CL1 - More Information: Teamwork and Group processing




Teamwork and social skills

The ease with which students talk in groups in the minutes prior to the start of class does not indicate how well they will work in a small group on an academic task where they must rely on one another. The assumption that students will actively listen, be respectful and thoughtful, communicate effectively, and be trustworthy is not always correct. Often, time must be set aside to work on these and to point out that teamwork skills are essential for achieving the course goals. One way to enhance student social and teamwork skills is to set aside some time occasionally to discuss these issues. This sends a signal to the student that these skills are important and can clarify these social and teamwork skills. This self-assessment survey method is also useful for group processing.

Group processing

Group processing provides feedback to group members regarding their participation, provides an opportunity to enhance the members collaborative learning skills, helps to maintain a good working relationship between members, and provides a means of celebrating the group's successes. One strategy is to ask each team to list three things the group has done well and one that needs improvement (Smith, 1996). Instructors can also encourage whole-class processing, whereby he/she observes groups and provides feedback either to individual groups or to the entire class.

Cooper, J., Prescott, S., Cook, L., Smith, L., Mueck, R., and Cuseo, J. (1990). Cooperative learning and college instruction: Effective use of student learning teams. California State University Foundation, Long Beach, CA.

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T. (1987). Learning Together & Alone, Cooperative, Competitive, & Individualistic Learning. 2nd ed., Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., and Smith, K. A. (1998). Active learning: Cooperation in the college classroom. Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company.

Smith, K. A. (1996). "Cooperative Learning: Making 'Group work' Work" In Sutherland, T. E., and Bonwell, C. C. (Eds.), Using active learning in college classes: A range of options for faculty, New Directions for Teaching and Learning No. 67.

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