This article should be available to any library that subscribes to SAGE journals online. It stresses that collaboration is something that needs to be taught and practiced in formal courses, and divides up the instructor’s duties into the stages of preparation, practice, and performance review.
Especially helpful are these recommendations for keeping in-class group activities on track:
- Focus attention on the purpose of the project: In small groups, ask students to brainstorm methods of refocusing a group discussion. Ask students to role-play reactions to statements and list the methods in order of effectiveness.
- Encourage participation and positive collaboration: Address active listening, questioning, and restating techniques to ensure that students participate and provide input during group discussions. Encourage students to engage in positive collaboration among team members and
referee any unconstructive feedback or personality conflicts.
- Establish a timeline: Demonstrate how to create a timeline by working backward from a deadline. Discuss delegation and prioritization techniques to ensure a balanced yet productive group experience.
- Keep the project on track: Although individual team members may
work on separate tasks, students should be coached to schedule team meetings throughout the project to discuss progress, encourage group feedback, and share ideas. They should also be coached to accept new ideas and revisions to the plan that enhance the project (rather than perceiving changes as negative aspects that prolong the team endeavor).
- Negotiate conflicts: Ask students to role-play the differences between
affective and cognitive conflict and practice impartial methods to resolve any problems.
Well worth checking out.