The honest truth about group work…

So this is a bit unexpected of a post but as I’m working on a project for a course right now, I thought I’d make some observations about a topic that I seem not to be alone in thinking. It’s essential to any student’s career and if you’re a student in Denmark, you’ll certainly understand what I’m talking about. I’m talking about group work. And right now, my feelings are a little bit like this:

tumblr_mlo6pxYXG41sox7ueo1_500

Now, Denmark is extremely proud of how much group work is done here. Watch any video about studying in Denmark and you will hear allllllll about the group work. Really. It’s all about study groups and group work and group this and group that. And that’s okay, really it is. But I have to say what is unfortunate is that that not everyone understands group work and therefore group work really just ends up being a pain in the ass. There. I said it. I would argue that I am generally a very social person who gets along great in a group. I’m not overly pushy and will easily share tasks, when needed. I can lead as much as follow. Unfortunately, group work doesn’t really play off any of those skills. And being a native speaker in Denmark usually has the huge disadvantage that everyone just expects you to do everything. And then, even after tasks have been delegated, you’re forced to wait until 4 in the morning on the day the project is due waiting for someone to finish their part… having them send it to you and tell you that it’s rough and you’ll have to make it fit in with everything else (not speaking for experience or anything….).

I have worked in wonderful groups before. I have learned a lot from group work. But if I look back over my academic career, I would say that this is a more accurate representation of how group work learning usually ends up:

Take that Bloom's Taxonomy!
Take that Bloom’s Taxonomy!

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I wonder if other people’s experiences have been the same? Who are you in group work? Have you had better group work experiences? Why is it, you would say, that group work is so essential in the academic world? In a real world setting, if you don’t pull your weight, you could very easily get fired so the group work done while in the professional field has been much different, in my experience. I’d love to hear about your experiences!

And now it’s time to go do my group project. By myself…

Raven knows. Don’t mess, okay?!
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5 thoughts on “The honest truth about group work…

  1. I studied in Cardiff. We had maybe four group projects. The first one was tough to coordinate but no one took liberties. It was frustrating only because only a few of us had the internet at home, so it was hard to get everything together in time. The next two were in groups of three and went much more smoothly. The last, they locked us away in some stately home and gave us projects. Other teams on my course had problems, so I guess I was just really lucky.

    1. Almost every class I’ve taken here in Denmark involves a group project, for better or for worse. Although being locked in some stately home sounds like it could be fun! I would say that almost every student here has internet (and a smart phone) but when it comes time to communicate for group work, you would really think otherwise! Short of showing up at their door, it’s so hard to get in touch with people!

      1. I wonder why people take the mickey so readily, are there no consequences for them if they let the group down? What’s up with that?!

  2. The one and only time I had to do group work was an in-class debate. Guess who had to do all the talking, because I’m the native speaker? Yayyyyyyyyyy – NO!

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