The 5 People You Meet in a Group Assignment

People tend to hate group assignments. Even two hard working, competent students can struggle to work together. And we all know, there are many types of people in a group.

Sadly, group assignments aren’t going anyway. Research shows that they can enhance learning, retention of knowledge and chances of success at university. They teach group work skills essential for the workplace. Even without the learning benefits, the lecturer doesn’t have to do as much marking.

Here is FUSA’s handy guide to the people you’ll meet in group assignments and how to deal with them…

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The Leader

This person takes control. They may do it automatically, or you may sit in silence or quiet confusion until this person identifies themself. They outline the plan, split up the work, make a Facebook/Google group, email more frequently than anyone else, write everything down and generally do the most talking. This person usually cares the most about getting a good grade.

Strategy: Let them do their thing. Only challenge them if they say or do something stupid. This person can be relied upon to get shit done.

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The Distraction

Is this person out to sabotage the group? Possibly. They will have conflicting ideas about everything. They are on the completely wrong track, but are also the loudest group member. They are sure that they’re right.

Strategy: This person is the most dangerous. Try to show them why the group’s idea is the better plan and if you can’t, try to minimise the damage.

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The ‘Go With The Flow’-er

With any luck, you’ll get a few of these people. The Go With the Flow-er will do their assigned part. They probably won’t contribute many, if any, ideas. But they’ll chip into the actual work.

Strategy: Keep asking what they think and encouraging them to contribute more to discussions. But otherwise, just let them go for it.

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The Procrastinator

This person takes on tasks, makes promises, maybe even contributes big ideas… they just struggle to follow through. Time runs out before they can make that video and they end up giving a poorly written speech based on dot points they scribbled onto a napkin minutes before.

Strategy: Identify this person early and check up on them regularly to make sure they’re on track. Maybe they just need a good motivator?

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The Sloth

How did this person even get into uni? Even if they even turn up to group meetings or answer emails, they certainly aren’t doing any work. They don’t have any knowledge, skills or opinions to contribute to the assignment. They’re more interested in sleeping / partying / binging on Netflix.

Strategy: Give them something easy and non-essential to do, like a PowerPoint or an introduction. Set really early (fake) deadlines and bug them fairly consistently around the time you expect them to produce work.



Not sure which type you are? Take our handy quiz to find out!


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