Effective Team/Group Work
After our first attempt at group work this year, we decided it was rather ineffective. After our class evaluation,
we made this summary:
- Some people sat too far apart during group work. They either couldn't hear what other group members
were saying or they had to yell when they should have been talking naturally.
- Some people didn't take group work seriously.
- Nobody wanted to take the role of leader.
- Some people "held the floor".
- Some mocked the comments of others, and so on.
Why is effective group work a desirable goal?
- Group work is a change from teacher-talk.
- Group work gives everyone a chance to contribute when they may not do so under �teacher talks �
students listen' circumstances.
- Group work can be fun.
- Group work trains us in "team work", a co-operative working method used increasingly in the world
Some effective group work hints
Eight Points for Attention
- Sit in a circle.
- Limit group size to five.
- Choose a leader.
Let everyone have a say
- Group work means. everyone in the group should have a chance to talk.
- The group leader should ensure this happens.
- Effective group members help those in the group who may be shy, retiring or switched off.
Learn to listen
- As well as talking, listening is a valuable skill.
- "Contributing" means participating. You can participate by listening to what people are saying and think about why they might have that viewpoint;
(CoRT 1, Lesson 10, OPV).
- Effective group work is about talking at the appropriate time, listening at the appropriate time and questioning at the appropriate time.
- Effective group work is about co-operation, working together and moving forward.
- Look for the positive things fellow group members say.
Group work is not a power game where you put other group members down.
Build on strengths
Deal with weaknesses
- Who in the group has the best ideas?
- Who needs help to feel a part of the group?
- Who needs to be "toned down" a bit?
Expect different roles
- In some group work, you will have the leadership role.
- In some group work, you may know little about the subject being discussed.
- In some group work, you may be the "expert".
Expect to learn new skills as you become more experienced
Some skills that develop with experience and help make group work much more effective are:
- Note-taking skills.
(Learning how to note key points while fellow group members are talking.)
- Giving a review to the class from the notes you made while the group work was in progress.
- Learning how to compromise.
- Learning how to be sincere, encourage, support and work with fellow group members.
- Learning how to explore situations or opinions rather than judging them.
Prepare for ACTION
- Group work is not a show of strength, of arguing skill or debating power.
- Group work is not a forum where you have to win.
- Group work is about designing a way forward, co-operatively, so that something positive happens as a result of group efforts.
W G Allan Social Sciences Department: Tikanga-a-iwi