If you ever want to ruin your best friendship, destroy the trust, and flush everything you cherished in human connection down the drain, I’ve got a tip for you. Why don’t you try a group project together?
Formerly known as a killer assassin to both the project and the group, it’s still the holy grail of schools, universities, and any education institutions that promise you a cool diploma and a nice job, in turn making your mom proud.
And trust me, people who have survived a group project once are no way doing it twice. So let’s take a look at what it is about these seemingly innocent gatherings meant to do good and only good that make them the most hateable assignments. From being the only cast member in the tearful PowerPoint film to switching groups halfway like a track and field athlete, these are some of the examples that have terrorized generation after generation.
It’s no secret that few things about education irk people as much as group projects do.
In reality, the idea of a group project is really meant to do good—to teach kids and college students responsibility for themselves and their actions. Plus, this model of cooperation is supposed to promote teamwork, but often does the opposite.
In fact, a study by the University of Oklahoma showed that the design of group papers “encourages social loafing, limits group cohesiveness [...] and increases student stress,” reports Psychology Today.
There are a number of reasons why group projects may be inherently flawed. Eberly Center at Carnegie Mellon University suggests that it may have to do with “students not understanding teachers’ expectations,” “students having very different knowledge and skills,” “group composition being problematic,” and “grading scheme not promoting meaningful teamwork.”
Meanwhile, in “group work,” the learning focus is on a content-based objective, but the Redesigning High School initiative suggests that such an approach is destined to fail. “If we want students to learn to collaborate, we need to put them in a situation where they NEED to collaborate.”
As a result, the initiative believes that in order for a group project model to work, students have to be given “big, complex, open-ended problems to solve.”