The Challenge of Dealing with Group Dynamics in Group Exercises: Collaboration using Google Slides

Posted: October 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

Creating a proper atmosphere and structure that supports group exercises (both in class and take-home) is a very important and hard task for the instructor. It can be challenging for the instructor to control the flow of the class, evaluate the students, and create friendly and inspirational environment within the groups. The instructor should also pay attention to the ups and downs of any kind of collaborative or collective project development. The group dynamic can be destructive, if the group members don’t get along well or can’t agree on the division of the roles. And if done properly, it can be very pleasant, productive and useful for the student and can help them in leaning proper interaction and collaboration in a team. It also depends on the ability of the instructor to design the activities and assignments and their evaluation methods intelligently and innovatively, and also to make class atmosphere friendly, safe, motivational and respectful in order to make a lot of the collaborative techniques (with or without digital media) successful in the context of a classroom.

The collaborative exercise done in the classroom, using Google slides made me think more about group dynamics. First of all, I believe the instructor should pay a lot of attention to the scope of the exercise, the allocated time for the exercise, and the number of students in each group. In other words, paying attention to simple details as such will change the exercise to a great extent for the students. For example, if there are too many tasks to be done in one exercise in a short amount of time, the exercise would lose its power and the students can’t function well in a group to come into a proper conclusion together. Therefore, when time is short, the instructor should either reduce the number of tasks to make it more practical, or let students do the exercise in groups of two or even perform it individually. Many times groups with the size of three or more can create a dysfunctional dynamic, especially if the group members do not have enough time to discuss the questions properly in the group and come into a common decision at the end. Additionally, the instructor should pay attention to the fact that if the students are put randomly in a group to work with each other on a big project or exercise, they might not be compatible with each other and become frustrated in doing the work. Therefore, when the teachers assign group activity, they should be very meticulous and take the details related to the tasks, the timing and the group dynamics very seriously in the pre-planning of the project/exercise.

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