Group work can be very challenging – even though it seems like something very easy to. Some students like group work because it means they don’t have to do all the work themselves. Others dislike it for the same reason – mainly because they prefer to be graded just on their own knowledge. If a “slacker” comes into the group for a writing project, the chance of their grade dropping suddenly increases.
However, a successful college student knows that without group work, you won’t be able to succeed as a businessman. Being an entrepreneur basically means that you have to be able to work with a group of people, as a team – which is why group communication is crucial to master.
Group work needs to be established on two ends as well: the professors and the students. For successful group work, each party needs to follow certain steps.
How to Prepare Your Group of Students
To reap all the benefits of group work, you need to prepare your students accordingly. Here are some tips that you might want to follow:
- Insist on Professional Behavior
It’s a group project – so obviously, there will be differences in opinion. One will say that the chicken came before the egg, while the other will insist that the chicken came from the egg. They will get frustrated by the differences – which won’t help the project in any way.
This is where the professor comes in. It is their job to instruct the students on civil behavior and respect of opinions. Teach them not to just reject an opinion- but rather, to accept it while providing arguments for their own. This way, there will be little to no tension within the group.
- Give Out Challenging Tasks
But at the same time, make sure it does not cause headaches to solve. Otherwise, they will end up using essay writing services – and it will not be just for research’s sake.
Make it easy for them to find the sources that they need – but also ensure that it’s sophisticated enough so that it gives rise to debates and opinions. This way, the student working together will create a gem that will certainly raise interest.
- Arrange the Students Properly
In order for group work to flow the way it should, you have to make them comfortable in working with each other – which is why you should know as much about your students as possible. If they want to work in a group with someone, in particular, let them. You might also want to look up some student grouping strategies to par them properly.
Furthermore, think about the classroom’s layout; will it be easy for them to hear each other properly? Do they have access to all the tools they might need? These are all aspects that you have to know about.
- Try to Predict the Answers
While you don’t need to expect the unexpected, you still need to have a vague idea over the directions that the groups will take. This way, you will be able to provide answers – because if you’re teaching effectively, group work is going to come up with questions.
- Allow Enough Group Work Time
If you are assigning an entire semester’s work into a group project, chances are that they will not have enough time to finish their project properly – and if they do, it will be either generic or messy.
Instead, try to cut away from the content and only make the work from a section. If you have to cover everything in a two-hour class, make sure they will not need any more than that. You can go into more detail if it’s an extended group assignment – but don’t throw all of it at them.
Preparing Your Group of Colleagues
So, either the professor assigned your group or you made your group yourself. Once the professor has given out work for students, it’s up to them now to figure out the other logistics.
- Establish Group Guidelines
Students in a classroom need to establish group guidelines once the group has been made. Learn about the strengths of your colleague, as well as the way they prefer to do things. If anyone has an opinion, learn about it before you start working on a group project. This will prevent you from hitting a wall later.
- Appoint a Group Leader
If the professor has not yet appointed a group leader, it is up to you to do that. Once you will start earning a living, you will either have to follow the advice of a leader – or be the leader. This will be your training for joining the “real world.”
- Discuss the Problem
Once you have the main task, try to decide on how you are going to tackle the problem. Start with some brainstorming, and think out some plans, ideas, and tasks that your group should receive. No one should be exempt from the discussion, and everyone should be in agreement with hat they are going to say in the end.
- Decide on Specific Tasks
Once you have made an outline of the main task, try to allocate them either to subgroups or individuals. Think about how those groups are going to deliver the information. If a certain individual has an affinity for a certain topic, make sure to assign it to them.
If the student has an interest in it, chances are that they will come with a very detailed and informed analysis. Make sure that every student from your group is accounted for because this will also improve cooperative learning in the classroom.
Students working in groups represent a great way to learn the tactics of teamwork. No matter how much you may like doing things alone, it is likely that you will have to be part of a group at some point. For that reason, you need to learn how to work with your colleagues so that you can eventually be successful in life.
Hopefully, this article gave you a good idea on how to do effective group work in the classroom.