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Student Learning Success Guides!

GROUP WORK becomes an essential skill when you start your career. Employers need people who work well in teams, so think of assigned group work as practical training.

Ten students playing tug of warTIPS

Spend some of your first meeting getting to know your partners before starting the business of planning the assignment, setting deadlines, and delegating tasks.

Learn to enjoy accountability: this is a chance to prove your worth. Take advantage of it!

Rehearse your presentation together to expose any problems and to practice coaching your teammates.

Time yourselves while rehearsing to help streamline your presentation.

Remember, the main challenge of group work is managing yourself.

SELF-REFLECTION

What strengths do you bring to a group?

Are you more effective working on your own or as part of a team?

How do you decide when to start working on a project?

How could make your group's meetings more efficient?

How do you check in on each other's progress?

Teamwork

Group work helps you learn essential skills for professional and personal relationships.

Employers in all industries are looking for soft skills:

  • Effective collaboration and communication
  • Self-motivation, project management, and problem solving
  • The ability to share responsiblity, navigate attitudes different from your own, and maintain respectful working relationships

Expectations

Establish clear expectations for attending meetings and respecting each other! Set deadlines for completion of major components.

Read instructions to clearly understand what your instructor wants for the finished product.

Brainstorm to be inclusive: get input from everyone.

Plan your strategy to make sure all group members understand the topic and their role in making the project a success.

Develop clear goals to avoid wasting time.

Divide work to make sure everyone has something to do.

Have concrete outcomes for each meeting!

Autonomy

While working on the assignment, respect each group members' autonomy. This gives everyone the space to be productive and fosters healthy working relationships.

  • The best leaders and managers listen more than they speak.
  • Dictators are not effective group members. Learn to let other people contribute and express their ideas.
  • Be an active participant. Speak up. Share your thoughts and opinions.
  • Try to see mistakes as a natural part of learning, not a personal flaw.
  • It’s not always necessary or possible to meet in person. There are lots of ways to collaborate online, such as meetings via chat, shared documents and cloud-based presentations.
  • Celebrate your success and show appreciation for your colleagues!

Conflict Resolution

Have a plan for dealing with conflict: Many conflicts can be avoided by providing each group member the opportunity to contribute and be heard.

Learning to compromise is an essential skill in any group project.

Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses early on: stick with your strengths and split the work accordingly. Once you have built some confidence, take on different responsibilities to broaden your skillset and gain new strengths.

If you feel ignored or unsafe, or if your group is having serious issues, talk to your instructor.