Working in groups has not begun today, but it is a universal learning and teaching practice used by teachers and learners to achieve set objectives. In the past, I have participated in many group presentation right from elementary school up-to-date. Although I have been in group study in the past, I did not put much interest in group work as I have been lately. The growing interest in group work was triggered when I realize that through group work I can achieve multiple goals at once. In this case, I will outline my group presentation experience right from the time group is formed to the end.
For us as the student to deliver in group study, teachers appoint every group a question to tackle that is commonly broad, and by the end of the study, every team is expected to present information collected to other students. Since every student will depend on the data collected and delivered, every group member is pushed to do thorough research.
For a group presentation to function well, an average of 3 to 5 group members are required. The number of 3 to 5 group members is valued more because it makes the group small and easy to control (Brookfield and Preskill, 2012). A team with many group members is often disastrous and difficult to manage. In such a large group, some will fit in, and others are left out, only those who are vocal will dominate. A small group gives every member of the team a chance to communicate, ask and answer questions. In small groups, a discussion is achievable because members pay attention, unlike in large group that leaves some student inattentive. When it comes to work distribution, in the small group every member is given a responsibility that keeps the members involved. Every team has a group leader who is the coordinator and is in charge of all the group activities (Harnack and Fest, 1964).
In a group study, different capabilities are presented by the student. Every student in a class has some areas of strength and others of weakness in group work student are given a chance to show their prowess in their skilled areas by delivering. When roles are being assigned, the students get a chance to pick what they find interesting to work on. For example, some are good group leaders; others are excellent researchers while others are good in presenting in front of the class. Students who are withdrawn in the course have often shown confidence in group work more than classroom activities (Brookfield and Preskill, 2012).
When groups are formed and question appointed to each team, group members first discuss the problem, giving every member an understanding of the subject and what they are expected of them. Depending on the depth of the question, every group member is a signed a task to research and work on. Depending on the time given by the teacher, the group decides when to gather again for detailed discussion and to make a final copy of work which will be presented in front of the class and passed to the teacher for evaluation (Barkley, Cross and Major, 2014).
Group discussions and presentations have their negative and positive impact. On the positives, group work solves student problem of procrastination. Group work is scheduled and demands timely delivery as agreed upon. The students, therefore, are not given a chance for postponing because they have to work and meet the deadline. Students in discussion learn fast then when working alone. In the group discussion, students with different talent work together to help each other in the areas of weakness (Harnack and Fest, 1964). For example, In case a concept explained by the teacher is not well understood by all student, group members discuss the idea and explain to the fellow students in a language that each person can understand. Also working together help learners share new knowledge that others do not have. For example, in a math group study, one may have a more straightforward problem-solving method to share with others creating new learning.
According to Barkley, Cross, and Major (2014), group discussion creates room for the students to learn new perspectives and understand others. Group discussion help student get creative and acquire new learning. In class, students interpret things differently, and in group discussion, the students can ask questions and also share their diverse perspectives on topics. Students at the end of the day end up learning more and beyond classroom studies. In the process of discussing and solving problems, students often end up learning new skills that help improve learning. Classroom learning can be tedious and monotonous. Group work and presenting give the students a new class vibe; students enjoy being in groups as they can interact with fellow students without shying off. The questions are asked and answered in a student language that is fun and easy to relate to. The group discussion keeps the student's mind stimulated to learning since there is a lot of idea exchange and research.
The group presentation is the last and most demanding part of a group discussion. The group has to prove that they were serious by providing relevant information and statistics. To make the presentation coherent, all group members must meet before the presentation and rehearse on what to present. Every group members should be involved in the performance and therefore, the presentation should not be left to one person. During the presentation, they should all assist each other to deliver material collected and backup study done. In case questions are asked, all group members should be ready to answer without waiting on one person (Harnack and Fest, 1964).
Having experienced group discussions and presentation not once or twice, I would admit, it is one of the best teaching methods so far to use in a classroom. Working with other students does not o not only give me a chance to acquire academic learning, but it is a process through which, I have come to learn different cultures and understand people better. The process has helped the students learn to work together as colleagues and friends, bringing out competitive student side and at the same time make the process fun for all.
Brookfield, S.D. and Preskill, S., 2012. Discussion as a way of teaching: Tools and techniques for democratic classrooms. John Wiley & Sons.
Barkley, E.F., Cross, K.P. and Major, C.H., 2014. Collaborative learning techniques: A handbook for college faculty. John Wiley & Sons.
Harnack, R.V. and Fest, T.B., 1964. Group discussion; theory and technique. Appleton-Century-Crofts.
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