The 5 Lies We’ve Been Told About Group Projects

I’m writing this post to vent some sort of lingering resentment and rage that resides deep within me from my days of doing group projects at school.

As far back as I’m sure most of us can remember, school often involved working with other students. Hell hath no fury like a group project.

group projects 1

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you were like me – you found that you were the person in the group who did all the work. The other group members were, basically, incompetent hyenas. (By the way, I would’ve rather worked with a group of incompetent hyenas than most of the people I was forced to work with.)

Teachers would revert to the same lengthy explanation of why exactly we were working in groups. It was always the same, and can be summarized with 5 main points:

1. Group work allows students to build communication skills.

2. Group work teaches students to delegate responsibilities and create trust.

3. Group work demonstrates the value of diverse ideas.

4. Group work forces students to learn time management.

5. Group work shows students that five heads are better than one.

You probably know what I’m going to say….

The previous five points are all utter crapsauce, in my most humble opinion. We have been fed lies I tell you, lies. Without further ado, allow me to break this down, point by point, so we all can gain a clearer understanding of why the 5 points supporting group work are really 5 points supporting slow mental collapse.

1. Group work allows students to build communication skills.

When you work in a group, you first pray that the other groupies are sane members of the human race. If they are not, there will be no “building communication skills.” In fact, there will be little communication at all. After approximately 20 minutes of group work, you will realize that your communication skills have slowly deteriorated.

group projects 2

*5 minutes later*

group projects 3

*5 minutes later*

group projects 4

2. Group work teaches students to delegate responsibilities and create trust.

What a joke. Students know that “delegate responsibilities” is code for “split up the work and hope that everyone does they’re part or the entire group is screwed.” If you know that some members of your group are not responsible students, why on this great earth would you give THEM the responsibility of a project for which YOU will be graded? I can only be responsible for myself. (I refuse to be held accountable for Jimmy, because he doesn’t give a flying crap about destroying the whole group by being an inept hyena).

group projects 5

As for trust, in a group project, there is none. (The only exception to this is when you remembered that that one student in your group did a group project with you two years ago in a history class, and they demonstrated they were not an inept hyena back then, therefore, they are probably still trustworthy, and you make them your secret group ally).

If you KNOW that a person in your group is not a responsible person, why should you trust them? Again, I can only be responsible for myself, so in the end, I can only trust myself. The responsibility/trust thing kind of go together….a lot.

3. Group work demonstrates the value of diverse ideas.

Most of the time, I value diverse ideas. New perspectives, innovative techniques, thought-provoking discussion; sounds marvelous, wouldn’t you agree?

I’m going to be a terrible person right now: I value diverse ideas in a group project as long as those ideas do not come from an inept hyena. When they do, they drag the entire group down into pit from which none return; a pit of inept hyenas.

group projects 6

4. Group work forces students to learn time management.

I’m sensing a repeating theme here: I can only be responsible for myself, trust myself, and be aware of my own time management skills. I cannot – and should not – have to be responsible for Jimmy the Inept Hyena and his time management skills, or lack of.

You can hear the low groaning of students as they struggle to arrange their insane schedules to work with five different people – each with their own insane schedule – on a project.

group projects 8

group projects 7

group projects9

5. Group work shows students that five heads are better than one.

Point number five contains the largest amount of crapsauce. Clearly, five heads are only good if the five heads have known each other for a long time, and have established a solid social and working relationship which leads to trust and success required for working in groups.

Group projects in school never work like this. I for one know that one head – my own head – is better than sharing it with four other heads in this particular circumstance.

group projects 10


In brief summary: group projects suck. Nobody can be trusted, especially inept hyenas.

xo kelly



  1. lol yes!! I HATED group projects except in one class I had where I just partnered up with my friend and we made ridiculous movies out of clay objects and made my mom take us to cool locations to videotape- that was kind of fun. But in general your experience above was a lot like mine! Minus the bologna Star Wars guy (who seems awesome! Why not partner with him? He seems very creative!!)

  2. Tell it like it is.
    I am a teacher now and am always being instructed – firmly – by my higher-ups to get my students involved in more cooperative, experiential projects. You just put into words and pictures my personal experience and opinions of the results. But this is for a while now the “trend.”

  3. I always ended up being the one doing all of the work on group projects. I was the reason other people passed chemistry and other science classes. Also history. I remember a group project in an anthropology class in college where I literally did all of the work on my own, and the other members of the group were like, “Well, we’ll just present it, then” (which was fine by me, because I have an autism spectrum disorder, and speaking in front of a class is one of my worst nightmares). However, the inept hyenas didn’t know how to pronounce any of the words, because they didn’t pay attention in class and obviously never even looked up a hint of what they were supposed to be talking about, so I had to keep mutter/whispering to them how to pronounce things, then ended up doing a lot of the presenting myself, anyways, with a lot of “um’s” between words, because I fail miserably at public speaking. I explained this to the professor later, what had happened and why our presentation didn’t hold together well, and she accepted my explanation. She could see that I had done the vast majority of the work and made a note of it in our grades. Probably one of the best professors I ever had.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s