CL1 - FAQs: "My students don't like or want to work in groups."













"My students don't like or want to work in groups."

There are many reasons why students may not want to learn in a group setting. They may feel that some members won't pull their weight. They may have had a bad experience in the past. They may realize that collaborative learning places more responsibilities on them whereas a more passive learning approach is just that: passive. They may be comfortable with the lecture-based approach and resist group work merely because it involves change, not because it is a collaborative learning approach.

As with other changes one makes to a course, if there are uncertainties, go slow. Incorporate simpler, less risky tasks into the lecture (concept tests, pause techniques, etc.) and see how the students respond. Embrace a single group task that requires a short period of time (2 to 3 weeks) with ample in-class time to ease issues of scheduling. If this is successful, include two collaborative projects or one that is longer in duration or one with greater out-of-class responsibilities during the next semester. And remember, it may also be uncomfortable for you as the instructor to try these student-centered learning approaches especially if your teaching and higer-education experiences were solely lecture-based ones. Let your students know this and seek their advice on how to make the transition go smoothly.

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