Group work isn’t an uncommon term for students. The norms of group work are exposed to them as early as in kindergarten. Educators are trying their best to emphasize the vitality of group work to their students. Group work is a great medium to nurture the students’ co-operative and interpersonal skills. These two skills are imperative for our everyday life, especially in the working world.
We may be able to choose our own members at times but there are also circumstances where the teachers or lecturers divide us into a group full of people who are strangers to us. Depending on the characteristics of each member, the atmosphere of the group can range from awkward to instant best buds. However, we may experience situations like miscommunication, members who don’t accept others’ opinion well, who don’t contribute to the group and so on. Even if we are given the freedom to choose our own members, this kind of situations may still occur. Therefore, what can we do to ensure that our group can work harmoniously despite the fact that we barely knew each other?
- Get to Know Each Other First
Before you jump into the assignment given, make an effort to be acquainted with each other. Introduce yourselves and talk about what you are or are not comfortable with. Choose your words wisely so that you would not offend each other. Be welcoming toward each other. The more genial you are to each other, the easier it is for you to work side by side. Who knows? Maybe you can turn the acquaintanceship into friendship and rely on each other.
- Divide the Work Fairly
Fair is the main keyword to remember in order to ensure that the group work runs smoothly. Arguments can occur if the members feel like the work distribution isn’t fair for them. Find a way for you to divide the task fairly. Don’t let one person do the task fitting for 2 people. Discuss with each other until you can reach an agreement but keep it professional. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you because they can contribute to intense dispute.
- Double Checking with Each Other to Avoid Miscommunication
With the advance technology we have today, we can connect with each other via social medias or instant messengers. It’s common for students nowadays to communicate using these mediums. They contain a feature which can create a group chat. Use it effectively. Always double check with each other about the progress of your assignment. Make sure that everyone is aware of the progress. Even after you’ve completed your part, send it to your group mates for them to read through so that they can help to correct it if there is any error. Be active and be in cahoots with each other.
- Directly Approach Each Other if Problems Occur
If you feel like you have problems with either of your group mates, for example maybe you feel like they are not contributing or they play too much instead of discussing seriously, approach them in a calm manner. Don’t raise your tone or blurt out words that can hurt them. Also, don’t do it in public or talk about them behind their backs. Approach them directly and maintain your cool. They would appreciate that. Tell them about your concerns and request that they improve it. Nonetheless, all of the members of the group including yourself have to keep an open mind and be ready to accept any building criticisms. That way, we can teach ourselves to be better every day and improve our interpersonal skill.