Below is a checklist adapted from Bowen and Jackson (1985-6) of things groups can do to function better. If appropriate for your class, distribute to your students.
I. Before the group begins:
- Expect to learn, to enjoy, and to discover.
- Team up with people you don't know.
II. As the group begins:
- Make a good first impression.
- Build the team.
- Do something that requires self-disclosure.
- Take interpersonal risks to build trust.
- Establish team goals as appropriate.
- Start thinking about group processing.
III. While the group is in existence:
- Work at increasing self-disclosure.
- Work at giving good feedback.
- Get silent members involved.
- Confront problems.
- Apply lessons from class work.
- Work on issues in the group even if they appear at first to be just between two members.
- Don't assume you can't work with someone just because you don't like or respect them.
- If the group can't solve a problem, consult the instructor as a group.
- Regularly review your data.
- Vary the leadership style as needed.
IV. Wrapping up the group:
- Summarize and review your learning from group experiences.
- Analyze the data to discover why the group was more effective or less so.
- Provide final feedback to members on their contribution.
- Celebrate the group's accomplishments.
Bowen, D. D., and Jackson, C. N. (1985-6). "Curing those 'ol 'Omigod-Not-Another-Group-Class' blues". Organizational Behavior Teaching Review, 10(4), 21-23.