"Group Work" in school...ever feel like you get the short-end of the stick?

Canada
December 12, 2006 8:48pm CST
I am currently taking a course that (if you can believe it) has only 2 students. Me, and another woman. Because of our small class size, all group-work has become "partner-work" projects. Here's my problem: on our first (and so far, only) assignment, I volunteered to type and print the final product as my partner was having "internet and computer problems". I tried so schedule a few meetings so we could discuss and outline what we wanted to say, but she always had a reason as to why she couldn't. Anyway, I demanded that 2 days before the project was due, she submit to me in writing what her ideas/thoughts and proposed "contribution" was going to be. I was given a barely legible, very "rough" draft (point-form an'all!) piece of paper. From that I had to exrapolate exactly what she wanted to add to the project, most of which I had already prepared. She didn't have much to offer, and I ended up doing the vast majority of the work myself. Upon handing the assignment in, I gave her a copy, and she actually had the nerve to say "you forgot this...etc." Now we are to be completing a second assignment, and our teacher has given us the option of completing the project alone or as a pair. I know that she is pressing to be "partners" again, but I feel that the teacher is aware of what happened last time. (In addition to the "group project", we handed in an individual project, and the similarities between my own style/wording and that of the "group" probably showed just who did the majority of the work.) Should I just flat-out refuse to work with this person again, or should I approach the instructor with my concerns and maybe mention that the very idea of "group/partner work" is unrealistic considering our class size? I mean, what's the benefit if I'm working with the same person all the time, even if she were pulling her own weight?
1 person likes this
23 responses
• United States
13 Dec 06
I ALWAYS get the short end of the stick in group projects when I tried them. Whether it is in school or at work, it seems like I always end up bearing the brunt of the workload and everyone else gets the benefits. You have been given the option of working alone, I suggest you use it.
• United States
13 Dec 06
Actually, playing devil's advocate to myself, the teacher may be wanting you to help teach the other girl. Also the other girl may have thought her "constructive criticism" at the end was her input?
• India
13 Dec 06
hey you know wat , basically these kind of problems arise in all occassions where the group work is implemented , the best possible solution is to Select a very good partner who is so good at your -ves and is more helpful.since you are not LUCKY enough to get a partner like that you should try changing the ATTITUDE of your partner, this is better than complaining to your Instuctor , Make her feel that how important is her Contribution just keep praising for everything she contributes ,draw all her interest towards the project , then you will really see the difference she would do all project even without you .good luck
• Canada
14 Dec 06
As this is a shortened (condensed or "fast-tracked") course, I don't exactly have time to change this person's attitude about working as part of a team. The way I look at it, if you sign-up for the course, you should already be willing to do the work, however it is handed out. This means contributing equally to any group assignment.
• United States
13 Dec 06
I never liked doing group work in school. I wanted to do my own work and get credit for it. My son has gotten the short end of the stick many times in high school with this situation. Last year in one of his classes he worked so hard on a project that took several weeks. The other kid apparently contributed nothing and when the final grades were issued they both received a 59/F. I felt that this was very unfair. The teacher said they have to learn how to coerce group members and partners into contributing to projects because it is something these high-level learners will be doing and facing in the workplace. I still thought it was a bunch of hogwash!
• Canada
14 Dec 06
That does sound like a bunch of hogwash! I mean, "learn how to coerce"? In the real world, a non-productive team or team-member gets fired, not pushed along and coached to "do better".
@djbtol (5498)
• United States
13 Dec 06
There are always things that we can take offense at, especially if we are working with others in a group. We will gravitate to those who think, act and talk like us; at the same time we will be less enthused about those who are different than us.
• Canada
14 Dec 06
But, I don't take offense to anything this person has said-I take offense to the fact that she is lazy when it comes to working with others...not exactly the same thing as disagreeing with someone's opinion or not liking their work style.
@GardenGerty (99413)
• United States
13 Dec 06
That is too bad. My daughter often had this problem in middle school. If you can get away with not working with your partner again, go for it. You seem to think the teacher is aware. You can either tell the partner the truth, or you can go for the polite lie: "I feel like in order to get the most benefit from my time in this class I need to be responsible for my own work." You can probably very briefly let the teacher know what you experienced. Unless this class is about teaming, or management, you should be okay. It sounds like you have a pretty good handle on what to say. Sometimes in group work when my kids were in school the group was allowed to grade other group members on their contribution. That did not constitute the entire grade, but did give a teacher an idea of how they were contributing.
• Canada
13 Dec 06
I only wish we had the option of grading eachother! Anyway, as our class is not a management or collaboration-type course (in fact, it's health care related) I think it would be better for me and my "partner" to work alone-I don't want her dragging me down, and she has to learn how to complete tasks on her own if she hopes to make it "out there". I don't know if I really have to let my instructor in on the secret, but I most likely will take the "polite approach" when talking to my partner. Thanks for the reassurance-I think that's what I needed to hear!
• United States
14 Dec 06
F! - F!
I really hate group work! You always have someone in your group that doesn't do anything and drops your group's grade.
@supershik (298)
• United States
14 Dec 06
I'd definitley work alone because you can't let her walk all over you just because the teacher thinks you should work in groups doesn't mean it's right she might just want to grade one less project that's so ridiculous that the other lady won't help i'd so put her in her place.
• United States
13 Dec 06
I would speak to your instructor, notifying him/her of exactly what happened. And mention to him/her that a partner situation is unacceptable to you. That you'd prefer to work alone since you did all the work anyhow. Let the teacher know, that you are there to learn not do other's work for them.
@emisle (3824)
• Ireland
13 Dec 06
my college friends have all had varying experiences, but that's part of the learning curve of being in school, college, etc. If i were you i would do it on my own, it's not fair that you might have to go through that exp. again and let the other person take a free ride and than get credit for your hard work.
@vikceo (1301)
• India
13 Dec 06
it happens man!! take it easy
@Echo123 (155)
• United States
13 Dec 06
The saddest part of this is you do not seem to be talking about a yong school-aged child, but an adult. I am back in college and we have a lot of aprtner work required, since these are education courses. Thankfully, I have a choice of people to work with, because I had exactly one situation like yours to deal with and I resent her getting an A by piggybacking on my work. She dragged her feet until it was almost too late so I stepped in and did the whole thing. Needless to say iw ill not be pairing up with her again. If I were in your situation, I would more than likely approach the professor and YES, refuse to do pair work with this individual anymore.
@vipul20044 (5799)
• India
13 Dec 06
You know the , there are many pros and cons of a group pros being less, thats only limited to a helping hand and another brain being added You know 2 brains and 4 hands can work better than 1 brain and 2 hands But at the same time you are dependent on someone else if he is too lazy you are done for! Personally i feel individual work to be better Siriously if you arent comfortable with someone you should prefer working alone
• India
13 Dec 06
NO GROUP WORK IS VERY NECESSARY FOR U TO LEARN TEAM BUILDING. AND U ALSO GET TO KNOW YOUR FRIENDS NICELY
• United States
13 Dec 06
I am a college student, and I avoid group projects like the plague for this reason. If you feel comfortable, it might be better for you to talk to the teacher. That way you don't come off as mean or uncooperative, and she can be the one to put an end to the group projects.
@lingli_78 (12845)
• Australia
13 Dec 06
well, if i am in your position, i will definitely going to discuss this problem with the instructor and tell him/her about my concerns... and also, i will prefer to do the assignment alone rather to be in team... i experience what you experienced before where i do all the assignmnet by myself and the other team members just got the benefit from it...
@alchemistrx (2570)
• Philippines
13 Dec 06
It could be an advantage for you if you did most of the work because you will know how it's done but it's really unfair if the other members just sit and have not contributed to the assignemnet.
@nicelyrom (521)
• Philippines
13 Dec 06
if it's a group work and she's like that, it is better that you do it for the two of you (even if you feel you're being abused) rather than let her do it without responsibility and credibility that would thereby affect you own grades. i think your teacher knows what's happening. once the teacher make you choose between solo and partner assignments, you can talk to your classmate and explain to her that maybe it would be good for both of you to do the project on your own because you can do the project in your most convenient time. you don't have to adjust to each other's schedule.
• India
13 Dec 06
I always hated group projects. I end up doing it all on my own. I could have refused, but I didn't want a bad grade. Sounds like she expects you to do all the work.But don't woory, the more you work the more you gain..
@Bunny2 (2102)
• Australia
13 Dec 06
Bunny2 - Bunny2
My sons have had that problem at all levels - school and now university. You are only as good as the sum of the people in the group - and it depends on how conscientious the others are. I find it a grossly unfair way to be assessed. Quite often my sons have been in groups where one of them have to carry most of the group because the others don't care. In your case, give you will always be working with the same person, it's not a true assessment of team work. I think you should speak to your instructor about your concerns. It's nothing personal, of course, just you feel you may do better in some circumstances on your own. Good luck!!
• United States
13 Dec 06
I always hated group projects. I ended up doing it all on my own. I could have refused, but I didn't want a bad grade. Sounds like she expects you to do all the work.