Throughout the duration of your time at ARU, you may find yourself in a position where you need to work alongside others for a task. This could be in class as you participate in discussion, during an observation or as part of an assessment.
For my course, a number of times one of my assessment criteria has been working in a group to create and deliver a presentation. Regardless of what it is you have been asked to do, working within a team is a skill you will use time and time again once you graduate and in everyday life.
Here are some tips I have found helpful to remember when working alongside others.
1/ Be respectful and listen.
Everybody has the right to an opinion and it should be respected. In conjunction with this, out of respect it is good practice to listen to the other members of the group. Working as a group requires a lot of skill and sometimes you may be placed with people you might not necessarily agree with and get along with. But if everyone follows suit and listens to one another, this makes the whole process a lot easier. You never know, they may have some really good ideas.
2/ Be honest and upfront
Sometimes you can come across issues within the group that need addressing. If someone isn’t pulling their weight and you feel like you are doing all the work, tell them. Not aggressively, but be honest and speak to them. It may just be that they didn’t realise. Or they may be having personal issues that you aren’t aware of. Most of the time, if you address any problems within the group, it can be sorted fairly easily. Equally, if you are under external pressure and it is starting to affect your productivity into the group, talk to the other members. A good group will work together to find a solution.
3/ Don’t be afraid to talk to staff.
With this being said, if the issues arising are becoming too prominent and you feel that it is escalating, speak to a trusted member of staff for advice and support. It is much better to do this than to struggle, become frustrated and develop hostility within the group. At the end of the day, this is your grade and if you feel it is being jeopardised, speak up.
4/ Use the library.
In the library, there are not only books and computers to help with the content of your task, but also study booths and rooms that you can reserve. These are fantastic when you are doing group work because it means that you can all get together and work alongside one another. The study rooms are great if you have a presentation to do because it is a closed room so you can do practice runs. These rooms also have computers in so you can practice with PowerPoint or Prezi as you speak.
5/ Find people who work the same way as you.
Group work can be scary, especially in your first year when you don’t know anyone so you don’t know how they work. Inevitably, those first few instances of group work will be trial and error. However, once you find people with whom you work well with, it is nice to be able to revert back to these groupings in the future. You know you work well together, that you think in a similar way and tackle tasks similarly. All this should, realistically, convert to producing work that you are happy with. Therefore, it is always nice to find those people that you work really well with. I have my ‘go to’ group of friends with whom I work very well with, so I feel comfortable tacking those group tasks now.
This being said, it is also nice to experiment and work with a variety of people because this will give you skills such as adaptability, communication and flexibility which will be highly useful in whichever job you choose going forward.