Group work – need for an informal contract between students

I toyed with the idea of using Adam Morgan’s group ‘contract’ in which students state how they will communicate, how often, how tasks will be divided among members and how conflict will be resolved. I formed groups based on students who chose similar cultural case study themes to research. I wanted to avoid ‘ghettoising’ – students just forming groups with their best mates – the workplace outside university does not function that way. I decided not to institute the group contracts in the end as groups seemed to be functioning well. However, that was a mistake. One group was dysfunctional because of one member’s less than satisfactory commitment and contribution. The group’s mark thus suffered and there were mutual recriminations. Next year a group contract will be instituted for each group.


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