According to American history, the work in writing The Federalist Papers was divided evenly among three men. There were a total of 85 essays. John Jay got sick after writing five essays, James Madison wrote a total of 29 essays, and Alexander Hamilton wrote the other 51. This history is a proof that though work is given equally, the efforts dedicated towards it still vary. This applies to the story of grouping system inside the classroom of every Filipino learner.
In less than a decade, the Philippine educational system had experienced drastic changes. Basic education was enhanced. Tertiary education became free. Valedictorians, salutatorians, and honorable mentions were no longer named in commencement exercises. Nevertheless, how students behave towards tasks in school and how they work to learn, especially in group projects, never changed.
If there is one story that is common in all group projects, that is the smartest one would be the leader. He/she would divide the work to the members. Days would pass but still, there is no progress. When time comes when everybody crams, the leader ends up doing all the tasks to comply the requirements. Yet, all members are graded based on the performance of the group and not on the effort of each member. It sounds unfair but it is true.
While we are laughing at the catchphrase, “Group project raw pero isa lang ang gumagawa” that circulates in our social media feeds because we can relate to it, we failed to realize that in the process, the smart ones become smarter and the struggling ones remain struggling. The only person who grows academically is the one who works for the project. As it always goes, it is the leader who does the job and the one who understands what he/she is doing.
The primary role of the leader is to guide his/her team to reach the goal by delegating all the works to the members but what is actually happening in the system is that leaders always take the initiative to start when nobody worked after the tasks were assigned, considering that we are already in college and young adults by age, and we are expected to act like one.
However, it is also the responsibility of the leader to know his/her members’ capacity to do their functions in the group. It is the leader’s part to lift up his/her groupmates who are struggling and be considerate of the situation. Yet, we must always remember that weakness is not always an excuse to be passive because there is room for improvement.
In addition, we cannot deny the fact that there are more advantages when activities are done by group. There is a flow of ideas from each members. The amount of money that would be spent for the project is not a subject for worry because everybody is obliged to contribute. It can produce outputs earlier than the deadline. But are these practiced? Are they just ideas failed to be put into actions because of poor mindsets? Some members depend on the smarter members in formulating the content of a project and only choose to pay their contributions. Money helps, however, student outputs are produced by sharing of knowledge and skills.
Perhaps what is lacking in us right now is our willingness to cooperate with diverse people and some of us have a raw sense of responsibility. The grading system towards group projects and performances are beyond our control but the rewards of hard work that each member deserves is in our hands. After all, we do not want to be the reason of the failure of others. Also, conflicts between the members can be fixed through good communication.