Class assignments that involve working in groups feel like torture to college students. The reason is no one wants to work with other people who do not work. They’d rather just work by themselves instead.
The reason why I do not particularly care for group projects is I had experiences where I did all the work, yet others still received credit. Now I leave their names off of the project if they did not contribute.
Not all of my experiences have been bad. I have noticed that when I am in a group where everyone cares about their grade, everyone contributes.
To find out why other students do not like to work in groups, I did some research. During one of my six hour shifts working as a cashier on campus, I ask students as they went through the line what they thought about group projects. The answers I received were all negative. Not one student had anything positive to say.
“I think group projects are just irritating,” said Anitrus Simmons, elementary education and language arts major. “When people take credit for work they didn’t do, it’s irritating. It’s more irritating when they still get a good grade”.
Other students’ responses mirrored Simmons’. Responses ranged from hating lazy people who get credit for work they did not do to ensuring they work with “nerds” to ensure they will receive a good grade. Some students go as far as to tell the professor that a group member did not do any work.
I heard the same responses repeatedly, which stood out to me. I was sure that I would hear at least one person say they enjoyed group projects.
The responses came from a small population of EMU students, but it speaks volumes on how students view class projects done in groups. From the responses I received, I was able to conclude that the reasons why students do not like group projects revolve around working with ineffective group members.
With that conclusion in mind, I came up with some tips for being an effective group member.
The most important thing is to do your assigned task. Part of the complaints with group projects is that students do not do their parts. Help other group members with their tasks when needed.
Be engaged during group discussions. Communicate ideas you have that can help improve the project while listening to others. Respect everyone’s ideas even if they seem far-fetched or are not in line with yours.
Let others contribute. Do not be those self-appointed leaders who control everything and limit what others can do or who do everything by themselves when it’s not necessary.
Keep in mind that even if you do not value your grade, other students in your group do. Be considerate of this when you are deciding to be a slacker.
Group projects can be fun if everyone is an effective member. When working with other people, tasks can be shared, which leaves less work for one student.
Working with a good group of students in group projects will make a difference for class assignments.
Everyone needs to stop this insanity!
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