Expert Voice: Study groups enhance performance

Dear counsellor, I believe in team work, but my fellow students have refused to embrace it. I believe it can help us reap big in our academics, so how do I convince my friends that teaming up will help us achieve more in our studies? Yours, Jeremiah

Dear counsellor, 

I believe in team work, but my fellow students have refused to embrace it. I believe it can help us reap big in our academics, so how do I convince my friends that teaming up will help us achieve more in our studies?

Yours, Jeremiah

Forming study groups can be an excellent strategy for enhancing student motivation, fostering intellectual agility, and encouraging cooperation amongst fellow students. This is because groups inspire and create avenues for students to practice and sharpen a number of skills like communication and critical thinking which provide opportunity for intensive understanding and ultimately improved academic performance. The formation process sets the foundations for effective group work in the future. However, convincing classmates to join discussion groups can be quite complex and somewhat disappointing simply because each person has different natural and acquired capabilities including perception and interpretation of experiences. These strengths determine how they think and make decisions. Your classmates may have difficulty recognizing what they gain from participating in groups. Strategise your approach in communicating the significance of group discussions to the students in classrooms, during school assemblies, social events such as picnics, parties and outings.

Fortunately, careful planning should guide you about who you should target for recruitment to obtain consent of the members. Look for the most focused and motivated classmates with unique talents, knowledge or new ideas to be shared and boost group discussions.

The formation process sets the foundations for effective group work in the future. Run regular education and group sessions and give them opportunity to voice their thoughts while setting clear objectives and goals for the group discussions. Encourage members to get actively involved in discussions so they could be productive and stay on track.

A great way for each member to contribute is to assign specific topics and have each member instruct the group. Groups can however turn inefficient if too many people take part, as it becomes more difficult to coordinate, communicate and maintain the necessary study discipline.

Thus, a small size of around 4 to 6 people can be an ideal size to minimise socialisation and maximize individual contribution. It is best to study in environments without distractions. Most school libraries contain group study rooms. Explicit ground rules or guidelines can help to ensure a respectful environment for discussion. You will become better learners.

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YOUR DEBATE

Eric Gatangaza, student

Have a clear discussion with your class members and convince them how important teamwork is if you are all to excel academically. It’s obvious that students may not buy into any idea without any evidence that it’s productive or will benefit them in future. So come up with new approaches, and highlight major benefits you as students are likely to enjoy once you team up.

Noah Kiiza, student

Share your idea with your teachers. Teachers obviously are aware of how the spirit of team-work can help their students make most out of their studies; it’s an initiative that enables students to join their efforts, work on their weaknesses and learn from one another. I am hopeful that your teachers will help sensitise your colleagues about your idea and thus promote it.

Sonia Aliza, student

As you sensitise your fellow students to consider your good ideas, don’t forget to highlight that effective teamwork and collaboration not only helps you as students to efficiently complete your school tasks but can also open your eyes to ideas and solutions you can’t realise individually. Besides, teamwork teaches you how to have interpersonal skills, and greatly helps to draw upon each other’s unique strengths.

Mary Ukwibishaka, student

Put in mind that every good initiative starts with one step at a time. Initially, first team up with those who are more interested, and others will join you in time as they witness the progress of your team. Remember, such an initiative can’t happen in a day, but still it remains a productive call that everyone should embrace.

By Dennis Agaba

 

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