After entering the universities, all students come to experience team assignments (group work). Some people say that one of the various differences between university and high school is whether the team assignment is done or not. However, can we all agree that team assignments are necessary work for us? Through the team assignment, you can learn cooperation and new thought that you couldn't have before, or you can meet and have new friends who have different majors. On the other hand, we can see also that so many students complain about team assignments: for example, “Although it was a team assignment, I did it alone from research to presentation. However, every team member got the same grade.” In April when the assignments overflow, how do you prepare your team assignment?
- Debate Topic -
How Do You Think about Group Work?
Kim Sungmin /
Department of English ’11
Universities these days have many group works as part of the class curriculum. It has become almost impossible to avoid team projects for university students, as almost all the classes require it as part of the grading. Whether it is a presentation, discussion, or a written paper, working with other classmates is a necessary part of university courses. I personally hold a positive view towards having group work as part of the classes, because it develops skills needed almost anywhere in society, and it allows students to get to know each other more.
First, working in a group helps students towards better cooperation. This is an important skill needed in today’s society, especially in companies where the workers need to cooperate with one another every day. Cooperation involves listening to others’ ideas and being less obstinate with one’s own ideas. It also involves different roles requiring equal effort from all of the members in the group, for example a leader, writer or speaker. Lots of group projects will then also help students to figure out what kind of roles they are good in or are most comfortable with. Furthermore, group work allows students to develop their discussion skills. Most Korean students are not very used to sharing their ideas or participating actively in class discussions. Being able to express our ideas and listening to others’ opinions helps broaden our thoughts.
Second, group work gives students opportunities to get to know their classmates more. It is difficult to become friends with other classmates except for the ones sitting near or the ones already known outside of the class. What is good about group work is that students get to share their phone numbers, and spend more time with each other by meeting up outside of class. When forced to talk and discuss material with each other, we naturally get to know each other more and form new relationships. I personally was able to meet and talk to many seniors and classmates in my major through team works, and the relationships formed through this helped me a lot later on. There definitely may be a possibility that group work may harm some relationships as well. However, I feel it is also a necessary experience to work with people who are difficult to accept. It is also a good experience to deal with uncomfortable relationships while also needing to work with each other to get the work done.
Teamwork is undeniably difficult work, since different people have various ideas and opinions. They also each have diverse personalities, some that don’t get along well. Nevertheless, this will be a common experience when students graduate and are put into society. Also, group work is a good method of teaching students, different from the lectures that many Korean students are used to. Therefore, I think that group work is a necessary part of teaching students in universities.
Lee Mina /
Department of Clothing & Textiles ’11
In university, many assignments should be done with other people-team mates. Some really like to work in this way, since they can get synergy effect and make new friends in other majors. However, I think it is not a good idea to do assignments in teams for practical reasons.
First, the most serious problem of teamwork is ‘free ride students’. All students are busy with their studying, assignments, and part-time jobs. Some students shirk their work on some pretext like these things. Some professors use individual evaluations in team work to avoid this kind of problem, but many students do not express their displeasure with teammates easily. Free rides should be very unfair, not only to their team mates but also to other students in the same class. This is because other team mates should work on free ride students’ part as well, and this could be a very time-consuming work. Also, their grade –f it is good, it could be worse- without participating could effect on other’s grade, since students will be graded on relative evaluation. If professors do not have positive way to root out free riders, they should not ask students to work in a team.
In addition, students could not show their full ability and preference. Unlike high school, professors usually ask students to do their assignments according to their personal preference. For example, they can decide report’s thesis statement by themselves. This is really helpful for find one’s aptitude and interest, and study about that specific subject. However, when students work in a team, they should reflect not only their own interest but also others. If we work with teammates who have similar concern with us, it could be a great synergy effect. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that all team members have similar interest. In this situation, some people should work in parts they are not interested in.
Lastly, team work is not a very effective way to work. Every student has their own schedule, and these days students have a wider sphere of activity than before. To work in a team, members should have meetings at a certain time. However, it becomes really hard because of that reason, and this is one of the big difficulties working in a team. Sometimes, this causes free riders even though they do not want to be. Also, team working usually takes more time than individual work because students have to have a long conversation deciding the thesis regarding all the teammates’ work, and dividing their works. Moreover, they should revise their report or Powerpoint materials after collecting other members’ work. This step is not necessary when we work by ourselves. Thus, team working is not a very effective way to do work, and it takes lots of time and effort which can be used in other more valuable ways.