Group work is more trouble than it’s worth


Kayla Grizzle, Staff Writer

From elementary school to high school, students have become accustomed to being thrown into group work, always with the excuse from teachers that it will ready students for the social aspect of adult life.

Nowadays, it seems as if college curriculums have taken to the same attitude.

Instead of solo work and lectures as it has been in the past, almost every college class requires some sort of group work.

Without the proper guidelines set up for group work activities, it can be more harmful than helpful, specifically to students’ grades.

The main argument made in favor of group work seems to be that once students graduate from college, they will be required to work socially, which college group work will prepare them for.

However, the foundation of a work environment and a school environment are completely different.

In the workplace, employees have defined roles, practical job experience, and a defined hierarchy to keep everything in check.

Classrooms have none of those aspects when group work is involved.

Without a specifically defined role in a group project, which teachers rarely outline, students tend to become lost in the task at hand.

Any student can take over or not do anything, creating an unbalance the teacher will very rarely correct.

When some group members have prior experience, while some have none at all with the group  project at hand, students become even more lost.

There is no cohesiveness and students often become frustrated with both each other and the project.

Without a defined hierarchy, students are left to their own devices, which allows some students to do little to nothing, affecting the grades of the whole group.

When student are left to their own devices, there will always be unbalance in the amount of work assigned.

Some students will become uncomfortable and not carry out any of the work, while others will overcompensate and do more work than anyone else in the group.

The main outcome is usually the same grades being given out to students who do little to no work as that of students who do all of the work.

If  students do not contribute at all, they can bring down the grades of the whole group.

While teachers are hoping that group work will result in more inclusiveness and interest in their class, the true outcome is laziness and discomfort for the students.

Group work is not completely a lost cause, but it needs complete regulation.

In order to use group work to help, rather than distress students, there needs to be rules that check on each individual’s work progression.

These rules will ensure everyone is doing the same amount of work as well as executing their defined roles.