Resources : Small Group Teaching

Teaching and Learning in Small Groups

Jacques, D. (2000), Learning in Groups: A Handbook for Improving Group Work, Third Edition. London: Kogan Page.

Jacques defines a group and the role of leadership within the group. He provides techniques for developing group cooperation, communication within groups, and evaluating groups. The book includes more than a dozen training activities to improve group skills. But it is more than a book of techniques. The author also discusses the theory and research behind group behavior. For example, he defines four qualities crucial to meeting the emotional needs of the group: support, commitment, enjoyment and imagination.

Tiberius, R. G. (1990), Small Group Teaching: A Trouble-shooting Guide. Toronto: University of Toronto/OISE Press.

Tiberius identifies major problems of small group teaching, offers common causes for each problem, and likely remedies for each cause. Some of the remedies are the standard ones, backed up by years of research, but many of them are untested ideas that have been suggested to the author by students and teachers during his consulting practice.

Westberg, J & Jason, H. (1996), Fostering Learning in Small Groups. Springer Series on Medical Education. New York: Springer.

(I have this book on order. I have heard good reports about it through the net. Jason and Westberg are authors of several successful volumes on medical education.)

Whitman, N. A., & Schwenk, T. L. (1983), A Handbook for Group Discussion Leaders: Alternatives to Lecturing Medical Students to Death. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah, School of Medicine.

This is a brief (38 page) book in pamphlet form that addresses discussion group teaching only (not other forms of small group teaching). The material is contained in chapters of other books including their own 1987 book. The appendix contains a comprehensive checklist for the observation of small group discussions which I have not seen elsewhere.