7 Benefits of Group Work in the Classroom

Feb 21, 2019 by

They say two heads are better than one. And three heads are better than two. Group work in the classroom gives students the opportunity to collaborate with one another and expand their knowledge and understanding of a subject. Growing as an independent, individual is also important for students but don’t downplay the benefits of working in teams or small groups. Keep reading to learn 8 reasons to plan group activities in the classroom.

1. Teaches Teamwork

This is one of the main (and most obvious) benefits of offering group work in the classroom. Assigning your students a group project forces them to work together as a team. The natural leader of the group will undoubtedly take “control” and start delegating tasks. And that’s okay! As long as the other student’s don’t feel bullied or belittled, let them explore their personalities and learn how they work together. Children need to learn to put their pride aside and do what’s best for the team. If one student is a talented artist, perhaps they’re in charge of creating the storyboard or presentation visuals. Another student who is more outgoing and vocal can be the speaker of the group. Working together, students learn to highlight their own personal strengths and support their teammates. Group based projects are great for this type of arrangement an offer additional benefits. Check it out here.

2. Strengthens Social Skills

Shy or introverted students love nothing more than being left alone to work quietly by themselves. And while everyone needs some quiet time to gather their thoughts and work independently, it’s important for students to interact with one another. This helps strengthen their social skills and prepare them for the workforce. Through group activities, students must communicate effectively with one another (more on that later) and interact with classmates they might not normally talk to. This is another benefit for students who are hesitant to break from their comfort zones. Working with the same friends on every project doesn’t force students to better themselves or expand their horizons. Group activities, designed by the teacher, give students the opportunity to work and get to know other students in the class.  

3. Teaches Accountability and Responsibility

Most group activities require each member to complete a different task, or at least work together to create the end result. And there’s nothing better than students holding each other accountable. Over time, the “nagging” and reminders from parents and teachers start to sound like the muffled loudspeaker voice from the Charlie Brown series. Students tend to block out authority figures, but are more apt to listen to classmates. Not to mention, if the group wants a good grade and that means everyone needs to do their part. Students in a group hold one another accountable for completing their part of the work. Each member is responsible for a different piece of the project and most will complete it to avoid upsetting their team members. And that’s as good incentive as any!

4. Strengthens Communication Skills

Working together doesn’t always mean strengthening communication skills. Resistant students or those who struggle to communicate their thoughts and messages effectively really benefit from group projects. If they come to the table with an idea, they must work at communicating it to the rest of the group. This means finding new and different ways to get their message across. Maybe it’s through text, pictures, or verbally. Students learn to take ownership of their thoughts and express them in new and different ways. It helps build confidence and create working relationships.

5. Gain a New Perspective

Individual work is very one-sided. Students are only exposed to one belief — their own. Working with a group helps open student’s eyes and broaden their perspective about a given subject. It may also deepen and build on their understanding. If a student is struggling with a specific concept or subject, working in a group offers new and different ways to view and understand a topic. Fellow group mates explain how they understand or view the subject, which may resonate more with the student than how it was originally presented to them. Sometimes, simply hearing the same message in a new or different way can make a world of difference in terms of comprehension.

6. See the Benefits of Pooling Resources

Some strong minded students find it difficult to work in a group. They become possessive over their work and ideas. While being strong-minded and strong-willed are good attributes in life, they can also be a detriment. Others may see it as being self-serving, egocentric, and stubborn. A strong-will is a valuable quality but students need to learn how to work together to succeed in school and in life. Taking complete control over a situation or group isn’t what group activities are about. It’s about delegating tasks, taking ownership of different parts of the project, and pooling everyone’s resources. Allowing each other to utilize their strengths, results in a stronger, more well-rounded finished project. When the leader takes over too much control, the project only shows their vision. Group work helps these types of students let go of control and see the benefit of utilizing everyone’s strengths.

7. Real World Scenarios

This is really the culmination of all the benefits of group work discussed here. The real world and workforce are all about collaboration. Working closely with coworkers to create a finished project is a requirement in most jobs. Even if your job requires minimal group work, learning how to effectively communicate and socialize with others will serve you well in the long run. The same can be said for learning to delegate but also learning to step back and let others utilize their strengths at times. Group activities are the perfect opportunity for interaction, brainstorming, and problem solving to prepare students to handle real world problems.

Whether you choose small or large group activities, getting students together is an essential part of any classroom dynamic. Teaching them to work together, compromise, and pool resources are not only beneficial academic skills but life skills as well.

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