Rethinking Group Work

How many of you have problems in your life that clearly only have one answer. Of course some do, but most of the challenges we face in life can have several solutions and each solution addresses those challenges in different ways and with varying degrees of success. From the business sector we here the calls for more creating people, more collaborative people and those that make better decisions. These are not skills that just appear out of know where. They must be taught, encouraged and refined over time. It also, we as education, is something we must place a higher value on. Many of us frequently do group activities in our classes and our student can produce some amazing things. But it seams to me that there must be a shift from evaluating the outcomes of the group work to evaluating the process the students use during the group work. A larger focus needs to be placed on the team dynamics, the import of all group members, how well communication worked and how decisions were made. Part of the presentation of a group project, must include self-reflections by the students. What worked, what did not work and what they would change. Regardless of the success of the outcome of the group work, many lessons can be learned.

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