50 Quick and Easy Ways to Outstanding Group Work

50 Quick and Easy Ways to Outstanding Group Work

Group work is a fundamental part of outstanding teaching. It gives students a chance to work together and, in so doing, learn more than might otherwise be possible.

But it isn’t easy to get right. We’ve all had moments when group work has gone wrong:  confused students; off-task behaviour; social loafing. Given the significant benefits that group work brings, it’s vital to find ways to avoid such problems developing. And it’s vital to make group work outstanding in general.

That’s why I decided to write 50 Quick and Easy Ways to Outstanding Group Work.

This book gives you a step-by-step guide to making sure your group work is consistently outstanding. It provides you with masses of practical strategies, activities and techniques you can use in your lessons, no matter what you teach.

To give you a flavour of the fantastic ideas presented in the book, here are a couple of sample entries to whet your appetite:

Secret Missions

16 We now move on to think about practical strategies you can use to make group work engaging and effective.

Secret missions create a great sense of excitement. Through this excitement they motivate students. An atmosphere of spectacle is generated; something different from the everyday; a little spice amid the fare to which we are accustomed.

Print off the instructions for your group work task and place these in a brown envelope. Write the words ‘Secret Mission’ on the front. Hand these out to your groups, making a big play of the secret nature of their missions. Some good results should ensue.

Develop the activity by giving different groups different secret missions to complete.


17 Introducing a competitive element to group work tasks can often have a positive effect. This is not always the case so you are advised to monitor the response of your classes. Some will respond well, others might be put off by the advent of a competitive environment.

Competition can be introduced in many forms. Examples include:

– Setting a time limit for the group work task and making it a race to see who can finish first.

– Setting a goal for the task which groups try to reach first.

– Setting a series of success criteria which need to be fulfilled by every group. You can then judge which group has fulfilled them most successfully.

Mike Gershon