What are the benefits of Group Work?

As things seemed to be slowing down mid week last week, they are definitely back in full motion once again. One thing that has seemed to be a constant theme throughout my classes this semester is group work and group projects. I have a group paper and group presentation in every class I’m in, which is a first for me. Of course I’ve done group work before but never in all my classes at one time. All the work seems to be at crunch time right now, and sometimes it is somewhat tricky to plan and coordinate around everyone’s schedule to meet. By the time you are almost done with college, you may be asking: “What is the point of still doing group work?” Between communication style differences, different goals, or lack of patience, even the thought of a group assignment may seem exhausting.

Usually, whenever a student hears the dreaded words “Get in a group” the typical student wants to drink 5 gallons of orange juice after brushing their teeth, rather than doing a group project. The most common problem is one or two people doing the majority of work, and the other members slacking, and not carrying their fair share of work. Being a student myself and doing “group work” for the past 15 years of my life, I can definitely relate to the feeling of dread. However, if group work is done right there can be a lot more benefits than you think:

1.) Being able to plan and manage time
2.) Develop stronger communication skills
3.) Take on certain roles/responsibilities
4.) Sharpen skills on being confident enough to voice your own opinions and ideas
5.) Being able to resolve conflicts if they arise
6.) Increase social skills and social support of other team members
7.) Seeing different perspectives your peers have
8.) Increased efficiency of work if everyone does their share—Things get done faster vs. doing the whole project on your own.
9.) Improve relationship skills
10.) Being exposed to diversity of your peers

The last thing to keep in mind next time you are assigned a group project or some type of team work is that it improves your abilities to be able to work in real world situations. Of course, it is not to say that group work does not come with their fair share of challenges, but when you graduate and get a job, you will be expected to be able to work with others in a team. It is inevitable that at some point in your career you will have to collaborate ideas with other people. Practicing these skills now may seem like torture from our professors, but really it is a blessing in disguise.

Blog by: Haley Nowlin