Group assignments can be an excellent way for students to learn from each other and develop essential life skills like teamwork, communication, and problem-solving. But group assignments can also be a source of frustration, anxiety, and conflict.
With proper preparation, students and teachers can have fun with group assignments. Here are some tips to help keep your students motivated and encouraged while working in groups.
Encourage Different Communication Methods
Different students prefer different ways of communicating. For example, some may be more comfortable communicating online, while others may prefer face-to-face interactions. Encourage your students to try out different methods until they find one that works for everyone in the group. They may need to experiment with a few before they find the right fit.
For instance, students can use instant messaging and video chat platforms. You can distribute hotspots for students to ensure everyone in your class can take advantage of online communication methods. Some organizations provide low-cost mobile hotspots for students, making it easier for you and your class to enjoy online communication tools.
Consider Group Dynamics
When students choose their groups, they may not always have a mix of skills and personalities. Not having a diverse blend of traits may make students feel stagnant.
Consider assigning students to groups instead. This way, you can ensure each group has a diverse range of skills and personalities. If you prefer to let your students choose their group, encourage them to think about which of their peers has skills or knowledge that complements theirs.
Use Creative and Challenging Assignments
Group assignments are an opportunity for students to be innovative. If the assignment is too easy, students may get bored. But if it’s too difficult, they may get frustrated. Finding a middle ground lets students learn more about themselves through challenging situations.
Challenge your students with assignments with just the right level of difficulty. And try to make them creative and engaging. Even if some groups find the assignment challenging, they may find the motivation to do their best if they can flex their creative muscles.
Establish Ground Rules for Behavior
Before starting a group project, establish ground rules for behavior. Creating ground rules at the project’s beginning helps to prevent conflict and ensures everyone is on the same page.
Some things to include in your ground rules are:
- Using respectful language and tone
- Listening to each other
- Taking turns speaking
- Staying on task
Set Clear Expectations
After setting ground rules for group projects, set clear expectations next. When students understand what you expect, it helps avoid confusion later on.
Some items to include in your expectations:
- Each member’s roles and responsibilities
- Deadlines for each task
- Final product format
- How to resolve disagreements
Encourage Students To Be Teachers
One of the best ways to learn is by teaching. Encourage your students to take on a teaching role within their groups. They can help explain concepts to their classmates and provide feedback on their work.
Letting learners become teachers not only helps students learn more, but it also gives you a chance to see how well they understand the material.
Be Open-Minded About the Best Way To Complete a Task
Group assignments are an opportunity for you to learn more about your students. For instance, they may have different ideas about completing a task or solving a problem.
Be open-minded and willing to try new things regarding the best way to finish a task. What your students can do when they have freedom may surprise you.
Group assignments can be a great opportunity for learning, growth, and development. Use these tips to keep your class motivated and inspired.