Partners? Groups? Alone? What teachers and students think on these topics


Brianna L.

Kenza Kharbouche and Candace Pinto are sitting at a table, helping each other study for a vocabulary test. They are working in partners

Brianna L., Fall Author

Do teachers prefer students to work in groups, partners, or by themselves? I prefer to work by myself because I get the work done a lot faster and if you fail the assignment, it’s your fault you failed. If you work in groups or partners and fail, it can be somebody else’s fault that you failed when you could’ve earned and A+. That wouldn’t be fun, but let’s see what other people think about working in groups.

Teacher Thoughts

Teachers are good to interview because it’s always fun to see their point of view on certain things that we like or enjoy. Most kids like to work in groups or partners, but what do teachers think about group and partner work?

The first teacher interviewed was 6th grade language arts teacher,  Mrs. Duffy. When asked if she prefers when students work in partners or groups, she responded with, “Depending on the assignment, I usually prefer when kids work alone. I think they work better and they’re more focused and there is less distraction.” Mrs. Duffy has a count of twenty-two students in her first block. When asked if they preferred to work in groups or independently, the results weren’t surprising. Three kids raised their hands, saying they prefer to work alone, leaving the other nineteen students to say they prefer group work. But the majority of students raised their hands for group work, said they only prefer it when they can choose the people in the groups. 

The next teacher that was interviewed was Mr. Malmstrom who teaches both seventh and eight grade. When asked if he liked when students work in groups, he answered, “Depends on what we’re doing, This year I’m doing a lot more group work. I believe students work better in groups because if they keep hearing from the same person, they’ll shut me out. Whereas if they are listening to a peer, they have a better chance of learning.” When he was asked what kind of projects he put his students in groups for, he responded, “Presentations. I also like to do book club. I’ll put them into groups to read and talk about the book. Projects I think can be a waste of time, but if they’re planned correctly, it can be a good thing. I’ve been trying to make my class more like the real world, you’ll have someone there to help you. However, individual work is good too because you aren’t always going to have someone to rely on.” 

The last teacher is Mrs. Early who teaches sixth and eight grade. I had her last year for American History and we did a good amount of partner and group work. When asked if she thought sixth graders or eighth grader work better and why, she said, “Sixth graders work better in groups; I don’t think I have an exact answer for why though. It might be because sixth graders are fresh out of elementary school.” When I was in her class, for certain projects she kind of let us choose our groups. She would have five or six topics and she would tell us to pick the topic we would want to be involved with, so we would get to choose the topic and the other students that chose the same topic, would be in your group. Most of the time she would either do stuff like that or she’ll pick our groups.

Student Thoughts

A sixth grade student at Woodbridge Middle, Daniel Jimenec, shared his opinion 

on working in groups. He said, “I prefer to work alone.  Some people take advantage and make you do all of the work. I think I work better by myself because I can concentrate more on my work.” Well, I agree with him, working alone allows you to get more work done and concentrate more. He also mentioned that he prefers to choose the group when working in them. Willmy Ruiz, a seventh grader at Woodbridge Middle said, “I prefer to work in groups, sometimes I can’t think of ideas and people can help me.” 

Another seventh grader, Ruth Mathew. said, “Alone, when I’m with a group or a partner, I’m not focused. I prefer when the teacher picks the groups because if they let us pick, I’ll pick my friends and talk.” Sounds understandable enough. 

Eight grader, Andrew Jones said,”I prefer to work in partners, it helps you remember the stuff better and it makes the experience more memorable.” He continued, “If it’s a class of people I know, I don’t mind if the teacher picks, but when the teacher trusts you enough to let you pick your partner or group, I think it’s cool.”

What do you think about partner or group work? We all have own opinions, but I must say that I wasn’t surprised that most students prefer to work in partners or groups when they are allowed to pick them and work and when the teacher picks.