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최종편집 : 2017.9.2 토 20:43
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What We Learn from School Team Projects
Hwang Hae-soo  |  haisoo08@cau.ac.kr
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승인 2017.08.06  20:00:38
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn
It’s normally regarded that university is a place that prepares students for what they want to do when they grow up. However, due to some of the flawed mechanics of education that is prevalent in most Korean colleges, students often struggle to see how such devices benefit them. One of, if not the most useless method described above is the so-called “team projects” that are taking place even nowadays at school. Team projects can be a great way to prepare students understand what it means to work in a team and how work is assigned to individuals within a group. But team projects specifically in universities are fundamentally flawed in the sense that they do not serve such purpose but rather deter students from any meaningful experiences. What I mean by this, is that while working in a group is hard and is equally inevitable in society, replicating this in a college class environment is impossible, especially in a Korean one. While college isn’t meant for everyone, the implicit cultural norm currently in Korea is that one has to attend college to do meaningful work in life (while this is not true, I believe it is unfortunately the prevailing notion that exists within our society). Thus, students who do not wish to be in class, are often in it and within a group, just as many of those who wish to work hard and achieve class goals are met with people who simply have other desires. Because some group members will have more students who work hard than others, they will get better grades regardless of individual effort put in by a group that has one student who works hard and 4 others who slacks off. This kind of behavior naturally leads to negative cause and effects. Students who work hard are granted with the heavy work load of 4 other members and still their grades would not properly reflect the amount of effort they had put in. Then there’s the matter of different standards in terms of grading. Foreign exchange students in Korean colleges are generally given a pass or fail instead of typical A to F grading, which is arguably fair since they are at a disadvantage of different culture and language in a virtually homogeneous college environment. What is not fair is that when these students join the groups that are graded in a more rigorous way, they must either deal with unfamiliar work ethics or risk being seen as a “freerider” a term used to criticize students who don’t participate in group work and still receive acceptable grades. Such nonsensical treatment in Korean colleges probably won’t add much to their international reputation, since alienating hardworking exchange students by giving them a hard time is bound to reflect in their experiences while studying in Korea. In other words, colleges need to come up with a better way for students to learn teamwork and cooperation rather than just putting a bunch of students together and hand out grades according to their outcome, hoping that the students have all contributed to the work equally. One may argue that measures have been taken to counter such unfairness; there are professors who require not only the result of team projects but also an evaluation of fellow team members and a brief report of how the work was allocated. However, this serves as a mere superficial way of making things look as if everything is alright when really the same problem still persists. Student evaluation may show which member was a freerider, but the people who had to do his/her work instead still had to do it in order to get decent grades. Summarizing group work in an understandable fashion can only be dependent on group integrity, which is most likely to be distorted in some way since it’s unlikely that freeriders would just blindingly accept that they did nothing. As such, enforcing a new and efficient method, as difficult as it sounds, is crucial to a true, hands-on experience of what it means to work as a team. Sure grades aren’t everything. But the essential wrongdoing of this method is that it teaches students both explicitly, through grading, and implicitly, the agonizing effort of having to do the work of four other students, that working hard does not pay off. It promotes inequality and unfairness and at worst, even the tendency to be irresponsible. Tricks to work around hard chores and let others do them for oneself can just as easily be transferred from a student in college to a working individual in a company. Is this what schools really aim for? The answer to that is obvious, and yet the glaring flaw in our current system seems elusive, since it’s still existing, right here, right now.< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >
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