Group work is a beneficial tool for learning

Julia Weinrod

We’re two months into school and classes have already assigned tests and loads of homework, all while missing a school staple: group projects. Group work should be brought back in full force; not only is collaboration enjoyable, it’s essential.

Encouraging collaboration provides important social benefits to the underclassmen, who until recently, had all-virtual classes. Many of them still unfamiliar with their classmates, should be encouraged to work together allowing them to get to know one another.

These benefits are not limited to younger grades, as numerous upperclassmen have transferred into Wilson. Furthermore, teacher-assigned groups can build bridges between cliques, forcing students to partner with people they never would have imagined they could become friends with.

The back-and-forth of brainstorming provides engaged students a lower-pressure environment, rather than in front of the entire class. People who explain content to others benefit as much as those listening because the action of explaining reinforces learning and highlights weak spots. This interaction also takes a burden off overworked teachers, especially as class sizes increase.

Teachers should acknowledge the possibility that all group members may not contribute equally, and create ways to measure the contributions of each individual member.

While there is still room for individual work in the classroom, especially for evaluating progress and understanding, a healthy balance between solo and social activities is important. Different students have different needs and learning styles. 

However, cooperation is not just needed in the classroom. Workplaces need collaborative adults who know how to give and receive help. As we’ve seen in the past year and a half, the internet enables and promotes working together even when people are in distant spaces. There are numerous COVID-friendly ways to connect students, some through school projects, and the benefits are not to be overlooked. •