B. Campbell et alThe development of communicative abilities within small group contexts: a cross cultural perspective
As higher education institutions throughout Europe continually search for innovative approaches to teaching and learning, not least as they seek to maximise increasingly scarce resources, students are likely to be encouraged, even obliged, to take more responsibility for their own learning. This will be manifested through such activities as the negotiation of learning experiences with their tutors, completion of projects through collaborative efforts with their contemporaries etc. They will carry out many of these activities in small groups. Furthermore, group activity is likely to be a vital part of almost every job that students graduating from higher education are likely to enter irrespective of the country in which they have studied or subsequently work; they will probably be expected to engage in the co-ordination of tasks with others, to share information, solve problems and make decisions. Communicative ability is clearly central to such activities. It is now seen in the UK as a priority skill in national education and training ( National Skills Agenda, 1998).