Assigning Roles for Group Work

Rationale

Assigning students particular roles can be an effective way to structure group work. Sometimes certain students assume too much responsibility for a group’s work, while other students may be reluctant to contribute to the group’s activities. Assigning roles helps to distribute responsibility among group members and ensures accountability for all students’ participation. As students practice different roles, they have the opportunity to develop a variety of skills.

Procedure

  1. Determine the Roles You Need
    The roles most often needed for group work include facilitator, recorder, presenter, timekeeper, and artist.
  2. Provide Students with Expectations for Roles
    When you first introduce roles, provide clear instructions for the responsibilities that come with each assignment. You might want to make lists of what it looks like when the role is performed well and when it is not performed well.
  3. Debrief and Evaluate
    In writing or through a discussion, ask students to reflect on their experiences working in groups. Which roles do they feel most comfortable in? Which are most challenging for them? Students may also have ideas about new roles that should be assigned.

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