Faculty Research & Creative Activity

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2008


To help students develop teamwork skills, teachers should be aware of the strategies students already employ to assert authority and manage conflict. Researchers studying engineering students have identified two such approaches: transfer-of-knowledge sequences, in which students emulate teacher and pupil roles; and collaborative sequences, in which students use circular talk to reach consensus. As demonstrated in this article, these strategies are also used by students in professional communication courses. The second half of this article provides specific suggestions for designing team assignments, interacting effectively with student teams, and developing evaluations that value the process of teamwork.