Problems in groups can include:
- members not attending meetings or communicating
- members not doing their share of the work or doing no work at all
- members who take over all the work, which enables others to do less
If problems arise, do not delay. Here are some strategies:
1. First, try to resolve the issue with the group
Use the group contract and project plan to enable objective discussions, based on clear evidence. At the same time, be open, curious and flexible with members who may be experiencing difficulties. Use active listening techniques.
"We agreed in the contract to meet our deadlines. You haven’t met your two most recent deadlines. Is there something happening, affecting your ability to get the work done?"
"In our contract, we all agreed to attend weekly meetings. If anyone has to miss a meeting, we agreed they should note their progress, to be shared at the meeting. You haven’t done this. Is there any reason for this?"
2. Speak with teaching staff as needed
If the group cannot resolve the problem, speak with your tutor or lecturer as soon as possible. IMPORTANT – telling your lecturer or tutor about the issue is NOT ‘telling tales’!
3. Seek help from other support services
Touch base with other support services, for example the Peer Learning Advisors (PLAs). PLAs are experienced La Trobe students specially trained to help others with study and assessments. They can give advice based on their own experience with group work.