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new topic, working in groups

Jane Dorweiler dorwe001 at MAROON.TC.UMN.EDU
Fri Jun 21 13:27:54 EST 1996

> It seemed most people in the group were so unmotivated and to
> avoid getting a bad grade, one had to do all the work oneself. The
> alternative was trying to badger the other group members into taking
> responsibility and actually doing some work. I think it is unfair to ask
> kids to be responsible for motivating other children. Perhaps this
> approach to learning is better applied at later educational stages, e.g.
> at the undergraduate or graduate level, where the average student
> motivation is higher.
I do understand and agree with the comments above -- to a certain extent.  I was
often in the same position, as the one solely responsible for the lion's share 
of the work.  Nonetheless, I think that this valuable skill and social training 
is imperative...early.  I think that the key is not to drop group work 
altogether, but instead to design projects in such a way that individuals are 
still accountable for definable portions of the work, and that success be 
measured both individually and for the group as a whole.  Granted, I do not say 
this lightly.  I know from my own teaching experiences that this is VERY 
difficult to design into the project.  Nonetheless, I still think that even a 
less-than-perfectly (though not poorly) designed group project is more valuable 
than no group experience at all.  

Jane Dorweiler                 **  Regardless of what they say about the 
Department of Plant Biology    **  cat, curiosity is a good thing.  It's 
University of Minnesota        **  what makes each and every one of us
dorwe001 at maroon.tc.umn.edu     **  a scientist!!

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