More and more, we want our students to spent time working in groups. We read literature that says students learn better when they work collaboratively, and we tell them that most of them will spend a lot of their work-life working in a team or teams. But how do we help them build effective teams?
Good teams don’t just happen, it takes planning and work to build a successful team. There are things you can do that will help your students build successful teams quickly.
Start with a Team Building Activity - Have the class participate in a low or no stakes team building activity when you first form the teams. These icebreaker type activities will help them get to know each other and learn how to function as part of a team.
Require a Team Charter - Have the students develop a charter for their team early in the semester. The charter allows them to come to an agreement on many areas that may cause conflict later in the semester such as how often the team will meet, who will serve which role, and how they will deal with conflict when it arises.Leave Class Time for Team Meetings - Students have busy lives, and it is often difficult to schedule team meetings outside of class. Leave some class-time for your students to meet with their groups. Along with the benefits of meeting face-to-face, this also allows you to observe the teams and suggest ways the team can improve both their project and how they communicate with each other.