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Audrey Markham Sloat, MBA, CHE Lambton College. Hi, I’m Audrey. Teaching Your Students How to Work in Groups. Today’s session. What we won’t get to today. Evaluation and Assessment I will try to provide some resources for you

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what we won t get to today
What we won’t get to today
  • Evaluation and Assessment
  • I will try to provide some resources for you
  • Phase 2 Workshop: Grading student contributions to group work
  • Don’t try to do all of these activities in 1 class!
why group work
Why group work?
  • Application of knowledge
  • Learn from others
  • Experiment in a safe environment
  • Complete small and large-scale projects
  • Develop More Solutions
  • Detect Flaws
  • Build Social Connections
  • More creative answers are generated
  • Preparation for the workforce
research indicates that group work enhances
Communication skills

Negotiation skills

Time management


Ability to Delegate


Compromise skills

Defense of an opinion


Contribution of ideas

Research Indicates that group work enhances:
hands up if you are a lousy team player
Hands up if you are a lousy team player?
  • Rarely admitted
  • Frequently true
  • Difficult to teach the difference!
you knew it was coming
You knew it was coming!
  • Let’s get you into groups…
the group must complete this total task in 3 minutes
The group must complete this Total task in 3 minutes!
  • Introduce yourselves
    • Name, College, Program
  • Tell your group in 30 seconds (or less!)
    • 1 challenge you have faced using groups
    • 1 positive thing you have noticed about groups or group work
first activity do on your own
First activity do on your own
  • No talking, pencils down please
  • You will be asked to recall the words that show on the screen







write the words no talking or sharing
Write the words – no talking or sharing…

Let’s see how many you got: Back to answers

Is Teamwork really better?

Let’s see…

Pencils down please






write the words discuss with your team
Write the words – Discuss with your team

Let’s see how many the team got: Back to answers

helium rings22
Helium Rings
  • Each group: form a circle facing inward
  • Point your right index finger (palms down) and hold your hands out at shoulder level
  • Adjust your finger heights until the Helium Ring is laying flat on the back of each person’s finger. Everyone's index fingers must touch the ring.
    • Pinching or grabbing the ring is not allowed - it must rest on top of EVERYONE’S fingers.
  • The challenge is to lower the Helium Ring to the ground.
how would you debrief this
How would you debrief this?
  • What was the initial reaction of your team?
  • How well did the team cope with this challenge?
  • What skills did it take to be successful as a team?
  • What creative solutions were suggested and how were they received?


What would an outside observer have seen as the strengths and weaknesses of the team?
  • What did each team member learn about him/her self as an individual?
  • What other situations in life or at work are like the Helium Stick?


helium sticks
Helium Sticks

An alternative to the rings!

task 1 helium creation
Task 1: Helium Creation
  • Materials: 6 sheets of paper, tape
  • Goal: Create the longest, strongest tube of paper possible from the supplies provided
  • Time 4 minutes
helium stick part 2
Helium stick: Part 2
  • line up into two rows facing each other.
  • Point your index fingers parallel to the floor (palms down) and hold your hands out at shoulder level
  • Adjust your finger heights until the Helium Stick is horizontal. Everyone's index fingers must touch the stick.
    • Pinching or grabbing the stick is not allowed - it must rest on top of EVERYONE’S fingers.
  • The challenge is to lower the Helium Stick to the ground.
roles to play in groups
Roles to play in Groups
  • Chairperson:
    • If everyone is responsible then no one is
    • Keeps the team on track
    • Makes sure everyone participates
  • Note taker
    • Tracks all conversation
  • Reporter
    • Provides groups feedback to the class
    • Summarize decisions
  • Time keeper
    • Makes sure team meets all time lines
group assignment
Group Assignment
  • Assign group roles (chair, time keeper, reporter, recorder)
  • Track your answers on flip chart
  • Be prepared to discuss
  • You have 3 minutes
  • Here is your topic…
ease them into it
Ease them into it
  • Discuss a topic they know
  • Quick and to the point
  • Keep it safe for the groups
    • No right or wrong
  • Learning the process & DEBRIEF
    • Roles etc
  • As they learn, increase the complexity of topic and process
  • Be sure students introduce themselves
  • Be sure groups have a common goal to achieve
  • Groups help students learn more
  • Assign groups (or not?)
    • Students gravitate to friends – does this match your goal?
    • No one gets left on the sidelines…
  • Roles in teams
  • Reviewed the characteristics
teach them the basics of group work
Teach them the Basics of Group Work
  • It is all in the communication skills
  • Build trust and respect
  • Common goals and goal setting
  • Assignment of roles
  • Identify the ground rules
recognize different uses of teams
Recognize Different uses of teams
  • Short term
    • In class assignments and problems
    • Group discussions
    • Review of home work
  • Long term
    • Major projects

Short term team successes often lead to effective long term teams

share with students
Share with students
  • Explain your rationale for using groups
  • Outline & discuss the skills they need to be successful
  • Discuss the process to be used, your expectations, their expectations
ground rules for groups
Ground rules for Groups
  • They should understand the expectations
  • Determine the process
    • Meeting process (minutes, schedules etc)
    • Role assignment
    • How we communicate (listen, observe, comment)
  • Contracted behaviours
    • Conflict resolutions
    • Ramifications
do you understand the stages of team development
Do you understand the stages of team development?

Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing

some teaching techniques
Some Teaching techniques
  • Role plays
    • Negotiating, assertiveness, conflict resolution
  • Team building exercises
    • Communication, cooperation, collaboration, problem solving
  • Reflection journals
    • What have I learned about the process
  • Analyzing teamwork on reality shows
    • Survivor, The Apprentice, Amazing Race
dissecting videos
Dissecting Videos
  • Use clips or the whole movie
  • Challenge students to identify characteristics, behaviors etc
  • Create a ‘debrief’
  • Examples: Twelve Angry Men, The Wizard of Oz, Ocean’s 11, Numerous ‘team sports’ movies
large group project tools
Large group project Tools
  • Team member assignments (4-5 is most common)
  • Clearly define your objectives
    • Make process as important as content of project
    • Does your course outline identify this learning?
  • Provide class time
provide teamwork skills training
Provide teamwork skills training
  • Communication (express their ideas, listening, assessing, questioning, responding)
  • Self Analysis (you must know yourself before you can understand others)
  • Diversity training
  • Leadership skills
  • Assertiveness training
  • Problem solving, Conflict Management
other tips assessments
Other tips (Assessments)
  • Team contracts
  • Individual progress reports
    • Many small assignments = 1 big
  • Test questions related to whole project not just ‘their part’
  • Give lots of feedback
  • Be available to students
    • Help them solve their own problems
learn everything you can
Learn everything you can
  • Take (and deliver) team building workshops
    • True Colors, DiSC (Personal Profile System)
    • On line personality testing
    • Readings
    • Many colleges & universities around the world have info on their websites for faculty – use them!
  • ROPES course (high ropes, low ropes)
  • Check with your PD area…
resources are everywhere
Resources are everywhere
  • Training Games Inc. (
  • MIT Teaching and Learning Laboratory (
  • Business Balls (
  • Wilderdom(
  • Leadership Institute
  • JVD Creativity

what are you taking away
What are you taking away?
  • As a group, identify 5 pieces you will take away from this session
  • Be prepared to share
another activity
Another Activity
  • Your team will be given an object
  • Create a saying about group work related to the object
  • Example…
flowers are like group work because
Flowers are like group work because…

You must plant the seed in order for them to grow OR

If you don’t nurture them they will die