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group discussion tips

Let’s face it. Some of our most memorable school experiences involve group projects that seem to drag on interminably, leaving us with nothing but bad memories and a sense of dread every time a professor so much as mentions the word “group.” However, while group discussions can sometimes feel like they add little value to the learning process, they are a vital part of any course. In fact, many different fields will require you to complete group projects on an almost routine basis. So how do you make sure that your next group discussion is more helpful and less painful than your last? Here are some essential tips that will help you succeed in all future group discussions.

Prepare and rehearse early

A well-planned discussion will help you avoid many of the common pitfalls associated with group discussions. If you and your group members are used to working together, you are much less likely to experience problems such as someone taking too long with their part or someone simply dropping out altogether. To prepare, discuss how you will conduct your research and what you want to achieve with that research as a group. How many people will be assigned to each task? What will each group member be responsible for? Also, discuss how you will communicate with one another, and set up a meeting schedule in advance so that you don’t have to rush things at the last minute.

Don’t skimp on research

A good discussion will serve to both summarize and add to what you learn in your lectures and readings. It will put those things in a new light and add more depth to your understanding of the material. It will also allow you to apply what you’ve learned to real-world examples and scenarios, helping you to better remember the information. A successful group discussion will depend in large part on how much time and effort you put into researching your topic. To do this successfully, you will need to make sure that everyone in your group is on the same page with regard to what your topic is. You don’t want one person to spend two weeks researching a topic that the rest of the group has already decided isn’t worth exploring.

Establish ground rules and roles upfront

Once you’ve finished your research, you’ll need to begin the process of synthesizing your findings into a coherent and well-written paper. This process will almost always be more efficient and effective if you and your group members are on the same page regarding how you will work together. One of the most important things you can do is establish clear roles and expectations for each member of the group. For example, one person will be in charge of creating an outline based on the research that has been gathered, another will write the first draft, and a third will be tasked with editing and revising the paper.

To further minimize potential problems, you should also establish some basic rules for how communication will take place within your group. For example, you may choose to communicate primarily via email, or you may prefer to host weekly in-person meetings. Whatever you decide, make sure that everyone in the group is aware of the rules from the get-go.

Don’t be afraid to speak up

If you are part of a group that has a reputation for being loud, disruptive, or just generally difficult to work with, you may be tempted to just stay out of it and avoid drawing attention to yourself. However, this is not the best approach. Rather than trying to stay out of the limelight, you should do the exact opposite: actively participate in the discussion, but do so in a positive way. This means you should try to facilitate discussion rather than simply chime in when you have something to say. On the other hand, you should also make sure that everyone in the group gets a chance to contribute, even if they are a little quieter than others.

Post Author Ricardo - 16-05-22

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