Group Work

  

Group Work can be a source of problems.  You must let the ‘convenor’  or ‘facilitator’ know if you are unhappy about something.  For example, it is very important to tell the person in charge if:

  • you struggle to keep up with group discussions,
  • you are getting too much work to do,
  • you never seem to get any say in decisions.

 Remember:

•    you do not have to do all the work for the group.
•    the mark scheme usually has some marks for the group and some for each individual, so if you do your best, your mark will reflect this.
•    if the same people often miss group meetings, make sure the facilitator knows.  To do this you can email the module convenor &/or the facilitator assigned to your group.

The purpose of group work is to share out the work fairly and make sure that people do what they are good at. That way the group develops a good deliverable / essay.  IF people are not meeting group deadlines or not coming to meetings then they are letting the others down. 

It you are struggling to attend meetings with the group it probably means there is a problem.  Do tell your tutor or study adviser if this is a problem for you.  Then they can help you work out what it is and do something about it.  You can do this by email, you do not have to tell them in person.

Interacting with peers &  group work

1) if you lead discussions and the project you will be more likely to understand wht is said in meetings.  So, if this is something you feel able to do it could be worth the effort.  However, it does not mean you do all the work for the project itself!

2) if you are with quieter people from the group this might help.  Tell the convenor which people you are comfortable with.  This does not mean you will automatically only work with those people.  It does mean that there could be one or two people you are comfortable with in the group.  Tell the convenor which people you are NOT comfortable with.  Being in the same group as them will be a real problem for you.  This is usually worse than initially not knowing anyone.

3) Whether you lead meetings or not, plan how you are going to explain the points you think you need to make.  If you have a draft of how you are going to explain your ideas it might be easier to tell the group.  You could even email the group members before the meeting starting with something like the following.

"I have been having a think about .....What do you think about the following suggestions?

a) ...

b)...  "

4) The group should formally chair each meeting.  That way the chair person can recap points made to ensure everybody is aware of who said what and why. (This also helps the person with AS to keep up with fast moving discussions that have jumped from person to person.)

5) Use a white board,  flipchart or group internet forum to keep a record of the meeting as it goes along.  The information can is there throughout the meeting as a visual prompt / reminder of what was said.

6) Keeping formal minutes of a meeting helps too.  These can be emailed to the group as soon as the meeting is done.  That way a written record exists that people can re-read to remind themselves of what was agreed.

7) Remember, email messages can be very useful for communicating with the others.  It gives you time to read what they have to say, work out what they mean by it and to decide on your reply.  It gives you time to work out how you are going to explain your ideas and plans.

Dealing with Problems

 

  • Reacting calmly to small problems stops them turning into big problems.
  • It really is ok to complain if others do not come to meetings or miss important teaching sessions and do not meet the agreed deadlines without good reason. 
  • Some students can be doing their best and still not be very good, however, it is those who are not trying that are the problem
  • The behaviour of these people will be a source of anxiety for you which could undermine your work.  So, it is important to let the module convenor or facilitator know.

 

 

 

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