Handbook on Teaching and Learning in Political Science and International Relations
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Handbook on Teaching and Learning in Political Science and International Relations

Edited by John Ishiyama, William J. Miller and Eszter Simon

With a focus on providing concrete teaching strategies for scholars, the Handbook on Teaching and Learning in Political Science and International Relations blends both theory and practice in an accessible and clear manner. In an effort to help faculty excel as classroom teachers, the expert contributors offer representation from various types of institutions located throughout the world. Split into three distinct parts, this book discusses curriculum and course design, teaching subject areas and in class teaching techniques.
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Chapter 28: Group work in political science: how to get collaboration into the classroom

Bobbi Gentry


When we consider the variety of tools in the pedagogical toolbox, as faculty we often consider group work with both excitement and hesitation. Students consider group work a mixed bag depending on which group they are a part of, and faculty worry about conflicts that may arise as a result of group assignments. Successful group work assignments highlight collaboration, set expectations, build on the strengths of students, provide opportunities for every student to contribute and encourage interpersonal skills that students will use in their future. Group work requires some careful consideration on the part of faculty to attempt to address biases that students might have coming into the work. Successful group work assignments will encourage students to collaborate, communicate and engage in higher order thinking. Group work in the political science classroom is an opportunity to create an active learning environment and encourages the development of collaborative skills. Faculty should carefully construct assignments that are meant for a group and consider discovery or problem based assignments to make group work a success.

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