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Group Projects: Helpful or Painful?

Maria Cima / Abby Kachur / Erica Negrini

Maria Cima / Abby Kachur / Erica Negrini

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School is basically built upon classwork, homework, tests, and the generally loathed, group projects.

Almost every student has had more than a few bad experiences throughout his/her school years dealing with either lazy group members, time management, or inadequate work done by others. However, many teachers and students believe that group projects have a better side to them that may make those bad experiences worth the trouble. Two teachers and two students were interviewed to get their perspectives.

For some students, they prefer to be able to freely choose who will be in their groups, because they can trust their friends to complete the work necessary for a non stressful assignment. One anonymous student said, “I like some group projects because sometimes I can trust the people in my group to collaborate.”

Although, it may just depend on which kind of friends people have.

For instance, others like their teachers to hand-pick their groups, because they do not want to feel obligated to work with friends or classmates who might take advantage of their diligence. Another anonymous student commented, “Sometimes I like groups to be assigned because some people who want to work with me just want to slack off.”

One of the most infamous problems of group projects that generally everyone can relate to is lazy group members. Whether they complete insufficient work, procrastinate until the last minute, or cause other people to do their portion of the project, apathetic group members cause “unnecessary stress” for everyone else.

Either I end up doing all the work, or it will be a collaborative effort.”

— Anonymous Student

Even the teachers, believe it or not, are aware of this. Mrs. Allen, a biology teacher, allocates group projects knowing there are students here at NAI that act this way, and usually responds by grading everybody individually.

Along with many others, she figures that, “If you have somebody doing 75% of the work, the other person doing 25%, and you get an A on the project, it’s not fair.”

Nonetheless, students shouldn’t let all of the possible struggles of group projects make them forget their key purposes.

Often attempting to get their students’ out of a busy work-filled environment, teachers give group assignments to get creative juices flowing and to develop more of an overall fun atmosphere

Mr. Rak, an English teacher, said, “I try to find situations where I feel like kids are going to learn things just by talking to one another instead of having to read or watch something.”

Many students believe that whether or not they like group projects depends on which type of friends/classmates are in their groups. However, having the ability to participate in them by being inventive while thinking outside the boring box of worksheets can prove to be more beneficial than students might expect.

 

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Group Projects: Helpful or Painful?