Setting Up Effective Group Work
Truly collaborative group work is complex and messy, so we have a few tips and tools to get students working interdependently.
By Jeff Knutson
January 11, 2018
Courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action (CC BY-NC.4.0)
Research supports what we probably already knew about student collaboration: It’s integral to learning. We know that collaboration helps students build their interpersonal and social and emotional skills. We know that students don’t learn facts in a vacuum; social learning helps them build a more meaningful understanding of the world.
Everyone loves collaboration. But simply bring up group work and… that’s a different conversation. Group work is one of the most common types of student collaboration. It’s also complicated and messy, and never quite works out as well as we’d like. Some students feel like they’re doing most of the work. Others feel left out. Motivation wanes. Assignments get cobbled together, and nobody feels like they have real ownership of the work.