Designing Group Activities that Engage Everyone

by: Stephanie Stockwell

Ok, so you’ve come to the conclusion that incorporating team or group work into your class will enhance learning gains.  You’ve figured out the logistics—set time aside, formed teams, and mapped out grade determinations—but now what?

After attending a workshop on team learning some years ago, this is where I was left hanging.  What will my students actually DO in their teams?  How will I design or select pre-made activities what will reinforce MY course content while promoting universal engagement and the development of critical thinking and communication skills? –This is a very tall order!  Being a both-feet-in kind of person, I assured myself that I’d figure it out as I went along… and so began my experiments with what makes an effective team learning experience.  Since then, I’ve mixed literature review with lots of trial, error, creativity, and tenacity to figure out what team learning models really work in my classroom.

In the workshop, “Designing Group Activities that Engage Everyone” that I will facilitate on Thursday, February 14 and Friday, February 15, we will explore together what makes an effective group activity—and why.  I’ll walk participants through the method I’ve developed for transforming basic course concepts into learner-relevant simulation activities to promote critical thinking and content reinforcement.  Participants will apply aspects of this design process to an activity of their own.

My goal for this workshop is to arm participants with 1) a clear understanding of what makes a team activity a success, and 2) concrete strategies for how to finally tackle that inevitable question—What will my students DO?faculty_wks_series

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