Grace’s first approach could be to find out more information about what the other group members’ expectations are for the project. Finding out what’s going on for the other group members could help Grace to make a more informed choice about what to do next.

Let’s find out what going on for Amanda.

What is Amanda feeling?
  • That it’s unfair that they get the same mark when they’re all doing different workloads for the project.

Amanda needs good marks for a competitive internship that she is applying for at the end of the semester. This is similar to what is important for Grace and possibly something they could work towards together.

Let’s see what’s important for Tyler.

It’s Tyler’s last subject and he already has a job lined up. What’s important for him is that he gets a pass for this assignment. He doesn’t need any more than that. He says that this project isn’t a priority for him at the moment as he has a lot of other things going on in his life.

What is important for Grace and Amanda is not important for Tyler.

Let’s also see what’s going on for Lulu.

Lulu says she’s looking forward to this project because she works hard. It could be important for her that her hard work is acknowledged by other members of the group. While Lulu seems genuinely interested in participating actively in the group work her intentions could have been misunderstood by other members of the group due to:

  • Miscommunication around how the group would meet
  • Lack of clarity about assigned tasks
  • Different expectations of how group work should be done
  • Lack of time to develop trust and a good working relationships

Grace and Amanda may have had similar experiences of working in groups before and expect this group to work the same way. But it’s important to remember that everyone will have had different previous experiences and may make their own assumptions about ‘what’s best’ for the group. Asking early on what’s important for everyone in the group could help limit misunderstandings during the project.

Once Grace has more information about what’s important to her fellow group members she could decide that her best options is to have a conversation with:

1. Her lecturer

Planning a conversation with her lecturer could include:

  • Thinking about what options she could suggest (for example, changing groups, asking for an extension, finding out if there’s an alternative assessment she could do)
  • Raising her concerns and asking for advice
  • Asking about how the group work activity could impact upon entry into the honours program
2. A trusted group member

Grace may decide that she can confide in Amanda and ask her opinion about what to do with the situation. If they both have similar goals to receive a high grade they may be able to work together to try and achieve that outcome.

3. All the group members

Grace could ask if everyone is available for a group meeting. If she planned for the conversation she would need to think about how she could address the important issues to her such as:

  • work allocation
  • quality of work
  • due dates
  • meeting attendance

She would need to take into account the likely responses from her group members. She could prepare for the conversation by thinking of some options that could work for each group member based on what’s important to them.

It is important for Grace to recognise that every group member will have their own priorities and to remain flexible enough to try and work something out that will take into account what’s important to them.