The nature of the university classroom continues to change. One of the most apparent pieces of evidence of this change is the large-sized, first-year, lecture-styled class. This style of teaching is usually one-directional, for several reasons, such as:
This creates a need for students to work on learning the course material primarily outside of the classroom. The formation of study groups have been found to improve the learning experinece for many first-year university students. Here are some of the benefits study groups provide:
The study group can be one of the best places to get your questions answered about confusing/difficult course material. Quite often, as there is strength in numbers, some member of the study group will understand some of the material, and others will find other elements of the course understandable. Taking turns in explaining the difficult parts helps build confidence in all the members. And when no one understands it, you can all go together for help, which saves the professor/Teacher's Assistants the time of repeating it five or six times. The study group allows for a good course review, so even when you understand material it is good to review the material by explaining it to someone else.
The study group has to form a meeting time and then adhere to the agreed-upon times. This actually helps all members develop self discipline, by sticking to a schedule. If you find that you are not keeping to the study group hours, that other things seem to have a higher priority, work harder on self discipline.
All members of the study group can improve his/her problem-solving abilities, by working together to solve difficult questions. And if the group does this on a regular basis, all members will learn the skill-set required to solve any type of problems. This can be a definite asset, to be transferred to other courses, and eventually to a future career.
Being able to work as a team member is a skill that can only be learned by doing. There are definitely challenges to working in a group, but the rewards outweigh these challenges. And making it work can lead to lifelong friendships among the team members.
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