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Enhancing relationships: developing effective group work

Possible Learning Activities

  • Set students a task that requires them to work co-operatively in a group of three or four, such as constructing the highest tower possible with materials provided. Give students minimal guidance as to how to work as a group.
  • Observe students while they are engaged in the task and note, for example, if each group member got a turn to contribute, if students stayed with their groups, or if students looked at or listened to the person speaking. Share your recorded observations with students, focusing on the positive, for example, “I heard Lisieli ask Craig if he had any ideas” and “I heard Josh encouraging the group to keep trying when things weren’t going well.”
  • Ask students what was involved in working as a group:
    • what went well
    • anything they would do differently next time
    • what attitudes and values were important for this activity to be a positive experience for everyone. 

Make a class list of skills needed for working in groups.

  • Students may wish to revisit their class guidelines and add any new ideas that may have emerged.

Suggested Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • recognise and describe their individual strengths and areas that need to be developed (3A4)
  • identify ways of working with others (3C1)
  • identify pressures that can affect them when working in a group (3C3).


(particularly taha wairua, taha hinengaro, and taha whānau)

Strengthening the feeling of personal identity and emotional well-being through achievement and working with others.

Health Promotion

Revisiting guidelines and identifying behaviours that enable people to work together supportively.

Attitudes and Values

Strengthening cooperation, positive participation, and inclusiveness.

Teachers' Notes

  • The group activity chosen can be either outdoor or indoor. It can be an activity designed for physical education (for example, orienteering) or for another curriculum area, such as science, technology, or social studies. If the activity is related to another curriculum area, its health and physical education learning outcomes should also be clearly identified.
  • Further examples of co-operative tasks for students can be found in Reaching Forward, pages 74-76.