15 Jul 2015

Effective Teamwork in School

We’ve all heard horror stories about projects failing because of poor group cohesion. Things just fall apart when your team doesn’t work well together. With group work being a requirement for many courses, your success in school becomes closely tied with how effective your teamwork is.

For groups to function well in a course context, communication skills and effective processes are essential. Below you will find some tips to help achieve effective teamwork in school.
Make Time for Team Meetings

It is always important to meet up to ensure that continued communication occurs between team members. Meeting regularly helps the team stay in touch with any changes. Furthermore, it allows you to immediately address any concerns that may have arisen.

Meetings are still possible even when your schedules don’t seem to mesh well. Even without full attendance, you can still proceed. Not all stakeholders have to be involved all the time, you just have to ensure that all members are kept up-to-date.
Ensure Equal Contribution

All members need to contribute to the project in one way or another – whether it’s by developing new ideas or doing the legwork. Everyone has to do their part and work towards the success of the team.
Assign Roles Accordingly

One of the main reasons people work in teams is to make use of the diverse strengths of a group of people while covering their respective weaknesses. An effective group understands what each member can bring to the table and allocates roles appropriately.
Be Flexible

It is important to encourage empathy and open-mindedness within the group. Don’t immediately reject an idea just because it seems like it wouldn’t work. Being dismissive will only make the contributing member feel unvalued.

Work on the premise of possibility instead of impossibility and discuss how things could work. Even if you end up concluding that the idea is not feasible, at least you’ve shown consideration for the contribution.
Establish Effective Means of Communication

Make full use of all the communication tools available to you – email, web conferencing, phone, shared online documents, etc. You may also want to assign a designated administrator who’s in charge of coordinating all forms of communication. Just make sure that all the relevant parties are kept in the loop.
Have Proper Documentation

Make an effort to have paper (or digital) records for all your group activities. Meeting agendas, minutes, and timelines are all useful things to have. You team will be able to work with a clear direction with the proper documentation, staying informed on any outstanding tasks and the agreed responsibilities.
Remember that the greatest resource that you can have in your school life is other people. So learn how to be a productive member of any team that you are part of in order to maximise your gains from teamwork.