We’ve all been there, the professor says “okay class, we have a group project due soon” and instantaneously the whole lecture hall goes quiet or groans. Group projects while some professors deem as “necessary” actually end up stressing out students’ and frustrating them.
While we get the reasoning behind group projects, they just shouldn’t be required to do, especially towards the end of the year. Here are 6 reasons why group projects should be banned, effective immediately:
First, we live in a world full of communication devices. Email, texting, GroupMe, Instant Messaging, we could even go back to carrier pigeon if we wanted to. Group chat doesn’t always lead to healthy discussion or even any discussion whatsoever. Sometimes members don’t talk to one another at all, and some only talk to criticize other group member's hard work and effort that they put into the end product. Some professors even forbid meeting in person to discuss the project and all communication must be done in a group chat setting where said professor can monitor the dialogue.
2. High Performing Students Have to Reduce the Quality of Their Work
Many of the students who produce high-quality projects individually, once they are in a group setting have to reduce their quality of their work because another group member doesn’t agree or understand. In the end, these students feel angst towards the end of the project because they do not feel good about the final product the group is submitting.
3. Interpersonal skills often do not improve:
When this is one of the sole purposes of the dreaded group project. Learning to balance between individual and group work is one thing, but a good portion of the time trying to develop these “skills” ends up where everyone in the group is totally frustrated with one another until someone steps up to calm the situation down or it fizzles out on its own. If it's allowed to fizzle out on its own, many times those who are in the argument remain slightly hostile towards the other person(s) whom they had discord with.
4. Learning about the subject is often diminished
This ties back into the communication aspect- with the time spent arguing with group members or trying to plan good days to meet up and work on the project together, learning about the subject matter is often greatly reduced. Not enough time is spent learning about it, but rather planning how to meet up and work on it, and some individuals feel as though their learning has been hindered because of group projects. Being able to work on a project individually would allow students to work at their own pace, learning and absorbing information, and allow the students to complete a project that they felt good about submitting.
5. Deciding who is going to be "the Leader"
While potentially many different ideas of how the group should approach the subject matter are great, eventually there needs to be a clear leader. One who can take charge and commandeer the ship into the proverbial green light. Individuals do not always like who rises to be a leader and either they suck it up and deal with it, or after the first draft of the project, they cast off the only person who has really shown desire to get the project done correctly to the professor's standards. It ends up being a real mess.
5. Unnecessary Stress
With all of the issues from day to day activities that stress each college student out, group projects seem to magnify stress tenfold. From communication to planning and actually working on the project, stress from these projects causes many additional problems then if a student had the opportunity to work on this project alone. The stress level would be greatly reduced because they wouldn't have to deal with the other people in the group and making sure they didn't step on anyone else's toes in order to get the project done in a timely manner.
Now I am not saying that all group members turn out to be horrible people, everyone has their quirks yes. And some come together to have a great and productive group. However, when they are being spiteful and refusing to listen to anything others bring to the table, even if it's closer to what the professor was asking/looking for, it makes working in a group for a project that much more difficult.