Some love group work, some hate it. But everyone knows who they want to be in a group with. Right?
Get along or depend on?
Turns out that students can have somewhat different priorities when it comes to group mates. There seems to be a fine line between cooperation and contribution, the former having more to do with personality while the latter puts emphasis on “knowing the material”. Students seeking group mates with whom they get along may especially value open dialogue and free sharing of ideas, while those looking for the dependable group mate might focus on clarity of direction and high-quality outcome.
Recent research in the Journal of Education for Business found that students tended to like group mates who
- contribute to the group’s work
- communicate effectively
- care about producing high-quality work
- pull their own weight
- actively solve problems
While individual students will likely rank these characteristics differently to reflect their priorities, most of us can probably agree that it would be nice to have someone like this in our group.
A word to the wise..
Not that you have to be everyone’s favourite group mate, but there may be a thing or two to be learned from what people don’t want in a group mate as well:
- stubborn / doesn’t hear out others’ ideas
- doesn’t show up
- doesn’t do what (s)he committed to doing
For more tips on group work, check out our handy Toolkit.
What do you think?
Who do you want as a group mate? What’s the best (and/or worst) experience you’ve had with a group member?