This week we were put into our groups, which was exciting. It feels like the paper is really about to get underway. I feel like the readings this week really relate to the week as we began turning our student groups into effective teams. I did object to one of the first points in the first reading. It states that “Compared to students taught traditionally, students taught in a manner that incorporates small-group learning achieve higher grades, learn at a deeper level, retain information longer, are less likely to drop out of school, acquire greater communication and teamwork skills, and gain a better understanding of the environment in which they will be working as professionals.” I thought this was quite an extreme generalization, even though it is rationalised with stating “These benefits are not automatic, however.” I have had experiences, one last semester for example where I achieved a lower grade than usual when I was put in an unsuitable group. Team members didn’t come to classes, group meetings, tutorials, they didn’t email. Essentially they just weren’t motivated. Therefore not all of us learnt at a deeper level, and didn’t achieve higher grades.
However this group already seems motivated to do well, perform at a high standard, and to set up group meetings. We wrote out a team contract together so as a group we already exhibit superlative cooperation skills.
I think self-selected teams can be successful, but this is dependent on a few factors. The people selecting need to keep in mind that they shouldn’t pick friends if they are not appropriate for the team in terms of pulling their own weight and having a personality that will mesh well with other team members. If people aren’t assertive enough, they will end up with an unsuitable team. So self selected teams can be hard as friends will want to go with friends and if someone doesn’t want another friends in the team, it can cause problems and offend people.
That’s why randomly selected teams or teams selected by a lecturer can be better and a more appropriate so not to hurt anyone’s feelings.