Group Process Activity
This collection of activities provides a selection of vetted exercises that will assist instructors and students in developing group cohesion, thoughtful engagement, and reflective responses to challenging material.
The activities are divided into four types: Icebreakers, Group Maintenance, Dialogue Starters, and Reflection.
- To provide instructors with a variety of activities that can be used at any point during the term.
- To give numerous examples of the types of activities that will help instructors build an inclusive classroom with their students.
Application in a STEM Course:
Developing community and group cohesion in STEM courses is a great way to promote inclusivity. A study on retention in science, engineering, and math from CRLT found that it is vital to be strategic in organizing and using teams in your classroom. Through icebreakers, group maintenance activities, dialogue starters, and reflection activities, students will be able to engage with each other in a variety of ways. Engaging your classroom in active conversation and having students think out loud with classmates ensures that more voices are heard and that students are participating and reflecting on challenging material.
Application in a Large Course:
Large courses can be impersonal and overwhelming, leaving students feeling lost in a crowded lecture hall. Challenges in large courses include: ensuring all voices are heard, facilitating group discussions, creating a more communal classroom, and involving students in the processing of information through active learning. The different types of activities in this guide offer ways to address these challenges in your large course and while some may be difficult to carry out with the entire class, they can be adapted for use in small groups. Research has shown that promoting active learning (engaging students in the learning process) can lead to greater student outcomes and taking the time for these kinds of activities can create a more inclusive, welcoming space.
Application in an Online Course:
While not every activity provided in this guide will be feasible for an online course, there are many that can still be adapted. Developing group cohesion is important in an online space where personal interactions take more effort and planning than they would in an in-person setting. Students can also feel less inclined to participate in an online course due to Zoom fatigue or not feeling part of a community. Thinking about how you structure interactions and how you provide different opportunities for students to participate are key components to building an inclusive online course. The activities in this guide allow students to critically engage with each other and to reflect on what they learn from classmates, promoting active learning in the process. .