Essential College Skills: Teamwork: Learning and Collaborating with Your Classmates
Love them or loathe them, group assignments are common in college classrooms. It's important for students to learn how to collaborate with other students in a beneficial, respectful way. A good grade depends on how well the team completes the assignment. But, more importantly, students learn how to integrate ideas, assign duties, and follow through with responsibilities, which is good preparation for real-world workplaces.
Mention "group assignment" to a classroom of students and you'll likely hear a chorus of groans. Students taking classes online may be used to working alone, but even online courses are increasingly offering – sometimes requiring – real-time collaborative learning opportunities. Students may recall bad group experiences: hard-headed leaders, lack of peer follow-through, poor quality of work from others, and more. By doing your best work and respecting others' input, group projects can be fun and rewarding. Remember, your future boss will require collaboration with colleagues, whether you like it or not.
Follow these tips for college group work success:
To paraphrase one of history's great educators, John Dewey: Gaining knowledge is not the point of learning. The point of learning is to share knowledge and experience.
Group work may be tough to manage at times, but it is valuable preparation for life after graduating from college. Be open to others' perspectives and take the opportunity to lead when you can.
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