Group study in and out of the classroom is strongly advocated in this article. Group study improves students intellectually; when done effectively, it stimulates interest and increases confidence; effective group dynamics also improve classroom management strategies.
Group study is typically resisted by students until they are exposed to, understand, and experience its benefits (1) Group study involves sharing of: ideas, personal and collective time management, and task preparation; cooperation amongst group members; collective responsibility both for the group task and for each other's welfare; and a willingness to be an active group participant. (2) These attributes are needed for truly successful group participation.
Group study has benefits that fall into the cognitive [what we think and know] and affective [how we feel and express our feelings] domains. (3) Such study enhances student social skills, helps bolster student confidence, and helps students practice assertiveness. Group study skills are transferable to other tasks. Learning quality group study skills prepares students to enter expanding work arenas where teamwork is demanded. (4)
Group study requires students to articulate what they know to fellow group members. It also requires students to listen to fellow members' ideas. (5) These group activities sharpen members' communication skills as well as enhancing their cognitive skills. Well prepared group members likely will have read, observed, or thought about assignments in variant ways. Such diversity awareness, tolerance, and acceptance is another group study benefit. Being aware of, understanding, and applying diverse learning styles and learning outcomes implicitly prepares students for later vocational and community realities.
Group study validates what students really know if they are required to articulate in the presence of others what they have learned. When they are able to...
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