Have you ever counted up how many on-line clubs you joined in? Maybe you have a lot of clubs for group activity in a class if you are a university student. These days, there are lots of group activities that require team work between students in various classes, which could be stressful for them. The Sookmyung times (SMT) discussed it with four
SMT If you have ever participated in group activities, what kinds of courses did you play in? Also what is mainly your role in the group?
AHN I have taken part in many group activities in major classes. When I mostly do group activities, I take charge of doing research in major classes or making PPT in liberal arts.
DARISUREN In SMU, I have done a lot of group activities in many courses. Among them, the most impressive group activity for me is Management Basic. There my role in the group was gathering material and doing the presentation. When I did a presentation as one of the group activities, I felt nervous because that was my first time to present in front of many people, while I felt really great about having completed that work.
MOON From liberal arts courses to majors, I have also participated in group activities. For the most part, I used to play a role as a leader of the group. Generally speaking, I tend to be satisfied with the results. Sometimes, however, there are several problems to do it.
WANG I have participated in team-plays in liberal arts courses like English Speaking and Writing, English Discussion and Presentation, and many specialized courses. I always play a good listener and also give some suggestions related to my experience.
SMT What do you think of strengths and weaknesses of group activities?
DARISUREN Until now I have had less difficulty in participating in group activities as a foreigner. However, some Korean students seem to be uneasy or uncomfortable when the group is formed with foreign students. I think it is a good chance for foreign students to easily make new friends with Korean students, participating in group activities with them. Actually there might be some difficulties for foreigners to make Korean friends.
MOON I think a team play is more creative than an individual play since it is possible to approach an assignment from various angles. On the other hand, it is difficult to work with other people and consider fairness among group members. First of all, it is not easy to arrange an appropriate schedule that meets all of the group members because each of them has personal things in addition to class. Also I have met free loaders who never contact and do not participate. At that time, our group had been doing a given assignment excluding the student, which enabled our group to produce more efficiency for it. But after finishing the group activity I felt discouraged because she got the same result without any participation as one of the group.
AHN While doing a team-play in class, I have an opportunity to know the others’ opinions I have not thought of and perform the given assignments efficiently. Actually, the most difficult thing is on-line meeting with group members because they are too busy to meet in person. Even if conducting on-line meeting, some of them are late or make less contact. In addition, some people don’t play their role on time, so that the whole group activity is negatively damaged. Like Moon, I have done group activities with the free loaders who are very annoying for the group.
WANG When doing a big assignment, it is complex to do by myself. But if we do it in a group, we can divide it into many parts and each member just needs to pay attention to her part, which is more dedicated and easy to complete for each member. Sometimes, however, when I discuss in a group with many Korean students, they often talk with each other in a fast speed of language, which is hard for foreigners to follow. Therefore, I sometimes couldn’t follow them.
MOON I have been in one group with a foreign student in a practice class. It might be difficult for the student to participate because our group’s mission was making broadcasting news or a program in Korean. In spite of the problem, however, she actively tried to participate in our assignment as much as possible, which made our teamwork greater.
SMT What do you think of the most important thing to positively conduct group activities with members?
AHN It is a group leader’s role that encourages unfamiliar students to follow team-play, helps members’ roles to be clearly divided, and promotes an environment where it is possible to communicate with the members, which guarantees half of the group’s success. Furthermore, if the professor considers the process of group activity as well as the results, it enables the groups to be objectively judged.
WANG I think so, too. It is more important to make a definite plan at first with group members and then divide the assignment for each member. In other words, when the parts of groups are well distributed to the members, it can make the best teamwork.
DARISUREN The most important thing is a good communication between group members that encourages one group to perform the group’s mission. Especially, if Korean students respect foreign students’ wills and discuss their role within a group when teaming up with foreign students, I believe that they would make better teamwork as a team.
MOON I agree with Ahn’s opinion. If a professor gives an evaluation form to assess how they perform to each of the group members, or makes groups take minutes to know how the team-play is going on, it could make a fair estimation of group activity. In order to make harmonious group activity, it is more important to lead a positive participation from all of the members without any free loaders than to criticize them or secretly let on to the professor after the group activity is over.