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Effective Teaming


Main Elements of Teaming in Collaborative Learning


  • Team Goal / Task – what is the team trying to accomplish
  • Team Composition – who is on the team
  • Team Norms – how the team conducts itself
  • Team Roles – who does what on the team



  • Identify task and goals
  • Communication norms especially
    • Process used for communication
    • Air time
    • Solicit feedback
    • Timing
    • Decision making (reaching consensus)
  • What happens when there are issues in the group?


Question: Do you establish explicit norms for the team?


Possible Team Roles


Question: Do you establish explicit roles for the team?


Recorder/ Summarizer

• Shall we say it this way?

• Let me read this back to you to make sure it’s right.

• Let me sum up what we have decided.

• Here's what we have accomplished so far – we have one section left to draft.


Taskmaster / Facilitator

• Let’s get back to the main point.

• I think we need to move on to the next question. We only have three minutes left to get the job done.

• Who is going to take responsibility for tracking down that information?

• Do we all agree to meet have our preliminary reports on Thursday?

• This seems to be too big an issue to handle right now; let’s put it off until next meeting.

• I think we need to agree upon a decision-making strategy before we go any further.


Consensus Checker / Gatekeeper

• We haven’t heard from you yet.

• Do we all agree?

• Is that answer okay with all of you?

• Any final thoughts before the recorder writes that down?

• I’m not convinced that everyone is all right with that decision. Can we do a quick poll?

• Thanks for your input. Can we get another opinion now?

• Before we jump into an open discussion, let’s all write down our initial impressions.

• Everyone each gets thirty seconds of uninterrupted time to advocate their position before we move on.


Devil’s Advocate / Fact or Reference Checker

• Are you sure that this issue is important?

• What if we didn’t assume this is true?

• How confident are you that it really works?

• Can we make a distinction between these two categories?

• Let’s look at Step 3 again. I don’t think we’ve got it quite right.

• This conflicts with the data presented in the other article. What shall we do?

• I think we’re violating the second constraint.

• I think that we each need to bring in one more reference – I just don’t think the literature review is comprehensive enough.



• Let’s think hard. I’m sure we can figure this out.

• We’re doing a wonderful job with this.

• That’s a great answer.

• Let’s give ourselves a hand for that!



Effective Listening Behaviors

  • Stop talking.
  • Engage in one conversation at a time.
  • Empathize with the person speaking.
  • Ask questions.
  • Don't interrupt.
  • Show interest.
  • Concentrate on what is being said.
  • Don't jump to conclusions.
  • Control your anger.
  • React to ideas, not to the person speaking.
  • Listen for what is not said. Ask questions.
  • Share the responsibility for communication

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