Research has pointed out that quality of teamwork is better than that of individual work. I’m sure you also know that group communication plays an important role in any team or group. However, do you know how to develop these skills? Let’s hear Sarah Worley, instructor in communication, explain further:
Why are group communication skills important?
The importance of group communication can be seen in both academic and daily life environment. You need these skills to enthusiastically and positively get involved in any group activities in your life and to get on well with others when you have group work with them. In the academic world, these skills become more important as teamwork plays a vital role in both study and work environments. There is concrete evidence from research that teamwork enhances the quality of learning and working, and knowing how to develop good communication skills is really important to all of us.
Is it fair when we evaluate different students based on the same work?
I don’t think so. First, we still have an Individual Evaluation Form, in which each student will be evaluated by other members in their group. Sometimes, students are also required to clearly state what each member does in their project. So, we still can keep track on how much effort each student put into their individual work.
Second, the main purpose of any communication class is to give students a good preparation for their future career. In real working environments, interaction with colleagues as well as with supervisors is really important. Thus, what we are trying to do is to prepare our students for not only their teamwork in the future but also for the professional business world. They need to know that perfect fairness rarely exists, especially in a real working environment.
Some students are shy, how can they get involved in group communication?
It’s a matter of leadership. Leaders play a vital role in making teamwork’s progress. A leader doesn’t need to be the best person at studying or working, but they must realize what each member does best – in other words, what their strengths are. Some students have really good ideas but may be too shy to speak. Good leaders know who might have good idea in this area and by suggestion, give the group member confidence to talk about their idea.
Some students have strong personalities, how can you to avoid quarrels in group work?
The more you work with others, the better you know how to get on well with others. By knowing some basic rules and practicing, you gradually develop good communication skills for yourself. Remember that everyone has his or her own personality, so be patient with and willing to listen to each other. A “group contract” is quite helpful in avoiding arguments. The contract should be the first thing that a group sets up. All members of the group should sit together, talk about requirements for members and reach a group contract.
-Thanh Nguyen’ 14, Juniata Online Journalist