Small Group Teaching

Small group teachingWhy is small-group learning so important?

A large proportion of the most meaningful learning at University happens when students are working in small groups, be it in seminars, tutorials, practical and laboratories as well as with their peers outside their timetabled sessions (independent study time).

Working in small groups can allow students to embrace a range of interactive and collaborative skills which are often hard to develop in individual study situations, and impossible to develop in large-group environments such as lectures.

Many of these the small-group skills they acquire will help them with obtaining employment or pursuing further studies. Key skills such as:

  • Coping with the normal difficulties of interactions between human beings
  • Working in teams
  • Managing time and processes effectively
  • Listening to others’ ideas sympathetically and critically
  • Thinking creatively and originally
  • Building on others’ existing work
  • Collaborating on projects
  • Seeing projects through to a conclusion (Race, 2007, p.126)

Learning in groups allows students to develop cohesion with their peers, when classes are becoming so large as to preclude feelings of whole group identity, particularly under module schemes where large cohorts of students come together from disparate directions to study together on a module.