Study Tips: How to do effective group work
Working in a group can be a challenge at first – especially for international students, where there can be language barriers and cultural differences.
However, love it or hate it, group work is a key part of studying in the US or UK. So how can you make the most of it? Chip Pham, of INTO Colorado State University, shares her advice…
I have to be honest – when I first arrived at Colorado State University as an international student, I didn’t like doing team work. I worried about working with people I didn’t know – how could I trust them? How could I know that they would all work hard? I felt that I’d rather work on my own. However, my first experience of working in a group at CSU totally changed my perspective on things.
Our group was comprised of both American and Vietnamese students. We learned a lot from each other by sharing our different cultural perspectives. As different people in a group have a range of experiences and backgrounds, they can come up with a variety of creative ways to solve problems. It’s definitely true that “more hands make for lighter work” and “two heads are better than one”.
Working in a group helped me to step out of my comfort zone, try something new, discuss my opinions, meet new friends, and practice leadership skills. After a semester working with my classmates I’d developed some important soft skills like problem solving, teamwork and communication.
But if you’re feeling nervous about the idea of working in a group, I’ve asked CSU instructors Karen Duncan and Nancy Berry to share some tips:
Tip 1: Divide the work – assign roles for group members based on their strengths.
Tip 2: Listen actively, ask questions, and contribute ideas to the discussion.
Tip 3: Be open minded and flexible to others’ ideas. You can learn more than you might expect.
Hope that helps! Remember, group work is like anything else – the more you do it the better you’ll get. And I can honestly say that after I graduated and stepped into a professional working environment, the skills I learned helped me to better complete my tasks and get along with my coworkers. I’m glad that I tried to get the most out of my group work experiences.
Find out more about studying at INTO Colorado State University.