Why Group WorkOn September 28, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
I think when you start to think about your own teaching and someone says group activity, it’s really hard to conceptualize when you begin teaching, Why should that make any difference? I mean, teaching is, information is presented and then, somebody remembers that and then, they’re tested on it. I mean, that’s sort of the basics. But what we found out is, there’s very little learning that happens, unless there’s some engagement. So, there’s a huge role of brain chemistry in all of this. And, it it turns out that if you track sort of brain engagements, you can, you know, you do things like major brain waves and everything, and look at the course of a day for your average undergraduate student, they are basically flat-lined during their lectures. There’s no brain activity. Its, it skyrockets when they’re in a laboratory, and then it goes off the charts when they’re in social interactions with their peers. Ok, so that’s what we know about the brain, when you’re engaged. So, by bringing in group learning, it’s taking advantage of that brain engagement, brain chemistries, social interaction to augment learning. So, you’re much more likely to retain much more information in a much shorter period of time. It also moves from a very bleak sort of one person talking to a large group of people dynamic to where you’re on equal footing, and in a way you’re utilizing that information to come to a right answer. And, the best analog for that is we could sit here and talk about how to ride a bicycle for three or four hours. Right? I can tell you everything about how to push the pedals, how to hold the, you know, do everything. And then, you would learn more in riding a bicycle in the first 15 seconds that you’re riding the bicycle. And, the group activities trying to move that learning experience to that, you’re no longer just listening to somebody going, ‘ok, yeah, I think I get this, I think I get this.’ You’re within your peers and you’re using that knowledge to try and convince other people to be convinced by other people, and utilizing that all the time, and learning more because of that interaction.