Working in Groups

Guidelines for Group Work

The members of student groups may benefit from keeping some common-sense rules and aphorisms in mind as they come to collaborate.

Rule One

Collaboration teaches us what we know how to do, not just what we know. Collaboration teaches method. The activities of collaboration are as important as the material results.

Rule Two

Collaboration works best when it is apparent--when you know that you are collaborating. A certain amount of formality (e.g., established meeting times, a recorder to take minutes perhaps, a group monitor) is called for.

Rule Three

Collaboration succeeds when everybody succeeds--individual members as well as the group as a whole.

Rule Four

Collaboration is a key responsibility in the class experience--it means being involved in the teaching of the course.

Rule Five

No one ever knows how a collaborative activity will turn out.

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Introduction