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With the implementation of the KBSM, group work has become a more common feature of school work. Students used to be evaluated solely on their individual performance through tests and assignments. Now students are asked to work together on group projects, and marks are given based on their group performance. What are the advantages and disadvantages of group work?

The underpinning of group work is that students can pool together their resources and help one another. There is specialization of labor. A member of the group may be good at leading discussions. Another may be good at gathering information from libraries and other sources. A third may be good at writing utilized for the benefit of all. Compare this with individual assignments. One person has to handle the task from the beginning to the end: from planning to writing the report. When the job is divided up among the group members, the workload is shared. The quality of the work would be better because of the sharing of ideas.

Group work is beneficial for the character development of students. The marks given for a group project is for the whole group. This makes the group members accountable for doing their part in the project. They work together for the common good of the whole group. In this way, they cannot be selfish. When students do individual work, they tend to be very competitive. Should they have any new idea or extra sources of information, they would keep them to themselves. In group work, students have to share what they have. In the process of working together on a group project, students learn to cooperate with one another. This attitude prepares students for working life whereby they have to work together with their colleagues as a team.

The concept of group work is definitely beneficial but not all the benefits can be reaped due to the human factor involved. Some group members want a free ride. They let others do the work and do not contribute at all. Or they submit slipshod work and other members have to redo their work for them, thus wasting time and effort. Very soon, they would be left out of the discussions. The cordiality which exists at the beginning is lost. Group members who have been working hard feel that it is unfair for all of them to get the same marks when some are not contributing at all. It takes a good leader to manage the members to see that they do their part in the group project.

Sometimes much time is wasted in group discussions. Group members forget the purpose of their meetings and start to talk about other things. As a result they do not achieve much. They go on to do the tasks delegated to them without consulting the others. This happens when the leader cannot direct the discussion effectively. The group still manages to submit a group report, but the report is usually badly organized with poor linkage between the different parts of the report. As expected, they get low marks for their group project.

Group work is beneficial for students' academic and personal growth when the group members look beyond their individual interests to the group goal. Willingness to work towards the group goal ensures effective functioning of a group.

Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1. How are students usually evaluated in KBSM ?
  2. Why is the workload lightened in a group project ?
  3. How does group work reduce competition among group members ?
  4. Why must students learn how to cooperate with one another ?
  5. Give two moral values which are inculcated through group work.
  6. Why are some group members not asked to join group discussions ?
  7. According to the passage, who is crucial to the success of group work ? Give two reasons to support your answer.
  Fill in the blanks with one correct word from the passage.
  8. A good ______ in a sports competition is usually a result of extensive training.
  9. Before getting into the swimming ______, the public is required to take a shower.
  10. Some child abuse cases are discovered by doctors who notice burn ______ and scars on children brought to their clinic.
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They are usually evaluated through their group work.


They share the workload among the group members.


They are no longer competing against one another, but working together as a team.


Teamwork spirit is important for their working life later.


Two moral values that are inculcated through group work are: (i) Being accountable for their work (ii) Cooperating with others.
  6. They do not contribute significantly to the group work.
  7. The group leader is important because: (i) he can make sure that group members do their part. (ii) he controls the progress of group discussions.
  8. performance
  9. pool
  10. marks

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Comprehension 1


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