4 Things to Do When Someone Doesn't Help Out With a Group Project

Ah, the dreaded group project.

Working on an assignment with a team of your peers often sounds easier than writing an entire history of WWII on your own, but when you factor in that some of your partners might just be looking to have other group members (like you) pick up their slack, group projects can get infinitely more complicated.

Scroll down for four things to do when someone doesn't help out with a group project:

Set Expectations

The first thing to do when you've got a group project is set expectations for yourself and for the other people in your group. That entails knowing what areas you excel in and what you can bring to the project, and doing the same with everyone in your group. For example, if you're working on a group lab report and you excel at math, you might be expected to be in charge of the numbers and data, while a group member who is a strong writer might be tasked with working on the introduction.

Students Working Together
(via Unsplash)


Divide Up the Tasks

This one goes hand-in-hand with setting expectations, but it's an important step to take if you're looking to nip any issues regarding lazy group members in the bud. If you get the sense (or know from experience) that some members of your team are less prone to doing their work than others, go ahead and (nicely) take charge by dividing up the tasks at hand.

For example, if the assignment is to do a presentation on Pablo Picasso, assign his early life to one member of the group, his blue period to another, and so on. Again, if a group member has a specific skill set that might come in handy, assign things accordingly. Breaking the group assignment down into manageable parts is a great way to ensure that everyone is doing roughly the same amount of work. Even the laziest students shouldn't have a problem helping with a given portion of a group project.


Offer to Help

Though it's easy to assume you partner (or partners) isn't pulling their weight when it comes to a group project due to laziness, their lack of participation might actually be the result of something deeper. If you sense this, pull the person aside and make sure they have a good grasp of the material. Their inaction could be a result of not understanding the project, or simply being too overwhelmed with the task at hand. If that's the case, do your best to offer some help (without doing their work entirely) and try guiding your struggling group member in the right direction. If you sense they need a level of help you're unable to provide, encourage them to speak with the teacher for additional assistance.

A Group Project
(via Unsplash)


Talk to Your Teacher

Speaking of teachers, they can be a valuable resource when dealing with uncooperative group members. However, they should be used sparingly and as a last resort if you want to avoid looking like a tattletale. Before getting the teacher involved, remind your wayward group member that everyone's grade is at stake here, not just their own. This should be enough to kick most people into high gear, but if it doesn't yield any results, a conversation with your teacher is warranted. Resist the urge to get angry and assign blame, and instead focus on how one group members lack of effort is harmful to them as well as the group as a whole. Your teacher should know what to do next.


For more school-related advice, click HERE for tips on how to stay awake when you start dozing off in class.