helping students become stronger, more confident writers and communicators
The term “group work” has come to inspire many different four letter words; “love” is not one of them. From my personal experience, and from experiences my friends and co-workers have had, group work can be frustrating. However, there are ways that people can work together peaceably and successfully, and believe it or not, group work can be beneficial for you.
Keep in mind that graduate programs and jobs are all becoming more geared towards the collaborative process of learning/working. Team work is important in most fields and understanding the balance between relationship building and task completion is an important part of working effectively as a group. There are group members who seem to naturally fall into the leadership positions, as well as group members who work better when faced with deadlines. Each classmate you work with has their own personal background and strengths, and they each bring something unique to your learning experience.
There are times when working with a group doesn’t turn out the way you planned. Remember if you run into snags with your group members or the project, you can always discuss these issues with your professor (whether privately or as a group). Professors can help mediate any issues that arise while working with group members and can clear up any clarity issues with the assignment. Your professor is there to help you through the process of learning, don’t be afraid to use them as a resource.
You can also come into the Writing Center for a group meeting. While we aren’t mediators, we can help you overcome some of your group hurdles by providing observational feedback on your group project or paper. Don’t forget to arrive on time with the full assignment guidelines in order to get the most out of the session!
So how do you get through a group assignment without pulling out your hair? While every group project is different there are some basic strategies that may help you work together with your group:
I’ve found that the best thing to do is plan ahead. Look at group work as an opportunity to learn new points of view and practice for your future careers. It will work to your benefit to develop those skills now while you have resources like the Writing Center to help you through the process. Group work is a great opportunity to make use of your resources!