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Group work for students

Group work is, more or less, a part of most courses and programs. Here are some tips that can make it easier when you start working in a group.

Write a group contract

The purpose of a group contract is that participants make a joint agreement on the conditions for cooperation within the group. It can be about where, and when, you meet and how you communicate with each other within the group.

Your work starts with that everyone read through the contract and find their standpoints regarding the different questions. After that the whole group discuss together how you wish the work to proceed. Set aside some time during your first group meeting to discuss, and fill in, the contract. Be sure that everyone in the group will get to have their say. Everyone’s opinions are important!

Together you formulate the contract, and you all sign it. Remember to regularly, within the group, reflect about the content of the contract and make sure to revise and update if necessary.

If your teacher has a template for group contracts within the course, then you should primarily use that template.

Contract for group work

Here is an example of a contract that can be used for group work.

Contract for group work Pdf, 165 kB.

Schedule your group work

It is important to have a framework for when and where the group is to meet.

For most students good planning is beneficial, that includes planning for when group work is to take place. Remember that some students in the group may be travelling and need extra planning for their travels. Another example are parents that need to be able to plan for childcare well in advance.

If your teacher has scheduled time for group work then you use that time first. If there is no scheduled time then you do that yourself, within the group, and write it down in your contract.

Decide how to communicate

If your teacher has given instructions on how to communicate, and what communications tools to use, then follow those instructions.

If there are no communications instructions, then it is a good idea that you write into your group contract on how you are to communicate, within the group, and what communications tools you are to use. If it is not clear at the beginning of the course how to communicate with your teacher/supervisor, then you should ask.

When difficulties/problems occur

Sometimes problems occur within a group. Here are some tips and advice on how you are to move forward.

  1. Communicate within the group. Be humble and honest with each other.
  2. If you have a group contract, read it through and see what you have agreed on. Revise and update if necessary.
  3. Contact the teacher in charge. Explain the situation and ask for advice and support.
  4. Discuss again within the group, using the advice you have gotten.
  5. If the problems persist, or get worse, contact the teacher in charge or the faculty programme director. You can also contact the student health counsellors for advice and support.

It can be difficult when a group feels that one member has not contributed to the group work, it can be a clash between different norms and opinions. The group needs to make sure that everyone is an important part of the group and that no one is being left out. Usually, it is when we stop listening to each other that serious problems occur and make group work more difficult than need be.

Support from Student Health Service

The counselors of the student health are available for advice and support, during your studies, both for campus-based students as well as distance learning students.

You can reach the counsellors via e-mail: kurator@hig.se

Published by: Satu Moberg Page responsible: Maria Strand Updated: 2023-12-27
Högskolan i Gävle
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