Why Collaboration Matters: Strategies for Effective Group Work on Economics Assignments

Group work may be an excellent way to inspire students, promote active learning, and improve reasoning, interpersonal skills, and decision-making abilities. However, without adequate preparation and instruction, working in teams may be frustrating for both students and teachers, as well as an ineffective use of time. Use these tips to successfully integrate group work in your classroom.

Preparing for Group Work

Think carefully about how students will be physically arranged in groups. Will it be easy for groups to form and for all students to be comfortable? Also, think about how the layout of your classroom will impact volume. Will students be able to hear one another? How can you moderate the activity to control volume?

Set clear guidelines on professional, civil conduct between and among students to respect people’s differences and create an inclusive environment like Economics Assignment Help Service.

Talk to students about their past experiences with group work and allow them to establish some ground rules for successful collaboration (Knutson, 2018). This discussion can be successfully done anonymously through the use of note cards.

Designing the Group Activity

Identify the instructional objectives. Determine your goals for the small group activity, both intellectually (e.g., understanding of a theme) as well as personally (e.g., reading skills). The activity should be directly related to the training objective(s) and class material, and it should be designed to assist students learn rather than merely spend their time. When determining whether to employ teammates for a certain assignment, consider the following questions: What is the goal of the activity? How will that objective be furthered by asking students to work in groups? Is the activity challenging or complex enough that it requires group work? Do you guys need to hire assignment writing service? Will the project require true collaboration? Is there any reason why the assignment should not be collaborative?

Make the task challenging. 

Consider giving a relatively easy task early in the term to arouse students’ interest in group work and encourage their progress (BAW, 2022). In most cases, collaborative exercises should be stimulating and challenging. By pooling their resources and dealing with differences of opinion that arise, groups of students can develop a more sophisticated product than they could as individuals. 

Assign group activities that promote participation, interdependence, and equitable division of labor. All group members should take personal responsibility for their teammates’ performance and recognize that their own success is dependent on the group’s success. Johnson, Johnson, and Smith (2014) describe to this as an advantageous interconnectivity and believe that this sort of cooperative learning leads to learners supporting one another’s success. Knowing that your peers are counting upon you is a strong incentive for group projects.

Introducing the Group Activity

Share your rationale for using group work. Students must understand the benefits of collaborative learning. Don’t assume that students know what the pedagogical purpose is. Explicitly connect these activities to larger class themes and learning outcomes whenever possible. 

Have students form groups before you give them instructions. If you try to give instructions first, students may be too preoccupied with deciding on group membership to listen to you. 

Facilitate some form of group cohesion. 

Students work best together if they know or trust each other, at least to some extent. Even for brief group activities, have students introduce themselves to their group members before attending to their task. For longer periods of group work, consider introducing an icebreaker or an activity designed specifically to build a sense of teamwork.

Explain the task clearly. 

This means both telling students exactly what they have to do and describing what the final product of their group work will look like. Explaining the big picture or final goal is important, especially when the group work will take place in steps (such as in snowballing or jigsaw). Prepare written or visual instructions (e.g., charts, sequential diagrams) for students. Remember to include time estimations for activities. 

Set ground rules for group interaction. 

Especially for extended periods of group work, establish how group members should interact with one another, including principles such as respect, active listening, and methods for decision-making. Consider making a group contract. See Group Decision Making, a CTE teaching tip prepared for students working in groups, and Making Group Contracts.

Let students ask questions. Even if you believe your instructions are crystal clear, students may have legitimate questions about the activity. Give them time to ask questions before they get to work.

Monitoring the Group Task

Monitor the groups but do not hover. As students do their work, circulate among the groups and answer any questions raised. Also listen for trends that are emerging from the discussions, so that you can refer to them during the subsequent plenary discussion. Avoid interfering with group functioning — allow time for students to solve their problems before getting involved. You might consider leaving the room for a short period. Your absence can increase students’ willingness to share uncertainties and disagreements.

Be slow to share what you know. If you come upon a group that is experiencing uncertainty or disagreement, avoid the natural tendency to give the answers or resolve the disagreement. If necessary, clarify your instructions, but let students struggle — within reason — to accomplish the task.

Clarify your role as facilitator. If students criticize you for not contributing enough to their work, consider whether you have communicated enough your role as facilitator.

Final thoughts

Group learning can be effective regardless of people’s socioeconomic status or whether they’re put into a group with the same people throughout the year. However, the advantages of this active learning environment are only observed when it is done right. 

Group size, how groups are assigned, and how the teacher manages the groups can have both a positive and negative impact on learning. Due to the potential disadvantages, some research suggests that group work should only be used in moderation by allowing simpler tasks to be completed individually and more complex tasks to be completed in groups.

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