Dealing with Difficult Moments During Group Work
From Oliver Johnson
Study Skills Hack created by 301 Academic Skills Centre.…Read more Less…
- Silences - these often seem longer than what they really are. They can however be productive - especially if the group needs to discuss something of weight.
- Dead-ends - if silences suggest stagnation or a stalemate, try a new approach. Think of ways to break the task into smaller parts - can you turn the problem on its head? Brainstorm new ideas, reconvene the meeting for an hour’s time, discuss in pairs and feedback to the group, or go away and think individually.
- Imbalanced contributions - imbalances in the group can result in conflict and resentment. Sometimes a contribution may be less visible than another’s (e.g. researching) or someone may be struggling or out of the loop (e.g. if they missed a meeting and no notes were sent to them) or sometimes people just do not pull their weight. To mitigate against this, use a team operating agreements/group rules, create space for individual contributions to the project, and make sure tasks are broken down and shared equally with clear expectations.
- Strong emotions - address how the working of the group could be improved.
- Conflict - conflict doesn’t always have to be problem as differences of opinion can be productive if harnessed effectively. If the conflict becomes personal or disruptive then it needs addressing - take some time out from the discussion and return to it later. Democratic approaches can be useful but need to be used cautiously to avoid individuals becoming marginalised. Can a compromise be found?