The Importance of Teamwork in Education

team work in education

Teamwork is defined in Webster’s New World Dictionary as “a joint action by a group of people, in which each person subordinates his or her individual interests and opinions to the unity and efficiency of the group.” This does not mean that the individual is no longer important; however, it does mean that effective and efficient teamwork goes beyond individual accomplishments. The most effective teamwork is produced when all the individuals involved harmonize their contributions and work towards a common goal.

It is important that students learn to function in a team environment so that they will have teamwork skill when they enter the workforce. Also, research tells us that students learn best from tasks that involve doing tasks and involve social interactions.

One of the first things that an instructor must recognize is the difference between an individual working as part of a group and an individual working as part of a team. Below is a list of the differences that exist between these categories. After reading through the list, it should be clear what the difference is and which one would be ideal in a classroom.



  • Members work independently and they often are not working towards the same goal.
  • Members work interdependently and work towards both personal and team goals, and they understand these goals are accomplished best by mutual support.
  • Members focus mostly on themselves because they are not involved in the planning of their group’s objectives and goals.
  • Members feel a sense of ownership towards their role in the group because they committed themselves to goals they helped create.
  • Members are given their tasks or told what their duty/job is, and suggestions are rarely welcomed.
  • Members collaborate together and use their talent and experience to contribute to the success of the team’s objectives.
  • Members are very cautious about what they say and are afraid to ask questions. They may not fully understand what is taking place in their group.
  • Members base their success on trust and encourage all members to express their opinions, varying views, and questions.
  • Members do not trust each other’s motives because they do not fully understand the role each member plays in their group.
  • Members make a conscious effort to be honest, respectful, and listen to every person’s point of view.
  • Members may have a lot to contribute but are held back because of a closed relationship with each member.
  • Members are encouraged to offer their skills and knowledge, and in turn each member is able contribute to the group’s success.
  • Members are bothered by differing opinions or disagreements because they consider it a threat. There is not group support to help resolve problems.
  • Members see conflict as a part of human nature and they react to it by treating it as an opportunity to hear about new ideas and opinions. Everybody wants to resolve problems constructively.
  • Members may or may not participate in group decision-making, and conformity is valued more than positive results.
  • Members participate equally in decision-making, but each member understands that the leader might need to make the final decision if the team cannot come to a consensus agreement.

The value of the team approach over the group approach is obvious.A� It is a matter of ensuring the faculty and students understand the difference and work towards teamwork!

This entire excerpt is taken from

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