit from working and learning together and then follow a rubric guide to assess their contribution to the group work. Given the opportunity of group work or solo, I will always choose solo. Although, I know the benefits of group work, I rarely use it when instructing. Maybe I should consider using it once in a while just to see the results?

Please watch this video, it is so true about group work. This is a good representation of what group work means to me. There’s always 1 bossy member, 1 I don’t care member, 1 always late & then not prepared member and lastly 1 member that has somewhere else to be or something else to do instead.

I do encourage team work with my students. Working as a team is something that’s very important when my students receive their certification in dental assisting, so I instruct them on the positive effects of working as a team to achieve their task as a whole. Some students struggle with this at the beginning, but I encourage it at every lesson until they finally see the positive value in it. At first, they don’t want to help their peers, they’re only concerned with themselves. Part of the way along, they realize that they could really use some peer support and then go looking for their peers. I always say to them, “what goes around comes around so please support each other and work as a team”. It seems to work well.

I really don’t like group work. I’m an introvert that prefers to work alone. I really enjoyed Susan Cain’s video on The Power of Introverts. Cain is an introvert that also doesn’t like group work. According to her video, it’s the extroverts that prefer the group work because they receive their energy from others, while introverts receive their energy from within. I plan on encouraging the introverts to reflect on their thoughts, but also to share those thoughts with the group when it’s appropriate. So as a learner in this PIDP course, I am testing out this theory myself and contributing to the discussion forums and updating my blog on a regular basis. The sharing of my reflective thoughts to the group seems to be a very effective way of learning and with practice it’s actually getting easier. Now it’s time to take this to the classroom and start encouraging my introverted learners to share their reflective thoughts in group work.



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