Group Work

My group experiences within the class in high school have varied from a pleasant experience to plain terrible, as I’m sure most people can empathize with. Group projects can be difficult to accomplish, especially in high school where a good number of people don’t have the attitude to work productively together. There’s always another option if you fail a credit in high school; be it night school, summer school, grade 13, or online courses, and most of these other options are undoubtedly easier than the fist time trying to get the credit. Some people adopt a mindset of “well, I don’t really have to try hard here because I can always try it again easier later”. Being put into groups with these people can be extremely frustrating, especially since most of them also don’t want to work through group skills either, such as equal portions of work and setting up times to meet.

The good news is I’ve found that this is only a niche of people and being put in a group with them is a bad coincidence that doesn’t often happen. Most other times I’ve been in groups everyone’s wanted to finish on time. Yes, more times than not one person takes more work than the others, but I believe that to be a fact of group work in high school where in some cases the only common part of the day people have is the fact that they’re at school for the same number of hours. Some people have par time jobs, some people have much more difficult courses, and some people have time consuming extra curricular activities. I don’t look at one person doing more work as an unfair problem, I look at it as working for the mutual benefit of the group. If, in a group of three, two people have 4 hours of free time after school and one person has 8 hours of free time after school, it stands to reason that one person taking a sightly larger workload will actually benefit the group in the end, because the other two will not be stressing to finish, which can affect work quality. This is something that has to be talked about and decided upon within the group, but unequal work portions (especially when larger portions are given to someone who has a legitimate interest in the work) can benefit the group.

This all comes down to the communication within the group, which is the most important part of working with people. People within a group need to communicate; to decide who’s taking what portions of work, to decide who’s putting all the work together, to decide when to meet, how to communicate, etc. This is absolutely essential to ensure the common goal of the group is reached. I’ve been fortunate enough in high school to be working in groups where all of these things are taken into consideration and so far in university group work hasn’t lacked any of this at all. I’m looking forward to meeting and collaborating with new people.

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