When I had the opportunity to teach health education classes to middle school kids in rural Vermont, one of the mainstays of the program was the group project. Kids would plan together, do research, create supporting materials, write up their findings, and do a presentation.
Group projects helped kids learn all the same aspects of team work that they learned on the soccer field- just in a different setting.
It had much to recommend it. Kids learned not only about the heart, or the circulatory system, or the food pyramid, they learned how to get along…even when things didn’t go just right. For example:
How could kids handle it when two of them were doing all the work and two were just gliding along on their effort?
It’s definitely time to call a team meeting and –
- Make a list of all the work to be done (including work already completed).
- Together set a time frame for each task.
- As a group, make decisions about who will do what, without making a big deal about who’s not doing what.
If the work still isn’t getting done fairly, it’s time to call another team meeting – and this time – ask the teacher to join the meeting. This way she can help out, or at least will become aware of what’s going on, and the two students working hard on the project wont’ be in a position of having to complain about their teammates.