I love teamwork. I love the idea of everyone rallying together to help me win.
From sports clubs, to theater troupes, to competitive Rubik’s Cube solving squads, most students attending college have been a part of and functioned within the structure of a team countless of times. A common practice among teachers is to assign group projects or discussions that mimic this very structure. However, while short-term group projects/discussions undoubtedly require teamwork, they do not necessarily simulate the same experience of being on a team. What makes the idea of a ‘team’ really work is the loyalty that each member has to the success of the group: people are much more motivated to succeed as a team if they have been a part of it for a long time and know/trust the people that make up the group.
Team Based Learning takes the concept of a long-term commitment to a team and puts it into action. The process involves four major components:
- The instructor assigns each student to a team that will remain permanent throughout the semester. At the beginning of the course the instructor will pass out a survey in order to make groups as diverse as possible.
- The instructor assigns individual tests followed by team tests, where the members can discuss what they originally answered. The team test is in IF-AT format, so members can continue discussion if they initially answered wrong.
- The instructor then simultaneously collects responses from the entire classrooms (this can be done simply by using iClicker technology). This allows teams to interact with other teams and discuss right/wrong answers.
- The students will create peer evaluations at the midpoint and end of the semester to gauge each other’s contributions and effectiveness.
Faculty that have used this approach testify that:
- Students feel more motivated to prepare for and attend class as not to let down their team.
- Discussions are vibrant and fill up the classroom.
- Working in a team is fun! Students feel like they have a stake in a group devoted to learning course material.
- Friendly competition within the classroom can act as a motivator as well.
Tip provided by: Jon Pumper