Ground rules

Most students have had experience of being a member of a group before they come to university, including family, employment and social groups. Every group of people will begin to form its own ground rules and ways of working together. The roles of people in these groups can be formal and made explicit - complete with titles, like ‘team leader’; or the roles that people play may be informal and accepted as ‘natural’. For example, the role of an older family member may be implicitly acknowledged and accepted by others without question - because that’s the way it is!

So group work at university will bring with it a mixture of the unfamiliar with the familiar; familiar, in that it is yet another social situation to be negotiated and navigated. But unfamiliar too, in that the 'rules of the game' are unknown, and that the student's previous education experience may not have included much opportunity to work closely with a group of culturally diverse strangers - for assessment purposes.

Group work presents an opportunity to:

  • Share your ideas and find solutions to problems
  • Work closely with students from a range of different cultural and social backgrounds
  • Develop important career skills, such as team working and time management: essential for most jobs today
  • Discover your specific strengths in group or team working
  • Learn how to deal with challenge and conflict
  • Gain new, additional, and even creative perspectives on study topics
  • Get to know socially a small group of students
  • Make new friends
  • Develop your communication skills