Bynion’s Opinion: Group projects promote unfair workload

Copy Chief Taylor Bynion often finds herself wishing there was a way to overcome life’s daily inconveniences, struggles, and challenges. This column gives her a space to share her feelings on everything from minor annoyances to more prominent issues, and hopefully make some positive changes along the way.

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Bynion’s Opinion: Group projects promote unfair workload

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As I sit at my desk, I wait to hear the assignments for the day. The teacher projects the day’s agenda and begins class, and I hear the dreaded words “group project.” Immediately, I lock eyes with potential group members, only to discover that the groups will be assigned at random.

While teachers encourage a level of organization and leadership within groups, it is often the group leader or most determined person in the group that gets stuck completing all the work. I have found this to be the case several times throughout my years of school.

Often, groups are graded on the final product and not the individual work done by each group member. This means that if one person doesn’t do their work, the whole group fails. However, on the other hand, if one person does all the work and the final product is successful, the entire group will receive a positive grade.

With this being said, group work is essential in the learning process. Students must learn what it is like to work in a group with several people, both discovering what it means to be a collaborating team-player as well as a leader.

In order for this to be effective, however, the model of group work must be revised. First, students should be able to pick their own group members. While students may be drawn more toward their friends, they may be able to hold one another more accountable. If the students did not have a successful dynamic in this case, they would be the ones liable, unlike the forced dynamic of an assigned group.

Additionally, teachers should foster more group cohesiveness. If teachers require each group member to complete a form detailing what he or she will complete throughout the process, accountability would be placed on that student to get it done. If the task was not completed, it would solely be the fault of the one particular student, not a failure of the whole group.

Lastly, group members should be graded individually based on the amount of work he or she has completed. This would elevate one person from doing all the work as those who did nothing would fail. Also, if part of the project was incomplete, it would not reflect poorly on the whole group.

Although it is important for students to learn how to work together, group projects must be adjusted to better student dynamics and provide a fair workload.

Taylor Bynion is the Copy Chief of The Patriot and jcpatiot.com.

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