new topic, working in groups

Deb Britt debbritt at
Mon Jun 24 10:40:21 EST 1996

In article <v01510102adefb232abe2@[]>, dlb17 at PSU.EDU (Dianna
L. Bourke) wrote:

> Anyway, here's the new topic. Those of us in academia are currently being
> bombarded with a concept called collaborative learning, ie. working in
> groups to achieve a certain goal. In science, this is also being pushed in
> tandem with a concept called "problem based learning" which approaches
> learning science from a problem solving mode instead of more traditional
> information based lectures.
> I am trying to incorporate these techniques where I
> feel they are appropriate, however, it really goes against my grain,
> because working as an intrinsic part of a group drives me crazy!!! It's OK
> if I have MY OWN clearly defined research project or classes to teach or
> committee projects to complete, but with very few exceptions, I dislike
> working on a single project with others. I have always hated team sports!
> So my question: Are there many other women scientists that feel this way?
> Were you always like this, or did you get trained this way? Any men
> scientists feel this way? What do you think of collaborative learning in
> introductory courses vs. advanced/grad courses? Interested in your
> thoughts.
I am all for collaborations and cooperation between scientists/lab groups,
but I hate being part of a "group" for a project, and I always have!  In
every such situation I have encountered, the one or two people who were
most strongly motivated to do well were the ones who did all the work.  I
think this is definitely a personality thing, rather than training, as I
have felt the same way as far back as I can remember.  I don't think we
should force students at any level to work this way. Learning teamwork and
cooperation are important, but should be done in the context of each
individual having a defined role.

My three year old son is taking a computer class at his daycare, and he
told me this morning that he doesn't like working with a partner - maybe
this is a genetic trait!

Deborah Britt, Ph.D.
Medical Oncology
RI Hospital/Brown University

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