Group work is an excellent teaching method to employ as it results in students learning how to work with others and often requires the use of problem solving skills as well. However, one of the issues with group work is that some students will let the others in their group do all the work. The following are a few effective group work strategies to avoid this issue:
- Work in phases – Split a project into phases. For example, the project idea phase, the project development phase and the preliminary project outcome phase. Require your students to check in after every phase so that you ensure the work is done in a timely manner.
- Allow choices – Give your students some flexibility when it comes to the topic they choose as long as its relevant to what you are covering. This will create a sense of ownership amongst the group and will make your students more engaged.
- Require individual work – To ensure every student is working within the group, assign individual work relating to the overall group work. For example, you can require that everyone submits a paper reflecting on the work he or she did within the group.
- Allow time for getting to know one another – Allow some time for letting your groups get to know each other. Everyone has different styles of communication and work approaches.