Working with Groups can Work!


Many times (in school and in life) you will need to work on projects in groups.

Many times (in school and in life) you will need to work on projects in groups. But in a school setting, groups can often represent family in the old saying, "You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family."When people think about working with groups, they usually have two stages in mind: 1. Planning and working on the project 2. Finishing and presenting the project.


But there is one more step, making these three: 1. Getting to know your group 2. Planning and working on the project 3. Finishing and presenting the project. I hope the further detail on each step can help you in real-life situations.


1. Getting to know your group Getting to know your group is the foundation for success when you work on a project. If you know the people in your group, it is more likely your project will be effective. As my sister Elizabeth said, "Make sure you get to know each other's strengths and weaknesses so you know who can do well on what." Remember to be kind to everyone in your group, even if they seem "not your type," you might end up being best friends. Even if you don't, being pleasant will make your overall experience a better one. Also make absolutely sure you know which tools are available to which person. There's no point denying it; with better tools, you'll have a better project. You just have to work hard at it to guarantee the content is as excellent as the presentation.


2. Planning and working on the project When you are planning the project, you should work it out so nobody ends up with a heavier workload than anyone else. Don't forget to let everyone get a "taste" of the fun of the project, either. It can be disappointing to end up with the other work, especially while you watch somebody having fun with theirs. Selecting a leader to equally distribute these tasks works occasionally, but I've found it's easier if everyone can work together. Sometimes the "leader plan" backfires. Each group member should try to brainstorm, together or separately. You can try recording all your ideas (in case you need to come back) or you could try taking each person's best idea and planning it out on paper, to see which looks like it would turn out the best. When you are talking and planning, listen to everyone! Especially if a shy person is trying to speak up. Chances are if they think it's worth getting your attention, it's a really good idea!


3. Finishing and presenting the project When you're nearly done with your project, all your group members should check each other's work (if it's in document format, make sure the paper was written in something with Spellcheck). After you've done this, you can ask your teacher if they might look it over and give you suggestions. Unless they have already said no to this, a teacher is usually willing to help. If it is a project you will be presenting, your group could try to bring everything you need in one day early (so there are no last-minute mix-ups). If someone does forget, they can bring it in on the real presentation day. One last thing to keep in mind is to remember every person needs to help present (This is usually a requirement, so don't forget!).


If you follow these steps, you should be well set for any group project and presentation!