Classes in Asia can sometimes have thirty or more students requiring a considerable amount of classroom management. It is necessary to develop group work activities and student autonomy in these large classes. Assigning a role for each student in a group is a useful classroom management tip, which increases the effectiveness of group work. In a group of five students, possible group roles might include:
Facilitator: leads the group discussion
Note taker: writes things down as needed
Reporter: presents information to the class
English monitor: makes sure everyone is speaking English
Time keeper: keeps track of how much time is remaining for an activity
If there are only four students in a group, then the role of Facilitator could also keep track of the time.
When introducing the roles to the students, write each role on the board with the corresponding responsibility. Describe the roles orally and give an example of each role. After explaining the roles and giving students time to decide their roles in the group, check to make sure everyone has chosen a role before beginning an activity.
Roles can be applied to group discussions, debates, and projects, to name a few. Other types of roles might include each student taking charge or facilitating one part of a discussion. For example, if students are discussing a newspaper article, one student might be responsible for leading the discussion about the meaning of an article, one student for discussing the author’s opinion, one student for talking about the title of the article, and one student for moderating student questions. Afterwards, each student reports on his or her assigned topic to the class.
Using group roles increases the effectiveness of group work, keeps students on task, and encourages each student in the group to participate. In addition, the role of English Monitor motivates the students to conduct their discussions in English.