The truth behind group projects

The truth behind group projects

Emma Teason

They’re lurking just around the corner in every class. They’re twirling their diabolical, handlebar mustaches, waiting to prey on unsuspecting students. They’re rubbing their hands together and laughing maniacally, feeding on students’ displeasure. That’s right: group projects. When forced to take part in these evil assignments, students assume specific roles within the group. Here are the usual suspects.

The Lazy One: Often found nodding off in a corner, this person, like the Boss, contributes nothing but problems to a group project. The Lazy One refuses to do anything, especially outside of school, and doesn’t come to meetings planned by the group. When giving a presentation, the Lazy One stands at the side awkwardly, saying as little as possible, sometimes even refusing to read his/her designated slide. If it’s a memorization-based project, the other members often feed the Lazy One his/her lines in hushed, frustrated voices. A ventriloquist’s dummy is often more useful than the Lazy One.

The Worker: Sitting quietly in the planning stages of the project, this person makes the project happen. He/she tends to agree to anything simply to get work done. He/she will show up to any outside of school meeting early and will do all work delegated to him/ her as soon as possible. Not allowing his/her grade to depend on anyone else’s work, he/she might get frazzled and control-freakish, extremely frustrated by the unwillingness of anyone else in the group to help him/her. The project affects the Worker the most, as he/she is the only one to truly see the vicious monster of a project sink its claws into the members and twist their personalities into heightened versions of themselves.

The Boss: This person comes up with all the ideas, most impractical, with no intention of doing much (if any) of the work. The Boss likes to constantly change the main idea of the project, ensuring little work ever gets done. The Boss might delegate tasks but never has time to do his/her responsibility on the project because he/she is too busy overseeing everyone and telling them what they’re doing wrong.

The Mediator: This person attempts to keep the group working together. In the face of growing tensions between the differing personality types, the Mediator tries to appease everyone and settledisputes, especially in the early stages of the project. The Mediator genuinely wants to do work, but his/her time is consumed by trying to keep the group from falling apart.

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