I'm not a fan of group work in school & I haven't encountered many people who are. I don't have anything against the idea; in fact, I whole-heartedly support the intentions behind it. Unfortunately, there is a disconnect between those intentions and the reality of what I've learned from such experiences.
I can only assume that group work is a part of our educational career because it's an inevitable part of the "real" world. But, in my mind, the two situations are too different for it to be an effective exercise. In school, individuals know that ultimately their success or failure is dependent solely on their performance. (At least this is usually an assurance attached to group assignments in the classroom, no doubt from years of student-driven uproar.) Outside the realm of education, however, such guarantees vanish. Everyone depends on one another to accomplish the task at hand, thus the individuals' success or failure is inextricably tied to that of their groupmates.
Why the difference? If we're meant to learn about collaboration and delegation, why is the incentive to do so removed from the equation? If my only motivation is to do my allocated part of the project or task, why do I care about the quality of the end result?
This frustrates me especially because I've experienced both sides. I've worked in groups outside of the realm of education & it's been an enjoyable experience, something to be proud of. I've also been a part of groups in an educational setting and felt embarrassed at the end for how poorly it turned out.
Perhaps I've got it backwards. Now that I consider it, I can see how my very same argument could be applied in the converse manner, i.e. that the "real world model" offers less incentive to individuals than the "classroom model" does. I suppose it could be my nature to be more motivated & to feel more ownership toward a group project when we're all in it together, so to speak.
Thoughts? Anyone care to offer the counter-argument?
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