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Rehman et al.41

responsibility. Sincere and friendly teammates are also a concern for a considerable number of students (24.2%). One of the students commented as follows:

I feel comfortable in a group where the members are sincere, friendly and where everybody can share the work equally.

A small number of students (8.5%) considered whether they had the opportunity to work independently within a group.

I prefer a group where I can work independently and do not prefer those who like to dominate the group members.

Some of the reasons presented above might be aligned with the characteristics of cooperative approach, while some others are consistent with collaborative approach. Therefore, students might not feel comfortable in working with their group because of their different choices. However, if they are insisted upon to work as a group, some members may not be satisfied in working with each other within the group.  This concurs with our experiences in involving teaching-learning processes at IER.

In response to the ability concern in group composition to make the group work successful, the majority of the students (71.7%) opine that they prefer a group with a mixing of high and low ability students, while some students (15.1%) prefer a group consisting of high, mid and low ability students. While the majority of the participant students find a group more successful with a composition of high and low-ability students, it seems to be at odds with the group compositions what Blumenfeld, et al. (1996) suggested for the success of a group work.

We have also experienced that students at IER tend to belong to the same group though the tasks are different. This experience triggered our interests to explore students’ considerations in this regard. Students’ responses appeared to suggest that more than half of them (53%) always liked to work with the same cohort, because they thought it was convenient to work with the members who already had an established understanding with each other. In contrast, a large number of students (45.8%) did not like to work with the same members as they thought working with different members could bring variation in the task. As well, it gave an opportunity to know others who they did not know well, which helped to learn new things/ideas from new group members. The abovementioned result suggests that there are two distinct types of students at IER in choosing the same cohort every time. Therefore, it is rational to argue that if a group is formed by selecting members from these two distinct types, some members may feel upset in working within the group.  

Group Norms. As previously discussed, effective group work requires students to follow some norms, such as how they behave if a conflict in ideas arises and how they generate everyone’s point of view. Students’ responses indicate that they (84.94%) usually argue with logic and evidence, listen to other’s opinions and finally negotiate to come to a consensus by co-constructing ideas where needed. This result again confirms students’ preference to constructivist learning. As there are some students (3.62%) who avoid such kind of argumentation and usually go for the opinion with majority in the group, they are likely to avoid conflicts as suggested by Blumenfeld, et al. (1996). However, another small number of students (3.62%) argue that they want to establish their ideas at any cost. This also concurs with existing literature discussed earlier.

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