AUSTIN, Texas – Co-workers who team up to solve problems or work on projects can benefit when they have less in common and take turns spotlighting their different expertise, according to new research from The University of Texas at Austin. The findings have implications for how managers can better form and manage teams so all voices are heard.
It’s no secret that group work is a staple of the classroom experience. By working together, students can learn about cooperation and communication. But what if group members don’t have much in common? A new study has shown that this can actually lead to better outcomes. When group members are different from one another, they are forced to communicate and cooperate more effectively. This can lead to a deeper understanding of the material and improved group dynamics.
Successful group work boils down to how each member feels in the group. Are they valued? Do they have influence? Do they feel like they can contribute? When group members have less in common, it’s more important than ever to create a safe and supportive environment. By doing so, students can learn and grow from their differences.
When students have less in common, they are more willing to share more. This has a negative effect in a classroom if there is a strong social hierarchy. Someone higher up on the social totem pole is likely to dominate the group, leaving others feeling left out. It’s important to create a level playing field where everyone feels like they can contribute. This can be done by assigning roles, giving everyone a chance to speak, and making sure that no one person is doing all the work.
By putting the teacher into the manager role, they can provide stability and a comfortable environment allowing students to express themselves freely. This also allows for the teacher to be more flexible with group work and create a learning experience that meets the needs of all students.
Different group work experiences will work for different students. It’s important to experiment and find what works best for your class. There is no one right way to do group work, so don’t be afraid to try something new. Your students will thank you for it!
Do you think group work is beneficial in the classroom? How do you make sure that everyone in your group feels valued? Share your thoughts in the comments below!