Do you find that sometimes it’s a couple of individuals on the team that do all the work?
What strategies can help with ensuring all team members are equally involved?
Assigning team roles bi-weekly can eliminate the confusion of who does what. It can give everyone a chance to excel in different ways instead of just the usual suspects. It will also help those that usually don’t assume accountability to do so in a structured situation. Simultaneously, it can allow for some of the usual suspects to relinquish control over the team project.
Balancing team work can be challenging in the real world. So, even though we’re hoping students obtain team skills in college – it can be difficult to facilitate it if we ourselves sometimes struggle with it. Teamwork itself can also have a negative connotation for overburdening some students and letting others coast. It’s up to us to dispel this notion and create environments where teamwork is equitable and where students grasp the benefits of relying on a smorgasbord of different talents and skills.
Below is a nifty little chart which describes the different team roles we can assign, the reasoning behind each role, and the responsibilities each role carries. Team roles consist of:
leader, recorder, checker, encourager, and reporter. Your teams may require slightly varied roles or combinations of roles depending on the subject matter and/or project.
It is advised that students also be oriented to the purpose of assigning team roles and obtain this chart to help them identify respective responsibilities. Another complimentary strategy is to have teams come up with milestones and then turn in weekly reports of individual roles and who did what on the team (see article on team evaluations).
|Team Role (What)||Reason for Role (Why)||Role Responsibilities (How)|
|To structure and maintain effective group functioning||Orients group to task, raises issues, calls on people, keeps group on task, pushes for decisions, initiates ideas for solution|
|Recorder||To preserve group’s ideas||Writes down ideas contributed, writes up work to be turned in|
(also Researcher, Devil’s Advocate, Timekeeper, Elaborator)
|To make sure everyone understands, agrees, and completes work in allotted time/ To research and double-check data, bibliographic sources, or graphics for accuracy and correctness||Asks: “Does anyone have a question or want clarification?” “Does everyone agree?” Reminds group of time and amount of work remaining/Checks for additional information and accuracy|
(also Observer/Praiser, Reflector)
|To make sure everyone participates and no one dominates the discussion/To improve individual and group performance of roles/To recognize positive contributions from group members and make them feel good about their participation||Gives own ideas, asks for others’ ideas, reacts to others’ ideas, asks for reactions to others’ ideas, stops anyone from dominating/Takes notes on how group members perform, gives feedback based on observations/Says: “That’s a good idea”. “You’re doing a good job as “recorder”.|
|To present group’s work to the instructor and/or the rest of the class||Gives oral reports|