After you’ve had group work once, you’ve had enough. ACT and the like trigger ulcerous gastritis and abnormal aggressiveness. The moment you realize the English proficiency of half of the group members is too low to keep up with your standards. The moment a smart ass complains that they could do it ‘three times faster three times better’ on their own….
Instead, why not consider it as a great opportunity to train social skills you’ll be thankful to master later in life? Let me summarize my six golden rules for constructive engagement in group work.
Delegating is healthy. Often working too much because ‘otherwise no one else will do it’? Remember: you are all in the same boat. If you will take up all tasks, others will just take advantage of you. You are inducing them to think that you have a masochistic taste for working on Sundays or until three am while everyone else’s resting... Which you don’t. Right?
Let go. People will not complete tasks your way, but they will complete them nevertheless. If you do not entrust tasks to others, they’ll feel underestimated and scorned. If you do all the work by yourself, 90 percent of others will not feel responsible because you do all the work by yourself... So break the vicious circle.
Do it the Socratic way. When you admit your limitations, give each other space and ask others' contribution, you all win. Be the change you want to see.
Give others the benefit of doubt. It’s indignant how quickly some people lessen other group members because the latter don’t try to shine. Especially among non-English native speakers, and especially in multicultural group work, not everyone will be equally able or willing to take chances, but that does not evince intelligence or preparedness.
Leave condescending manners @ home. I noticed how some westerners tend to start off with a didactic or condescending tone when dealing with group members from developing countries. Such tone has been proved counter-productive… even with children. Drop it altogether, peeps.
Have a mascot! A cute unicorn will do.