From LEW to You: Surviving Group Work

Group work is among the most frequently complained about part of course assignments. Working with several people to achieve a single shared grade can be stressful, frustrating and exhausting.

Make it easier for yourself and your group members by avoiding these three common mistakes that compromise success:

Approaching the group with a know-it-all attitude and unrealistic expectations
For a group to succeed, every member must feel like they are being heard, considered, and respected. Although you may believe that you have the best ideas, constantly dominating the discussion will only lead to conflict. Show appreciation for everyone’s efforts to contribute and decide as a group on what will work best.

Not determing group objectives
Not everyone will enter a group project with the same objective. Some genuinely want to learn from the experience, while others simply want to get it done as quickly as they can. Discuss your objectives as a group before assigning tasks and roles. If everybody has a common objective of getting it done as easily and quickly as possible, you can steer your meeting in that direction. Alternatively, if your group decides that they would like to use this opportunity as a chance to hone specific skills, the focus when assigning tasks can be on what will allow each group member to learn the most.

Planning your final group meeting the morning the assignment is due
There is always a chance that even with all of the helpful tips and guidelines you can find, your group may run into a few hiccups. Plan to finish the assignment at least two days before it is due. Planning ahead will leave time to tackle any unexpected problems or holes you may find along the way.

Contact the LEW office for more advice on succeeding in all types of course work.