But without careful planning and facilitation, group work can frustrate students and instructors and feel like a waste of time. Use these suggestions to help implement group work successfully in your classroom. Will it be easy for groups to form and for all students to be comfortable? Also think about how the layout of your classroom will impact volume.
Contact Problems associated with group work Due to the nature of working in teams, group members can sometimes find that they are not working effectively, which negatively impacts on their progress, and their ability to be successful.
Some common problems identified by individuals working in teams are: Tasks not being completed by deadline To ensure your task is completed on time it may be beneficial to: Discuss and establish timelines that ALL members can agree on. Ask each member to present a progress report each meeting on what they have completed since the last meeting.
Offer to assist one another to complete tasks if necessary. Difficult to get started To ensure that your group gets off to a good start it may be beneficial to: Take time for all members to introduce themselves, including name, background, specific strengths. Group work a shared understanding of the task by brainstorming.
Ensure each member has an opportunity to speak and make suggestions. Develop an agenda Group work a timeline. Nominate someone to act as the manager or leader, either for that team meeting or for the term of the project. Exchange names and contact details, including email addresses and phone numbers.
Decide on jobs or sub-tasks for each member. Ideas are not thoroughly discussed as a team To ensure that you have enough information to complete your task it could be beneficial for your group to: Ask each member individually for ideas.
If few ideas are generated, organise to complete some further research individually and then meet up as a team at a later date.
Members not contributing To ensure that all members contribute to the group task it may be beneficial to: Establish why a member is quiet or not participating. Communicate that all opinions will be valued. Ineffective communication To ensure effective communication between members it may be beneficial to: Identify specific issues which seem to affect communication.
Consider how to address such issues.
For example, if team members seem to be misunderstanding each other, it may be helpful to clarify what is being said. Conflict between team members To ensure that disagreements between members are dealt with effectively it is important to: Respect the ideas of other group members.
Understand that working in a team requires some negotiation and compromise. Take a break to diffuse the situation and recollect thoughts at a later meeting. Domineering personalities To ensure that people do not dominate group discussions it may be beneficial to: Ensure that each member has a chance to speak, without interruption.
Remind all members that it is important to hear all opinions in relation to the topic and respect those opinions.
Inability to focus on task To ensure that your group does not get off task it may be beneficial to: Set particular tasks to be completed in each session Meet first and then go for lunch after you have completed some work to give yourselves a reward for staying on task Ensure that individuals prepare for meetings and talk through what they have completed since the last meeting.Group work is a form of voluntary association of members benefiting from cooperative learning, that enhances the total output of the activity than when done individually.
Group Work in the Classroom When instructors assign group projects and collaborative learning experiences, it requires students to work with one another to learn the content and apply it to the project at hand, while at the same time learning important lessons regarding cooperation and teamwork.
While the educational benefits of group work are numerous, so are the challenges. Students may feel resentment if a group member does not adequately contribute to a particular assignment, or, a student within a group may become overly dominant and prevent others .
The deliberate study of group work in social work reveals that many spheres of our personal and professional lives are comprised of groups. Whether family groups, committees, work teams, therapeutic groups, etc. social workers are likely to navigate and traverse .
Largely grounded in Vygotsky’s sociocultural theories of learning, collaborative learning can be a powerful strategy in the classroom. Group work can help students uncover and address gaps and misconceptions in knowledge, further developing their conceptual frameworks while improving their public reasoning and team-based skills (John-Steiner and Mahn, ).
Social group work is a method of social work which helps individuals to enhance their social functioning through purposeful group experiences, and to cope more effectively with their personal, group or community problems.