Group-work and Teamwork Why Do Teachers Assign It?
Since I began teaching at Globe University-La Crosse in January of 2011, I have taught five different courses. In each and every one, I have incorporated some sort of teamwork based assignment or project. Why is this? My students often groan and whine, “But I would rather do it by myself. Why do you teachers ALWAYS make us work together?” “In my career, someday, I won’t have group projects, so it is a waste of my time.” Or, my personal favorite, “They will hurt my grade. If I have to work with someone in my job, at least they won’t be affecting my grade.”
As I write this I see other instructors rolling their proverbial eyes at these students, and nodding their heads in agreement because they have heard these things too. What students seem to forget is that no matter what career that he or she is going into he or she will have to work with someone else. In the veterinary clinic our veterinary technicians will need to be working with pet owners and veterinarians to get the procedure accomplished. In the healthcare management, medical assisting, and medical administrative assisting fields, workers will be interacting and completing patient histories, invoices, and records with several other people, all of whom need to be able to read and understand what is on that file to make the transaction with the patient as smooth as possible. The same holds true for massage therapy, too. More and more massage therapists seem to be working in conjunction with chiropractors or physical therapists to ensure that the client is getting the therapy he or she needs to fully recover from what ails him or her.
Students working in business or accounting might be thinking, “Nope, not me. I have to keep track of the books and other things all on my own.” But if one person looks deeper, someone is going to be auditing the books, someone is going to be editing the business plan, and at some point a business might need a bank note, which will require another outside person to look at the books for the business to determine whether the business is
eligible for that loan.
Many people think that information technology professionals work alone, but who is running that help desk that seems to always be overloaded? Without the ability to work as a team with the person on the phone he or she will not be able to solve the problem by directing that person who needs the help to the solution he or she seeks.
Paralegal and criminal justice student will be working within the folds of the law, and in this they will be forming teams with local law enforcement, attorneys, public defenders, clients, victims, and witnesses all of whom might be easy or difficult to work with.
The skills and lessons learned while in college go beyond algebra, biology, radiology, parasitology, psychology, or web design; the lessons learned in class are also intended to teach students to interact with and work around other (sometimes difficult) people who are trying to help or hinder them in a particular task.