Working in a Group Environment: How an Others-First Approach Can Strengthen Your Education
The group environment is an educational setting that you will have to experience at some point in your “learning career,” and it will likely start very early. It doesn’t matter whether you enjoy the group dynamic or not, there are times when it is unavoidable. And when you consider the advantages that it brings to your life, it’s easy to understand why. Love or hate it, group studies enhance the overall strength of your education and prepare you for the outside world. Here are some positive takeaways from this type of scenario.
1. Learning by Listening
Groupthink is not as emphasized in early education, although it is still utilized in order to acclimate you to working with others. But the maximum benefits are achieved later in mental development when you start to realize that there is an outside world beyond yourself. Understanding more difficult concepts and being able to think for yourself come from listening to others’ ideas and synthesizing them with your own experiences. By learning how to listen more effectively, you will essentially be learning by listening. The sooner you realize you don’t have all the answers, the sooner you will have all the answers – or at least a lot more than you did before.
2. Pooling Ideas
There is a reason that an author has editors and proofreaders – different things though they may be done by the same person – help on the finished product of a book. It is impossible for the author of a 100,000-word opus to catch all the lapses in logic and grammar or syntax mistakes that can occur during the course of a novel. In much the same way, a subject is far more complex than its initial concept. You don’t learn how to solve for an algebraic variable and then declare that you’re ready to tackle the math section of the GRE exam.
There is still much left to learn, and you can more quickly pick it up if you are able to get input from a number of different sources, who are focusing on different aspects of complex subject matter. This ability to pool ideas helps you gain a lot of ground in a more complete understanding of the material, and it enables you to pick it up more quickly.
3. Networking Connections
In addition to pooling your ideas and sharpening your listening skills, group learning also helps you through the ability to network with others. Public education is designed to teach at a set pace – a pace that you may not be able to keep up with on your own. In a classroom of 30 students, not everyone will have the same skill set. Being able to rely on your peers to help fill in some of the gaps, while you fill in for others, is a huge benefit to educational development. It also helps you establish relationships that may help you later in life as you move through your educational careers while teaching you the necessities of networking effectively. And that will definitely be of use to you even if you never see your group members again following graduation.
4. Thinking of Things (and in Ways) You’ve Never Thought of Before
Everyone is predisposed to a certain style of learning or thought. You tend to learn in a way that makes you feel comfortable, but excelling in your career path means being able to think in ways that you’ve never thought of before. This leads to a greater understanding of your classmates, and will eventually help you appeal to others in business or job interview settings.