Making group work work – download your free poster

Group work is a highly effective form of cooperative learning. No doubt you have put it to work to help your pupils learn actively and develop important social skills. But as great as group work promises to be, there are pitfalls that seem to be unavoidable. One way to help overcome these is to set the scene. Taking your class through this free poster can help.

Let’s be honest. As great as group work can be, it has a couple of pitfalls that tend to be very tricky to avoid. I have listed five of those pitfalls here, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t an exhaustive list – feel free to share some of the ones you’ve experienced, either in the comments below, or by writing your very own article that we’ll publish on our blog (your name will be up in lights).

In my experience, setting the scene is a great start to a group work activity. This involves gently reminding your learners of some of the important principles when it comes to cooperating in a group. These principles can, not only help guide the behaviour of your learners, but also guide your involvement as a group facilitator.

Here are five principles, guidelines, ways of working, etc. to help guide your learners and help them make the most of the group work learning environment.

  1. Remember that good communication isn’t only about speaking. It’s also about listening (actively).
  2. Remember, more is achieved when people work together than alone. Embrace delegation, because two people can do things so much faster than one.
  3. Remember, no idea is a foolish idea. Build on the ideas. Don’t tear them down.
  4. Remember, leadership isn’t only about a person telling everyone what to do. You can lead from any position in the group. It’s all about setting an example which others want to follow
  5. Remember people have feelings. Specifically, they have anxieties about being criticised. Be sure to correct anyone in a respectful, non-judgmental way.

We have summarised these five guidelines using a poster that you can download freely below. Paste it on your wall or present it in a PowerPoint presentation. Take your class through it before starting each group work activity. Download it here

By repeating these five key guidelines, they will become your class’s standard for all group work activities. It should literally get to the point in which your class is able to recite them all by heart (P.S. you should be able to too).

We hope this poster comes in handy. Remember, as my three-year-old nephew repeats far too often, “Sharing is caring.”

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