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Team rules exercise

Author: Mark Dawson (University of Bradford)
Description: An activity to get students thinking about what group rules they might want to set for the project groups.
Estimated activity time: 25 minutes
Type of media: Handout/s, Webpage
Licence: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0
(This resource can be freely repurposed and reused)
Category: Group Work
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Date: This information/resource was last updated in .

TEAM RULES EXERCISE

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This exercise is ideally done with the class divided into small groups and should take about 20/25 minutes.  Ideally you would have a whiteboard or flipchart to record some issues/rules.

Ask the class to each think of and write down an example of what might go wrong (a possible issue) that might occur when students work together on a project.  Allow about a minute for this.

Ask someone to read out their issue.  Ask the class if they think it is a ‘working-practices’ type issue or a ‘interpersonal’ type issue?

Explain that most issues in group situations result from either ‘project management/working practice difficulties or personal/communication problems resulting from a lack of mutual respect.  Write ‘working practice’ and ‘Dignity  & Respect’ on the whiteboard or flipchart and place the first issue under the relevant category.  Take a few more issues until there a few under each heading (you can also acknowledge cross-over between the two).    

Explain to the class that effective groups can often prevent issues by agreeing common ‘ground rules’ at the start of their project. 

Hand out the blank rules sheet and ask them to discuss and come up with some rules in their small groups.  The issues you recorded can be used to guide them.  Allow 5/10 minutes for this.

Get a group to nominate someone to read out their rules to the class.  Get the first group to read all of their rules and subsequent groups to read out any additional rules they have thought of.  Ask all the students to add to their own list of rules where appropriate. 

Explain to the group that rules can be useful to refer to when writing up reflective assignments and they might want to file their rules sheet for later use!   

Hopefully the students’ rules will cover most of:  

Dignity and Respect

  • Polite communication
  • Fair workloads
  • Communication, keeping people ‘in-the-loop’
  • Respectful attitudes
  • Understanding and positive outlook.
  • Encouraging participation
  • Attendance
  • Delivering actions

Working Rules

  • When/where will the team meet?
  • Will the team have team/meeting roles?
  • How will the team decide things?
  • How will the team record decisions/actions?
  • How will the team keep in touch between meetings?
  • What happens if someone doesn’t turn up?
  • What happens if someone doesn’t deliver?
  • When might the team need to contact the tutor?

Download Resources

Download the team rules activity handout

DOC file: 1


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