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How to address common group work problems

Group work is not without it’s challenges thats why its important that your group applies these tips for successful group work. The following lists solutions to common problems.

Lack of contribution

Group members may not contribute to group tasks as equally as others. It’s best to address the issue directly with the individual as soon as possible and raise issues with your lecturer if you feel that it will significantly impact group progress.

Poor communication

Group members may interrupt or talk over each other and others may not contribute. To minimise this, observe rules of turn taking such as going around the table and offering all members a chance to speak. Allow time for others to finish their speech. If there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding in the group, ask members to clarify what they are trying to say.

Domineering group members

Some individuals can dominate conversations. Again, observe rules of turn taking so everyone has a chance to speak. Your group might also like to establish their own talking protocols so everyone has a chance to speak such as a talking stick – only the person with the stick speaks. This can also be used to encourage contributions from quieter group members.

Inability to keep on task

Its important to develop common goals and ways of working to keep the group on task. Agree and set overarching goals and set an agenda for each group meeting.

Pause to reflect

  • Reflect on a previous group work experience, how did you resolve issues?
  • What worked well?
  • What didn’t work well?
  • What would you do differently next time?