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1. Why do so many college students dread a class project that receives a group grade? What can be done to ensure this type of group is effective?
Group work is a very interesting, yet difficult type of work. Working in a group teaches students to be less selfish, work under pressure, search for understanding, become more disciplined and equally active. According to the definition in the book, a small group is “a collection of individuals who share a common purpose, are independent, operate with organizing rules, and see themselves as a group” (Vo, 2012, p. 190). In other words, the members of any group should be all equally involved in the process of work, follow established rules and share the common interest to set a high pace standard of work and accomplish a project successfully.
A small group’s results are counted as a common achievement of all the members of the group, taking into consideration the overall results in general and judging each student separately as well. Therefore, each student brings into the team his own quota, which impartially might be bigger or smaller than someone else’s in the group. Nonetheless, the teacher would have to grant each student the same grade for the task, though even knowing that some students worked harder than the others. Despite the fact that each person separately has different capacity and potential for the group work, the teacher will disregard this information.
Group work for a shared grade is important in the classroom, as it helps to develop such qualities as team building, shared responsibility, respect for the ideas of others, and a skill to find a consensus. It also teaches students to go through all the stages of the problem solving process, letting them decide upon it while being part of a group. For this reason, working as a team will encourage each member to work equally hard on the common task, thus enhancing the results of the project and ensuring equal responsibilities.
2. What are the “rules” (typically unwritten) for problem-solving in your family group? Contrast those procedures with the “problem-solving” group procedures described in this chapter of the text.
Problem-solving is a complex process of finding a solution for an uncommon situation; this process requires defining the issue, analyzing the possible ways of solving the issue, implementation of the ideas that might prove useful, and the actual problem-solving on practice. The problem-solving sequence is a good representation of what usually one’s mind goes through while searching for a solution to an issue. Nonetheless, one does not actually consciously goes through each and every step. In addition, group problem-solving rules vary depending on the group.
When having a husband and two little boys, it is not always easy to find a solution which pleases everyone in the family. In addition, boys are still too young to decide serious questions with us, they are only 3 and 4,5 years old. However, we still want them to express independency and responsibility, so we always ask them for their advice, and let them know that they are welcome to express their opinion. But, after all, as the boys are still too young, my husband and I are the ones who take responsibility and choose to decide by authority. It is especially relevant when inspecting the vital problems concerning the house, economic and other problems.
In all other instances we act as a real serious problem-solving group. For instance, there was a time when we have decided to buy a new car. My husband and I had taken a look at the advertisements and chose a few models. After my husband and I had defined the issue, we started evaluating possible solutions by matching the list of our needs to what we could afford. We showed our boys the pictures of five best suited cars and told them that they could help pick the color they liked. After negotiations two cars left for my consideration. As a family, we had decided to try both cars out first. Nevertheless we had gone through the whole decision-making process together, I had the last word. It is difficult to decide all by yourself, this is why I need someone’s opinion for evaluation, nonetheless the final decision is all mine.