Know the Group Roles That
Your Students Can Exhibit!!



Understanding group roles and group dynamics when holding class meetings or a classroom discussion is a very valuable and essential tool for you to have in team building and team development.


Role functions are the contributions a person makes to the functioning of a meeting. There are two main types of role functions, helpful roles and hindering roles.

Each time a student makes a comment during a class meeting, he is contributing either positively or negatively to the group's functioning. Your role as a teacher is, quite obviously to promote and encourage helpful role activities while discouraging hindering role activities.

The helpful and hindering role activities that I have listed below may apply to teacher or students or both.

Helpful Roles

* Initiating Activity - Proposing solutions, suggesting new ideas,

* Seeking Information - Requesting additional information or facts, asking for clarification.

* Seeking Opinion - Looking for an expression of feeling from other students concerning suggestions or ideas.

* Elaborating - Building on the contributions of others and expanding or adding ideas.

* Co-ordinating - Trying to pull ideas and suggestions together from other students.

* Encouraging - Being friendly, warm and responsive to others. Agreeing with and accepting the contributions of others.

* Gatekeeping - Make it possible for another student to make a contribution by saying " We haven't heard from Jim yet".

* Mediating - Mediating differences among members, making compromise solutions.

Hindering Roles

* Being aggressive - Deflating the status of others by criticizing, judging or showing disapproval of their comments and ideas.

* Blocking - Disagreeing or opposing very strongly, arguing a point too much, rejecting ideas without consideration.

* Dominating - Asserting superiority, interrupting the contribution of others.

* Competing - Vying with others to produce the best ideas, talking to much to gain acceptance by the teacher.

* Disrupting - Clowning, joking, disrupting the meeting.

* Withdrawal - Acting indifferent or passive

An awareness of group roles and the part they play in class meetings is an important step in becoming a good leader and leading an effective classroom discussion.

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