Group Projects Will Make You The Best Optimist
So you’re sitting in class, dazing off as your professor lectures on and on about that thing in that chapter you were supposed to read last night. Everything is moving slowly, surely, and calmly as you daydream about that nap you’ll take after school. But suddenly, you hear your professor shudder a phrase that makes every student’s skin crawl, their blood boil, and their grade shake in fear. You’re worst nightmare about school has yet again reared it’s ugly face as you slowly hear every syllable of the phrase “group projects” leave your professors mouth. It’s like they like to watch you squirm.
It’s so confusing as to why teachers implement group projects into our curriculum. Yes, they teach us the value of working together and all that jazz, but they also have grade value and cause a whole lot more anxiety than students would like. Even funnier is that professors ALWAYS seem to have some horrible worst-case-scenario story about these projects in the past, yet they STILL choose to assign them. Why, professors? Why?
I can see the benefits of assigning these god-awful projects, and I can just as well see the learning outcomes behind them. But what I mostly see (and feel) are the realistic treacheries that I will have to endure as you send me off to work with students in this classroom that I have never spoken to before, as well as prepare myself for the butt-load of work I may be forced to do.
Pro: Combining Ideas; Con: Lack Of Communication
Yes, two minds may be better than one. When you’re handed a broad prompt or a topic, it can help to have multiple inputs tossed into the mix. Bouncing around ideas and concepts can help build upon an initial thought, or possibly create a whole new idea.
But, this only works if every group member is willing to open their mouth and actually share what they have to say. This is not the time to keep your thoughts to yourself, nor is it a time to not respond to email threads about who’s doing what. What’s worse than having a group member not doing anything at all? Easy. A group member who doesn’t pay attention to what they’re supposed to do, and ends up doing something completely unrelated to the project/designated duty. You had one job.
Pro: Different Points Of View; Con: Lack Of Willingness To Contribute
Butting heads is great. It facilitates conversation, growth, and a well-rounded finished product. There’s nothing greater than learning something new or gaining insight to something that you didn’t have beforehand.
What’s not cool is having group members that don’t seem to want to offer their two cents. Contributing to conversation, concepts, and your time to work as a group is what makes the entire experience worthwhile. No one likes a dud that just sits there and takes up a chair. It’s annoying and lazy.
Pro: Team Work; Con: Getting Stuck With All The Work
This is a golden skill to have, and can be beneficial in the long run if you hate doing certain parts of a project. It’s like working in a business of all types of job professions. Splitting up a big project, based on who’s best at what, will give each person more time to work on that section and hopefully do a better job than if they had to do the whole thing. I hate having to design budgets, making fancy diagrams, or putting together timelines. If I have the chance to let someone volunteer for that and leave myself to deal with the creative introduction and poster board, I’m one happy camper.
But what I hate more than doing parts of projects that I’m not the best at is getting stuck with doing the entire damn thing. We’ve all been that person in a group project that’s stuck with the whole to-do, and we’ve all felt that sting of seeing your fellow group members receive the same grade as you. You don’t want to be that person that rats out the slackers, but COME ON.
Final Verdict: Professors Are Out to Get Us