Communication and Compromise
A group project is one of those experiences students need to work through. Not only is it good practice in communication and compromise, it’s an experience they will likely confront again in their professional careers. The experience doesn’t have to be filled with stress, frustration or negative feelings towards each other. If students enter with the right attitude and a solid plan, they’ll be much more likely to succeed as individuals and a group.
Start Out Strong
Spend time finding out where everyone’s strengths are. Someone may like to type and someone else is a tech guru; make the best out of your group’s tool box. Sometimes it’s tough to get everyone moving. The more motivated you are to help organize the group and volunteer for work, the more other students will too. However, make sure all the work doesn’t get split between one or two people. Everyone should be doing an equal amount of work.
As a group, the members should create a timeline of assignment dates and an earlier turn in date. Give yourself a one to two day cushion if you can, this will come in handy when members are behind or issues arise. Before leaving, ensure assignment of duties are clear and how progress will be reported to the others.
Make Meetings Ultra-Productive
Topics of meetings should be decided upon ahead of time. There is nothing worse than organizing schedules and not having anything useful to do with all your time together.
Designate someone as a moderator, either permanently or in rotation with others. This person keeps everyone on track, ensuring certain work is done by the end of the meeting. Before you begin, decide how long you want to work together and stick to it.
Try not to spend group time working independently. Everyone should come to meetings with something to include. Your time there should be spent together; not doing things you could have done on your own.
When is it Time to Seek Help?
Some people are hard to like, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work with them. Personal differences shouldn’t affect grades; however, uncooperative members shouldn’t be ignored. Before going to the instructor, consider:
• Are other members in the group noticing the same behavior?
• Is the member’s lack of cooperation greatly affecting the project?
• Is the problem a personal issue that can be worked out between members?
• Is the member experiencing difficulties at home or outside school that are affecting the group?
If the member is simply not interested, it may be time to approach the instructor. Doing this in person with other group members is best. Explain what the problem is, avoiding any personal attacks against the uncooperative member.
Not Convinced You’ll Need These Skills Later on in Life?
These finial tips have implications far beyond projects in school. For instance, everyone communicates differently. Stay focused on what’s being said and not necessarily on how they’re saying it. When others don’t fulfill commitments, let anger take a back seat. Try a different approach and find out what could be troubling them. Most importantly, try to be the better person. If you have the right attitude, projects tend to move a little smoother. Finally, if you need someone to talk to before going to the teacher, don’t hesitate to seek your private tutor from TutorNerds for advice and wisdom. Trust us, we know the importance of teamwork.
Basically, teachers are hoping you’ll learn how to teach and learn from each other. Even if you don’t agree on everything, and you likely won’t, respect each other’s ideas and find compromises where you can. There will be many more group projects in your adult life, learn the lessons now and not when your salary or your job is on the line.
It takes a team, Orange County!