Buzz groups

This instructional technique comes from CTLT’s Instructional Skills Workshop materials. How do you think this technique can and should be adapted to interdisciplinary learning contexts and content?

Buzz groups

The class is divided into subgroups of 3-6 people to discuss an assigned topic or to solve a problem. A representative from each subgroup is selected to report findings to the class as whole.

Instructor’s Role

  • assist in determining the problem
  • divide the group into subgroups of 3-6 persons
  • give instructions to the subgroups
  • inform group members of time limit
  • suggest each subgroup select its own leader and recorder
  • request suggestions for solving problems, clarifying the issue, or answering the question
  • ‘float’ to provide assistance
  • give a two-minute warning signal
  • call ‘time’ for the subgroups to reassemble
  • request a report from each subgroup
  • request additional comments from group members
  • summarize the findings of group
  • propose additional study or action

Learners’ Role

  • assist in determining issue or problem
  • select a leader and recorder
  • restate and define issue or problem
  • give suggestions for discussing issue or for solving the problem
  • listen intently to other group members’ contributions
  • build on the contributions of others
  • determine how this information is to be used and put into action
  • record summaries and report contributions to the whole group as requested

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