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Section 6: Group work

Introduction

Group work is an important part of student experience in higher education because:

  • It encourages students to work together and, in theory, learn together.
  • It puts students into a situation where they are confronted with issues relating to communication, organisation, delegation, co-operation, and working with others from different cultural and social backgrounds.
  • It is argued that skills develop from the successful negotiation of these areas; skills that can be applied in many social situations outside HE, and particularly in the workplace.

However, these skills do not arrive by a process of metamorphism: it is not sufficient to put students in groups and ask them to work together; students need to be supported whilst they learn the skills to function successfully in this situation.

This section engages students with the following issues:

  • Unit 1: Group work: its role in higher education.
  • Unit 2: Group Roles
  • Unit 3: Presentations.
  • Unit 4: Managing group conflict.

Units 1-3 offer approximately 50-60 minutes each of classroom activity with students, and additional information on these activities is offered in these guidance notes.

Unit 4 is different in that it pulls together learning points from units 1-3 in a film of short 10 episodes, each relating to an aspect of group work in HE, so it needs to be watched and discussed over a period of time. The film has been made by the universities of Bradford, Brunel, and Leeds, and is a resource developed for the LearnHigher Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL).

Teaching tips have been included from HE tutors who have used the exercises in the past with HE students.

Guidance Notes for Tutors