Every day we cooperate with a lot of different people and we all know that the number of people equals the number of different opinions. Usually we spend our spare time with someone we want to, but when it comes to work, we have no choice but work with people we sometimes do not agree with. So how do you pull off these kinds of situations?
Usually schools are trying to help us to get ready for so-called “adult life” not only by providing us with some basic courses but also by giving us the opportunity to work on different projects so that we can actually practice for the future.
Group projects or presentations are the most common way to evaluate students’ knowledge throughout the course. The idea is that these group projects can help students to maintain good relationships with others and develop teamwork skills, so that they will be capable of pulling them off after they actually find a job, and we all know how important it is to get along with your co-workers, just as the saying goes: teamwork makes the dream work. However, in fact, it is not as easy as it sounds.
First of all, every student knows that usually every group project struggles to maintain equal labor force within a group, therefore there is at least one person who does the biggest amount of work, and at least one person who does the least, that is why group project may sometimes turn out as a total disaster. Dividing one project between a few people is supposed to reduce amount of work of one, and thus, make it easier. But in fact it only causes a lot more stress, and it already takes a big part in every student’s life. That is why students usually equally divide the work into a few parts, so that everyone has to do something on his own, with minimum cooperation with each other. However, in fact, it has nothing to do with the actual teamwork.
Teamwork consists not only of each member’s ability to do his own part, but also of the ability to adjust to a new environment, the ability to hold back one’s ambitions in order to help others and the ability to control emotions and personal bad or good feelings towards other members. Minimum cooperation within a team is not going to help developing these skills and therefore there is no actual teamwork. Moreover, sometimes students tend to do the opposite of maintaining a teamwork, and even start to have negative feelings towards each other.
Schools can set projects in a different way where everyone can express his own opinion whether other members agree or not. In that case, students will learn to respect others’ point of view even though they might not agree with them, and therefore it can reduce conflicts within a group and even cause a better cooperation and build a better relationship between members.
Second, not only it does not develop your communication skills, but also it may ruin your studies.
“While working on a group project, we usually divide all the work between all the members, so each person only concentrates on his or her part, without even knowing anything about other members’ parts. So we only receive basic knowledge about the project and its’ topic without going deeply into the work.” - says Anastasia, an exchange student from Russia.
“Once I had a research team project, where we divided all the work between six people. I only did my part and it turned out that I did not know anything about the whole research but my only part.”
By Bidogaeva Maria