Student tips for boosting teamwork skills in group activities

skills teamwork group project

Students – in school, college or uni you might get assigned group activities. Did you know it can go so much more smoothly if you use your Young Professional teamwork skills? Here are 7 student teamwork tips to help you on your way.

Think of lesson groups as teams, not groups.

When you’re assigned group work in your place of learning, don’t think of it as a group. Think of it as a team. A little word change can make a big difference. You’re a team now, and all pulling together.

Come up with a team name for your work group.

If you’ve been thrown in with students you haven’t worked or talked much with before, coming up with a team name as a group is a good ice-breaker to start talking and sharing ideas.

Not sure exactly what your group task involves? Tackle it as a team.

Sometimes, when you’re in a team and asked to solve a problem as part of your activity, you can all end up sitting and staring in silence at the problem – and that’s using up valuable class time which you could spend tackling the problem as a team!

As a team, ask yourselves what you were all thinking when you were reading the question and why you were puzzled or confused.

  • Did you all have the same difficulty in understanding the problem?
  • Did you all get stuck on the way a question was phrased, or did you all interpret the problem/goal in a different way?
  • Did one of your team remember something from the notes that the others might have missed?

Step by step, go through the problem as a team to see if you are all have the same understanding of what you’re being asked.

The quicker you get stuck in, the more time you all have to make a success of your team project.

Once you understand what you’re all meant to do, don’t lose precious time – get started! Use your self management skills to get organised as a team. Do you need to research stuff or gather the tools you need? Do you all need to decide who’s going to do what?

Work as a team to make sure you all feel clear about what needs to happen next, how it’s going to be done, and who’s going to do it. Then you can all get started.

Whatever role you have in the team… give it your best.

Maybe you have all chosen a team leader, and they have assigned you a role you are not that excited about. ‘Boring’ things don’t have to be boring if you master your positive attitude skills. What skills, knowledge and qualities do you have that will make you make your part of the project a flying success? Teamwork means your role is just as important as anyone else’s to make the project a success. Give it everything you’ve got!

Teamwork and communication:  Listen and share.

If everyone’s silent and in their own head, or if everyone’s shouting and talking over each other to get people to listen to them, it’s going to be hard to achieve your group activity. You can get a good team flow going if you pay attention to your communication skills.

Some tips:

  • Express your ideas in an open way – you deserve space to share your idea, and can still feel secure in yourself if other students have questions about it. They’re questioning the idea, not you.
  • If a student has an idea and you like it, support it. Tell them you like it! That’s good team spirit and helps drive things forward.
  • If you have questions about something suggested by another student, ask away. Remember that you just want to get a clearer picture about what they’ve suggested. You’re not aiming to build group tension or question them as a person.
  • Pay careful attention to your task’s instructions. Make sure you understand what you’re being asked to do and what it involves.
  • Listen to the ideas of other students. They might have a great idea or new and useful way of doing things. If they have a problem they need to share, listen to that too. Helping them helps the project.
  • Keep an eye on body language in your team. If someone looks withdrawn, encourage them to take part and have their say or help out with a part of the task. Give them a chance to feel useful and valued as a part of the team.

Teamwork and self belief: Make being in this team a choice, not a burden.

Finally… Think to yourself “I choose to be in this team”, not “I have to be in this team”.

Positive thinking will help to light your fire. What’s more, positive thinking is a big part of self belief – another skill that goes well with teamwork. If you can feel positive about being in this team, you can get more out of it and feel more relaxed and inspired with the other students you’re working with.

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