In an old YouTube video on how to do a forward flip (on the ground), the instructor started by saying “First, you must be fully committed to it.” That advice also applies to group work: Commit to the success of your group and its final product. The following tips emphasize behaviors that, when practiced individually, contribute to more efficient and effective group work:
- Communicate regularly and respectfully with your team members. Communicate asynchronously (discussion boards, email, text) and synchronously (meetings, phone calls).
- Be prepared for and participate in meetings.
- Be open to the ideas within your group. Ask for everyone’s input.
- When possible, divide the work by playing to group members’ strengths. For example, let the person who loves numbers/math do the data analysis.
- Agree on who will do what and how the work will proceed. If you’re not sure, ask for clarification.
- Set incremental deadlines that will get you to the due date and that you can live with.
- Commit to doing your part on time. If you can’t meet a deadline let others know ahead of time.
- Encourage your team members. Who doesn’t like to hear “great idea” or “I like how you incorporated XYZ”?
- Help your team members. If you finish your work early, offer to help someone else. If someone is struggling with a concept you already understand, share your knowledge.
Centre for Teaching Excellence. (n.d.). Teamwork skills: Being an effective group member. Retrieved June 7, 2017, from University of Waterloo Centre for Teaching Excellence:
Wixon, D., & Dosa, K. (2012). Effective Small Groups: Teaching Teamwork. Teaching and Learning Symposium (pp. 1 – 27). Madison WI: UW-Madison. Retrieved June 15, 2017, from UW – Madison: