A facilitator is like a conductor of a symphony orchestra who brings out talents and contributions of members; the role of an educator is not to lecture, but to help his/her students learn better and to bring out their talents. Thus, educators must take note of effective facilitation skills that can help them engage students, drive greater learning experiences, and help students achieve better outcomes.
While basic facilitation skills are necessary in all learning environments, facilitating a TBL class can be particularly daunting - facilitators constantly need to improvise and manage the tension between the structure imposed by the learning objectives, and the freedom necessary to meet learners where they are.
Here are five tips to be an effective TBL facilitator:
1. Find your teaching voice.
Have you ever had a student that you could not connect with, no matter how hard you tried? It might be because there is a clash between your communication styles, and, as an educator, you need to adjust your approach.
The teacher’s voice sets the tone and environment for the classroom in terms of engagement, behavior, and rapport with students (Hannah, 2013). It is important to know your style of communication so that you can effectively interact with your students. Understanding how you communicate and finding your teaching voice will also establish authority in the classroom.
Learn more about the four styles of communication here.
2. Orient your students well.
It is important for students to learn about the learning sciences behind team-based learning. Once you have their buy-in, orient them about the learning objectives at the start of the course. These learning objectives will help set student expectations and guide their learning processes. Research shows that learning objectives also have the potential to enhance student knowledge and skills, thus engaging students in classes and improve their academic performance (Osueke, Mekonnen, and Stanton, 2018).
3. Always be prepared for your classes.
Educators must always be prepared for classes. One of the ways that educators can organize their classes well is by maintaining a faculty guide. When students attend classes that are well-organized, there will be higher student engagement (Tulaskar and Turunen, 2021).
Psst... look out for our upcoming blog post on how you can effectively create a faculty guide! Subscribe to our blog here so that you will not miss out on it!
4. Actively listen to your students.
Monitor team discussions to identify if students are processing information the way it is intended. By actively listening to the students, you will be able to better identify what their trouble spots are and clarify their doubts efficiently. When monitoring classes in in-person settings, educators may consider walking around the class during the TRAT and Application activities. When not walking around, educators should stand at the back of the class so that students will feel less likely to approach and ask questions during discussions.
When the classes are conducted in an online setting, educators may let the students know that they will visit the breakout rooms simply to observe and listen to the discussions.
5. Provide a summary at the end of the module.
Provide a summation of the important concepts and discussion points at the end of the module. Reminding the students of the concepts they have learnt will allow them to better reflect on them and remember them. They will also be clear about the concepts that they need to know when revising for their final examinations.
Want to learn more tactics and strategies to teach more effectively with TBL? Check out our ongoing TBL workshops here.