I have often spoken out about the mis-use of group work in today’s schools, grouping kids together to do projects that could more efficiently be done individually. (See, for example, Group work) I’m not opposed to group work that is genuine (for example, in theater, sports, or engineering senior design projects). Nor am I opposed to pairing students in labs to share equipment.
My objection is to the idea that forcing kids to work together on projects that they could more easily do separately somehow prepares them for the workforce, or is “good for them” in some other way.
Another person who sees group work in a similar light is Katherine Beals. Her latest post, Out In Left Field: Real-world group work, talks about how groups in the “real world” of work are organized, and how greatly this differs from the usual school “group work”. The basic idea is that most “group work” in the real world consists of occasional group meetings separated by intense individual work, and that groups are often highly hierarchical. Who the boss is and how effective they are makes an enormous difference in how well a group works.