Today we had to do group work in biology class. Unfortunately, it isn’t a leap year thing that only happens one day every four years, for this one we’ll be doing it for a whole week. We chose our own groups of three, so I ended in a group with Kat and Mark. Paul ended up with two people he’s been talking with in gym, so at least he isn’t stuck with being in a group of leftovers. I’m pleased that I got to get into a group with the people I wanted to, but I don’t understand why the teacher doesn’t pick the groups. Usually, once all the more social people form groups with their friends all the less social people are stuck trying to make patchwork groups among themselves. So most of the class gets to work with people they want to, and the people who want to do group work the least have to work with those who nobody else wants to work with. It seems like it would be fairer to randomly select groups in order to level the playing field, but I guess I shouldn’t complain in this situation.
At least we don’t have to do group work too often, but we have to do it occasionally because a lot of us are going to go into careers where it’s unavoidable so we’d have learn how to do it sometime. It’s not so bad this time because I know the rest of my group and we were able to decide within the first couple of minutes how we were going to split up the project. Once you know what you’re part is, you can just pretend it’s a solo project. But sometimes you get stuck with a project you can’t split up or, very rarely here, a group that wants to do the work together. Having to constantly communicate what you’re doing, and trying to figure out what the other people are doing, is tiring and usually not very efficient. If you split up the project, once you’re done with all your parts you just combine them and the work is done. Well, unless somebody in the group did a poor job, then the other members might have to redo their part. But I don’t see that happening here at least.
The worst potential group, though, is a group that decides to spend their time socializing instead of working. It’s an occasional side effect of having groups selected by the students, which is another reason they should be randomized. For example, Paul’s group spent most of the day joking around instead of planning how they were going to do the project. I know this because their talking and laughing was so loud it made it difficult for me to concentrate on what I was doing. Eventually the teacher had to get involved in order to get them to be more quiet, but you could still hear them joking around even if the volume was lower. I’m sure they’ll get it together before the project is due at the end of the week however.