Activity 4: Including initiative in all your Groupwork

Description of the activity:

Group work can promote critical thinking and teamwork in small groups, but encouraging initiative requires more than just getting students to work in groups. However, since most group work can be done by one or two students with the others sitting back and agreeing, this doesn’t work very well for large groups.

Materials used and organization:

Materials used: make a list of assessment criteria in advance and adjust that list with the group if necessary.
Group size: depends on group work
Time: depends on group work
Tip: The process works better if you allow students to rate how helpful their teammates were in completing the tasks. Creating this kind of pressure motivates students to get better and avoids being seen as a “weak link” in the team.


  1. Discuss in advance with the class that you regularly want to assess the group work together on the basis of a number of assessment criteria. As a teacher, come up with an initial list of criteria, but let the group add to it. Make that addition but also the deletion of assessment criteria return regularly.
  2. After group work, have your students rate each other based on how helpful they were to the group and how good their teamwork was.
  3. Work towards a list for the final evaluation in subsequent assessments. Discuss these with them, and decide with them which criteria should be used for the final evaluation. Different categories can be created, and the students can then test run these categories against these criteria to evaluate and comment.
    The categories can be: Table for initiative exercise
  4. Have them do their group work and watch for students who seem quiet and perhaps encourage them by asking why and what they have to say. Their involvement can therefore increase. This will likely encourage them to provide more input. Also encourage the team members to encourage each other.
  5. Evaluating early in the project allows groups to assess how they can improve. Continue to provide regular feedback to group members so they can assess their progress both collectively and individually.
  6. Discuss with the group what can be improved and what is already going well. Depending on the evaluations of your fellow students, you may be able to adjust your grade.