High school projects use small groups to focus on developing student communication skills. These assignments help teens to learn how to interact with others, and also teach the best way to express ideas and work to complete the assignment. Classes in any subject area can effectively use projects to explore and practice communication, but students have the greatest chance to learn skills in group assignments with participants limited to five or six people, according to research done by the Wharton Graduate Leadership Program.
Panel Discussion Presentations
Panel discussion projects assign students a group research topic on a variety of subject areas, and require the teens to develop a personal opinion backed by evidence and qualified experts. The student must then take this information and work with the group to create a panel presentation. The group topic should allow a range of opinions and focus on timely information so that students have access to a wealth of both primary and secondary references for research. Presenting an opinion in front of an audience helps students develop confidence in organizing ideas and arguments to support a stand on an issue. Requiring students to work in a group helps develop the communication skills to explain and defend a position. Preparation for the presentation also allows teens to understand how to compromise to create the final project.
Service-learning projects give students an opportunity to volunteer for campus or community projects to help others. The service allows students to learn about society and develop the skills to work with a group. High school assignments frequently ask groups of students to create a new service program. This involves brainstorming ideas for the project, planning the execution of the service and completing the project by putting the plan into action. Habitat for Humanity works with high school students and secondary school clubs to build housing for low-income families. Community food banks ask students to collect food for distribution, and the American Red Cross uses secondary students to help organize on-campus blood donation drives. Students learn and practice both interpersonal and communication skills by supplying the needed services for projects organized by these agencies.
Sales and Marketing Groups
Sales and marketing projects using small groups give students a chance to design an item or invent a process and then create a campaign to promote it. Leaders assign students to small groups or allow students to voluntarily group together according to personal interests. The project involves working as a team to design the product or process, targeting the sales market through research, and then making formal marketing plans to sell the item or process. Students learn business communication skills through the small group project and also hone interpersonal talents to persuade other members of the group to adopt marketing ideas. Community organizations, including state and local chambers of commerce, offer formal group marketing programs for area high schools.
Group Assessment Assignments
Small assessment groups offer students a chance to practice communication skills and develop the ability to present a position and document the reasons for other group members to accept logical positions. The assignment asks students to select a problem at the school or in the local community and research the issue in detail. Students must identify the reasons for the problem and design a solution to solve it. Group members discuss the individual research and come to a consensus to list the causes and debate the best solution to solve the problem.
- University of Maine: Students in Small Group Communication Class Take on Community Projects
- Northland International University: Small Group Communication
- Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Teaching Excellence: Promoting Communication Skills -- Group Projects and Presentations
- Knowledge@Wharton: Is Your team Too Big? Too Small? What's the Right Number?
- Montana Chamber of Commerce: High School Business Challenge
- International Journal of Business and Social Science: Impact of Discussion Method on Students Performance; Fazalur Rahman, et al.
- Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images