The “TEAM” Grouping Strategy

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T- Talker
Task: Summarizes ideas from group discussion and presents them to the class. 
E- Encourager
Task: Ensures everyone has had equal opportunity to voice their opinions, and encourages on-topic discussion. May also be asked to keep track of time if needed. 
A- Articulator
Task: When group is unsure of what to do, the articulator is in charge of posing questions of the group to the teacher. 
M- Mover
Task: Gathers materials and assists with group clean-up.

How this can be used in the classroom: The TEAM approach is a useful classroom management strategy to ensure that each student has a role to play when working in groups. It is useful to ensure that each student has had a chance to take on each of these roles, as different skills are practiced in each one. For instance, as a Talker or Articulator, the student will need to work on their active listening skills to be able to summarize and paraphrase the information talked about by the group. As the Encourager, a student works on fostering cohesion and inclusion by using positive language in feedback. 

You may choose to group students into teams by handing them a card with one of the letters in the acronym and a sticker (or some type of identifier) to them as they walk into class. They must find others of their team who have the same sticker or identifier.

Other ways to adapt the TEAM approach: Depending on the activity you are asking students to do, you may also assign additional tasks for each role given, or list new roles. For instance, if a student is particularly shy they may just choose to play a more passive role and keep track of time (a Timer), or write down ideas of the team (a Scribe). Another role that could be useful is “Checker,” someone who checks the statements presented by the Talker to the rest of the class to ensure that the summary was accurate, or if information was missing, the Checker could also speak on the group’s behalf. 

[Update Jan 2020: As a kind commenter mentioned, the ideas presented here are not my own original work. I wrote this post as a way to document what I was learning when I was still in teacher’s college. I do not take personal credit. To the best of my knowledge, I learned about the TEAM grouping strategy through my Intro to Teaching Biology class at Queen’s University. Though I have not personally read her book, it was brought to my attention that this strategy is references material from Launa Ellison’s book ​Seeing With Magic Glasses.]


    1. Hi Tracy,
      Thank you for your feedback. I wrote this blog post as a way to document what I was learning when I was still in teacher’s college. I do not take personal credit for this work and will update the post accordingly.



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