Successful Group Work, 13 Activities to Teach Teamwork Skills

Group Work

Successful Group Work, 13 Activities to Teach Teamwork Skills
Palmer, P 2017
Alphabet Publishing
ISBN 9780997762846

Group WorkThis slim book of just over 50 pages, sets out to offer some ideas to guide teachers in the preparation of group work activities by improving students’ team work abilities. While the author is a teacher of ESL, her book is not intended specifically for language teachers though clearly, language teachers will be able to glean many useful hints.

Age of target students, group size and language level are not specified and so teachers might need to adapt some of the activities to be sure they are appropriate for their context. It must be said that some of the activities are processes which experienced teachers may already have come across, however, they are presented in ways which will help teachers to appreciate the ‘under meaning’ so to speak, the additional effects of running such activities and their on-going benefits to students’ communication and team work.

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The clearly written introduction covers the rationale for creating such an aid, an overview of the activities and an explanation of how to use the book. The author advises that while it is possible to select an activity from the list and run it discretely, the overall purpose is best served if teachers run all the activities; I assume in the order presented!

There are 5 working sections, each comprising from 1 to 3 activities. The sections are: Getting to Know Each Other, Benefits of Teamwork, Team Building, Teamwork Skills and Strategies and lastly, Reflection And Evaluation. This clear designation is extremely useful in selecting activities which fit your students’ needs and aims allowing for faster access.

To take an activity at random, activity 6 from the Team Building section, The Tower:

  • there is a well-defined rationale, timings for planning, creating and debriefing and required
    materials for both teacher and students
  • the particular team building skill is outlined
  • procedure is very clearly iterated so that teachers of all levels of experience will be able to
    follow
  • debriefing questions are presented without frills

All the activities are presented in an equally accessible and straightforward way with no jargon, clear instructions and with achievable outcomes in mind.

My own feeling is that this little book would add value to any staffroom or any caring teacher’s bookshelves.

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