Teamwork Shouldn’t be Hidden

1922470_10154817517105531_3263139239261470285_nAh, group work… it never bothered me as a student.  True, I often found myself doing more than my share or ‘fixing’ someone else’s work, but it didn’t bother me.  I knew my standards were high when it came to academics, and I was fine doing extra work to meet them.

Of course now, with a few more years of lived experience behind me, I realized that it may have bothered those students whose work I ‘improved’.  Sorry!!

But a lot of students hate group work.  They know that they may end up doing more work than other members, or have some jerk think their work isn’t good enough and stay up all night changing it(ahem).  And then how is it graded??  Usually unfairly, right?

I think group work is extremely important.  Learning how to effectively collaborate on a project is such a key skill, and one that I haven’t seen explicitly taught.  I think that should change.

Why is team work often part of a hidden curriculum??  Why would we assign an activity with the idea that students will learn how to work in a team, and then just hang them out to dry?  Either decide to assign team projects in order to teach team work skills, and then find appropriate assessment for that, or don’t assign those projects!  What will they teach?  Frustration?  Annoyance?  To trust no one?

Here is a pretty comprehensive little article about group work.  I particularly like the multitude of suggested assessment options, with pros and cons laid out.

Assessing Group Work

If these skills are important enough that we assign these projects, then let’s prioritize them and ‘unhide’ them from our curriculum.

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