Higher Learning institutions have a wide variety of methods that can be used to determine the level of productivity of each and every student. One of these ways is group discussions. As much as group discussion may have proven to be beneficial, time conscious and more resourceful in the past, modern students may have a contrasting opinion regarding the same (Burns, 2014 p. 34). Reasons such as the potential of reducing the student’s attitude and self-belief in great performances are just but a few of some of the quoted facts. This study provides further details.
To begin with, it has been proved that one of the major challenges facing the student fraternity as far as group works are concerned is the fact that at one point in time, students may encounter negative experiences in their respective groups and this may end up affecting their future expectations and obligation of great performance. The worst feeling that could catch up with a student is the fact that he feels that he is the reason of his poor performance in school. In most cases, students hate failing but if they fail, they would rather have it blamed on someone else (Burns, 2014 p. 34). Second to note, there are particular topics and sub topics that even when discussed by students, do not outline the requirements and objectives of the learning course. In other words, students would prefer thematic discussions rather than open ended ones as this may end up sending them on a whole new wrong turn of achieving success. Additionally, there are specific topics in all the learning courses that have short and concise facts that when given the opportunity to discuss among students, will more likely achieve the same results that would have been achieved through personal works. (Burke, 2013 p.56).
Reliable sources of information reveal the fact that no matter the direction of the group discussions, the value of the teacher is still as invaluable as it were in normal theoretical classes. In reality, this is a poor approach to tackling education studies in the sense that it is out to exhaust the capabilities of students without paying attention to their respective growth and development processes. Additionally, students feel that teachers may have taken a safer approach to this matter by making group work a unidirectional objective rather than a multi-dimensional idea. Diversification of learning objectives would do a great justice here (Burke, 2013 p.56). In addition to the above, fourth to note is the fact that instructors have by far been attempting to rub into the mentality of students that group discussions are good for their growth and development in academic studies yet no one in particular has been able to say how. The fact that teachers are patronizing students gives them the impression that instructors are all about satisfying their course objectives without considering the level of comprehension of different concepts (Hillyard, 2010 p. 38). It is only reasonable that if the instructors so much insist that group discussions are beneficial, they should simply share the knowledge with students.
Away from the positive impacts of group discussions, it comes out clear that students may end up resenting group works due to unequal distribution of workloads among different groups (Kurtz, 2013 p. 34). In higher learning institutions, students that are bright enough end up getting in the company of each other while the slow learners are left to scramble and scratch for group mates. Instructors may decide to assign the bright students complex or task that may take longer to complete and assign the simple tasks to the slow learners. In a whole new perspective, a particular portion of students have the opinion that group discussions have a positive impact in easing the understanding of some of the complex topics of a particular course. Through sharing of information from the teachers to the students, it becomes obvious that chances of exchanging a wide collection of reliable concepts shoot a long way above the expected rate. Renowned sociologist and professor of Harvard University Daniel Goleman has the opinion that learning is supposed to be dimensional process where the teacher as well as learners are open to taking ideas from each other so as to improve mastering of basic courses’ concepts.
Back to the idea of attitude and positive progressive learning, research has proved that for a student to excel in his studies, he is obliged to establish the right type of mindset during all learning sessions as this will increase his chances of mastering the concepts ideally. In cases where the students have no idea what the learning objectives might be, the capability of fostering a great positive mindset goes lower. To be able to secure a constant positive mentality, it takes the power of the personal belief of the student to trust that there is more to success other than just the success of studies. During group discussions, other lazy students would like to leave all the researching activities to hardworking students. In the long run, the group ends up being dysfunctional owing to the fact that there are specific stakeholders that are not contended with the services that the lazy and ghost participants of the organization might be offering (Olson, 2015 p. 34). In such a case, it is without doubt that the quality of the outcome that the group will present by the end of the discussion session would be totally sub-standard. This would be a negative way to end the learning period. As far as the management of the assigned work goes, at isolated occasions the instructor might be out of the picture either legitimately or for whichever reason but the bottom line still remains that in his absence, the student leader or representative will be forced to complete from wherever he stopped. In relation to this, other students think that the class representative may be working hand in hand with the instructor so that he can receive extra points especially in most difficult courses (Watkins, 2015 p. 54). Moreover, it is only fair to establish a fair and level learning ground to all students regardless of the differences in between.
In conclusion, to this point of the study, it has successfully been established that group discussions have both demerits and benefits depending with the perspective of the researcher. For instance, in an instructor’s point of view, he only sees that he is encouraging the learners to embrace other new methods of learning. On the other end, student feel like group discussions are a safe way that lecturers use to avoid the concepts of complex topics of the various courses of each learning session. To sum it all up, the objectives of group discussions need to be revisited.
Burke, W. (2015). Organization Development. UK: FT Press
Hillyard, C. (2010). University Students’ attitudes about learning in small groups after participation. New York: Active Learning Publishers.
Kurtz, S. (2013). Learning Communication skills in Medicine. New York: AMACOM
Olson, M. (2015). An Introduction to Theories of Learning. New York: Psychology Press Watkins, K. (2015). Informal and Incidental Learning at the workplace. Routledge: Routledge Publishers.
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