GROUP DYNAMICS TO IMPROVE TEAMWORK AND COLLABORATIVE COMPETENCIES IN CHEMISTRY STUDENTS
University of Alicante (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:The development of tools for improving teamwork and collaborative competencies has become very important in the teaching-learning process at different educational levels, including university, being one of the basic and indispensable competencies to be reached by students. Teamwork can help students to be more effective in solving problems in a successful way compared to the use of individual efforts.
The term “group dynamics” refers to the interactions between people who are talking together in a group setting. According to Kurt Lewin, a social psychologist and change management expert in group dynamics in the early 1940s , people often take on distinct roles and behaviors when they work in a group. "Group dynamics" describes the effects of these roles and behaviors on other group members, and on the group as a whole. The development of new group dynamics can be considered as an innovative tool in Education for the acquisition of competencies related to leadership, decision making, collaboration and communication with the goal of favouring students’ interaction inside the team. These group dynamics are highly valuable to help students to reach a common objective and they are also a first starting point to develop key job competencies for their future professional careers.
In this work, four different group dynamics were developed to improve teamwork and collaborative competencies in students from the first year of Chemistry degree. Furthermore, these dynamics were tutored and mentored by PhD Chemistry students, supervised by one professor. The developed dynamics mainly consisted of:
1. A thinking exercise to motivate students to think about the way they feel inside the team, which is their individual role and how they can participate and reinforce the team.
2. A brief mimic game to reinforce the communication and interaction between all individuals inside the team to get a common goal. A relaxed atmosphere was created to highlight the importance of the internal communication inside the team.
3. A dynamic called “Group Pyramid” with the aim of discussing a list of priorities for the team for the development of a research work, quantifying them in percentages as an analogy to the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs .
4. An “Elevator Pitch” dynamic to evaluate the organisation abilities inside the team when working under pressure and a restriction of time; in particular, their implication with the team as well as their own role to get a common objective.
Finally, the satisfaction degree of students with the developed activities was evaluated by performing several surveys, showing very positive responses and resulting in highly motivated teams with clear objectives, evidencing their achievements when working all together in a coordinated way. In summary, it can be concluded that group dynamics are an excellent tool to help degree students to increase their competencies for their integration in work teams and successfully accomplish a common goal . Therefore, group dynamics are necessary elements to be implemented in the teaching-learning process and should be introduced in the learning programs, particularly in the first years of university degrees.
 Lewin, K. (1947). Frontiers in group dynamics. Human Relations, 1 (1), pp.5-41.
 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201205/our-hierarchy-needs. Last Access March 2019.
 Forsyth, D. R. (2018). Group dynamics. Cengage Learning.
Keywords: Group dynamics, teamwork, collaborative competencies, Chemistry Degree.