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Group Contracts are agreed-upon norms and policies that student groups determine together.
In most instances, group contracts are used at the outset of complex group projects or tasks. The teacher provides a framework and structure that may include pre-established norms or protocols or may be entirely open. Group members then discuss and establish additional unique norms and agree to protocols around communication as well as accountability.
Some group contract approaches suggest including a process for consequences for group members who do not behave as agreed. This may even include a firing process where group members are ultimately expelled from the group to then complete tasks alone.
Group contracts are most effective when all students have equal voice in the process and norms and protocols are simple and reasonable.
For examples and templates, visit cmu.edu
For more about effective group interaction, visit uwaterloo.ca