Criteria for forming Team-based Learning teams on class #1

I use team-based learning in all my courses. After I had a year with one or two teams that lagged behind the others. Team-based learning expert, Jim Sibley, suggested the following criteria to form teams. These team-forming criteria worked well for many teams ever since.

  1. Students rate each statement below (1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree). Privacy: Assure students that these ratings are for their eyes only. Instructors will never see these totals.

    I love reading.

    I understand most of what I read on the first read-through.

    I know I will do well when I am asked to do a reading assignment.

    I love writing.

    I am a confident and clear writer.

    I know I will do well when I am asked to write an essay.

  2. Students total their score and enter it at the bottom of the table.
  3. Students stand up and walk to either side of the room.
    • On one side are the students who believe intelligence, sports talent, musical ability, etc. are in- born or fixed (FIXED MIND SET).
    • On the other side are students who believe that intelligence, sports talent, musical ability, etc. are something that can be changed through experience and practice (GROWTH MIND SET).
  4. Students line up — staying on their side of the room— by their scores below from highest to lowest.
  5. Students count off within each row their group assignments. For example for three groups count off

    1-2-3-1-2-3, …

  6. Students assemble into their new groups and choose a group name starting with A, B, or C.

Dr. Jessica Motherwell McFarlane is a professional education consultant on gender, anti-oppression and social justice issues and a research associate at the Justice Institute of British Columbia. She is also the developer and director of the Life Outside the Box program that uses visual narratives as a way to SEE conflict and injustice from new perspectives. Jessica facilitates groups and schools needing to have complex — and sometimes emotionally painful — conversations. She offers workshops to at-risk children, youth, and adults on: Truth and Reconciliation, transforming bullying situations, and rehearsing best practices for self-care, inclusivity, and kindness.

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