Introduction What is group work and what is it? Group work is usually a group of up to four or six students. Each group is set to work together either by their tutors or self-selecting. Group work is for various learning purposes either set by tutors or students. It gives students the opportunity to share ideas, resources, and ability. Group work gives opportunities for students to get to know each other and form working relationships to gain and achieve a better understanding of particular group assignment work that can develop their skills, such as communication, listening, and team working skills.
The motive of group work is to improve both the learning achievement and learning efficiency of individual students by keeping learning active, helping students to develop their critical thinking, progress their greater responsibility for their learning. Moses, John and Bell, Bob (1995 p88) suggested that group work allows students and each individual to “recognise each others strengths and weakness. ” Why work in a group?
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Jaques, D (1991, p9) said, “Teaching and learning in small groups has a valuable part to play in the all-round education of students. It allows them to negotiate meanings, to express themselves in the language of the subject, and to establish a more intimate contact with academic staff than more formal methods permit. ” In other words, group work can be very exciting and fun to engage in activities, it is design to reduce the workload and give students the opportunity to share their workload rather than the doing it all alone.
There are many aims and reasons for working in a group, one of the aims is to emphasise on the topic or assignment set, to give students the opportunity to discuss their views and be able to share their own experiences, beliefs, and what is valued to them. Group work is a valuable method of learning because goals are set to accomplish. With fair tasks divided amongst them, support from one another with decision-making, ideas, and communication. People can learn to agree and disagree in groups; they can expand their critical thinking, creative knowledge and form independent decision.
The advantage and disadvantage of group work The advantages in a group task are that students are set to carry out responsibilities to achieve their work. In a group, everyone gets to learn not just from the tutor but also from other students to give everyone the opportunity to share and discuss their work for support and feedback to avoid disagreements and disappointments before meeting the deadline. The disadvantages can be when each individual feels that they have been set with tasks that are more difficult or when individuals do not pull their own weight to research and learn.
When members of the group do not stay on track and are just passengers that do not stay around or bully other team members, it does not only intimidate the person but puts the group under pressure and make the group work harder to accomplish. Problems in the group Problems in the group can be very common and should be dealt within the group. Even though common problems are usually dealt amongst the group as mature students sometimes the lack of communication and understanding can lead to an uncomfortable working group and low insignificant marks.
Therefore, it is important that in a group students know how to put aside feelings and differences that they may have against each other so they can concentrate on the work set and the reason for the work being set. Tutors do not get involved in common, problems but it has been known that in rare cases when the students are no longer being professional regarding their work and are putting other students’ life at risk tutors then have to take certain measures to prevent the problem from going further.
Brown, Sally (March 12 1999. ) Other common problems depend on the type of group, each individual’s background, critical thinking, beliefs, behaviour, attitude and so on. Conclusion The conclusion of this research is that “Learning in groups, rather than lectures or presentations, allows students to have greater scope to negotiate meaning and express themselves and their own ideas. It also helps them to establish far more effective relationships, not only with their tutors and trainers but with each other. (Routledge, 21st Decemeber2006. ) Making group work an effective way of learning. To help students understand the reason of the group work exercise and the different roles that group members can have by their strength and weakness. The conclusion is that group work does not only provide students with effective and collaborative learning abilities but also the knowledge and preparation of real job employment requirements needed in every job.