17 Group Work
Group work is a common practice at college. Learning to work well in a group is a skill you can take forward into your career where it is routine to accomplish tasks as part of a team.
Be a good citizen. This is the most important point of all. If you are assigned a group project, you should want to be an active part of the group’s work. Never try to ride on the skills of others or let others do more than their fair share.
Effective Brainstorming in a Group
Brainstorming is a process of generating ideas for solutions in a group. This method is very effective because ideas from one person will trigger additional ideas from another. The following guidelines make for an effective brainstorming session:
- Decide who should moderate the session. That person may participate, but his main role is to keep the discussion flowing.
- Define the problem to be discussed and the time you will allow to consider it.
- Write all ideas down on a board or flip chart for all participants to see.
- Encourage everyone to speak.
- Do not allow criticism of ideas. All ideas are good during a brainstorm. Suspend disbelief until after the session. Remember a wildly impossible idea may trigger a creative and feasible solution to a problem.
Group Writing Projects
College professors sometimes assign group writing projects. The terms of these assignments vary greatly. Sometimes the professors specifies roles for each member of the group, but often it’s part of the group’s tasks to define everyone’s role.
Follow these guidelines:
• Get off to an early start and meet regularly through the process.
• Sort out your roles as soon as you can. You might divide the work in sections and then meet to pull those sections together. But you might also think more in terms of the specific strengths and interests each of you bring to the project. You might also assign tasks that relate to the stages of the writing process. Remember that whatever you do, you cannot likely keep each person’s work separate from the work of others. There will be and probably should be significant overlap if you are to eventually pull together a successful project.
• Don’t let any lack of confidence you may feel as a writer keep you from doing your share. One of the great things about a group project is that you can learn from others. Another great thing is that you will teach more about your own strengths that others value.
• Complete a draft early so that you can collectively review, revise, and finally edit together.
- Being part of a team is common in today’s workplace, group work let’s you practice your teamwork skills; be a good teammate and do your fair share of the work.
- Brainstorming as a group can bring out new ideas and better solutions.
- Group writing projects takes some planning and organization as well as final attention to bring everyone’s contribution together.