Can Instructors Expect Students to Resolve Group Conflicts if they Donít Actively Teach this Skill?
Conversations and Strategies on Actively Teaching, Enhancing and Assessing Student Group Conflict
Whitney Scott & April Taylor
As faculty in higher education are encouraged to shift increased responsibility for learning onto students, group assignments and projects have become a common feature in college classes. However, these group projects often involve group conflict and tension; but to what extent do faculty provide students explicit instruction on how to effectively collaborate and resolve peer conflicts? This workshop will discuss practical strategies faculty can use to (1) help students navigate these group conflicts and (2) assess what students gain from engaging in group projects.
This workshop is primarily aimed for college/ university instructors who teach courses where pedagogical strategies such as collaboration and group work are heavily used. Student group conflict does not differ dramatically across disciplines; additionally, more and more academic disciplines are embracing group projects and assignments as essential parts of the undergraduate experience. Consequently, this workshop will be of interest to most instructors on a college or university campus.
Upon completion of this workshop, participants should:
- Be able to quickly adapt and modify courses to better meet the student learning outcome related to collaboration, teamwork, or conflict resolution.
- Be able to better assess how students are gaining from group experiences and group member conflict.
- Have gained a new perspective from the studentís point of view. Students are forced to confront these uncomfortable conflicts in many of their courses, sometimes simultaneously, so we must deepen our understanding of this process for students.
Whitney Scott, PhD & April Taylor, PhD Ė Department of Child and Adolescent Development
Whitney Scott and April Taylor are Assistant Professors in the Department of Child and Adolescent Development at California State University Northridge. After teaching a number of seminar courses that require undergraduate students to work in groups, they observed students consistently struggling to manage group conflicts.