Cherokee County Educational Foundation     

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How to Encourage Productive Group Work in 2023

When you think back on doing group work when you were in school, you may have conflicting memories. Some people may remember a time where they worked in a group on a project and had to pull most of the weight. You may even recall a time where you were paired with a student, or group of students, that you didn't have a strong connection with, only to make those connections along they way and ultimately succeed. 

However you may remember it, group work and teamwork are not only important parts of a good education, but they are foundational in building the skills to go on and form healthy working relationships in life. 

Focus on Clarity

Oftentimes, the point at which group work begins to get out of hand usually comes with students becoming distracted by working with others, opposed to independently. The point at which your classroom's group work turns unproductive is when things can begin to get messy. 

One of the best ways to guide students towards focused group work is by outlining the project or task's objectives clearly before they are grouped up, and again after they know who they're working with. This will help give them a sense of purpose by thinking about where their strengths may come into play, allowing them to constructively collaborate with the other students.

Defined Roles

If you have a strong memory of carrying most of the weight in a group project you worked on during your own education, then this may sound familiar to you: Imagine after being grouped up and having the task outlined for your group, that you found yourself doing work other people agreed to, or had to revise and edit work that you felt didn't get the same level of effort as your own.

Well, this is unfortunately a common experience, and finding ways to avoid this will help give students positive memories with group and teamwork in their futures.¬¬ One way to make working as a group more effective is assigning clear roles for each student. Having a student act as a leader or organizer, one as a materials gatherer, one as a note taker, or something else that may pertain to your specific project can give students a sense of responsibility and purpose when working. 

Taking Time to Reflect

A good way to encourage students to take their responsibility and purpose in the group project seriously is by having them review their own work or effort. This will not typically include students rating other students' effort or participation, but instead rating their own. This activity can be a great window into the way that a student might feel about the role they had in the group, their own effort, and outline any areas they struggled. This will be the most important thing to take away and put into consideration for the next project! 

Looking to Kickstart Your Groupwork?

Do you have a classroom of your own and have a great idea for a group project, but require extra funding for supplies or equipment? Apply for one of our Impact Grants or Rapid Grants! Impact Grants can award up to $2,500 and are open to apply for until January 31st, 2023! See our pages on Impact Grants and Rapid Grants for more information on how to apply. 

Kicking Off 2023 with CCEF!
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