Inclusive Groupwork Toolbox

Self-reflection and communication skills for working in diverse groups
Aleksander Reva, Iconfinder, edited by Samuel Whitcomb

Teamwork in diverse groups can be hard but it gets easier when students know themselves, communicate openly and actively listen to their teammates.

This toolbox can be used by groups created by students themselves, but also for project groups, of at least five, created by teachers. Using randomized groups increases diversity. See below for additional information on diverse teams.

Team projects are part of many courses of academic study, yet we do not always prepare students with the skills required to work productively together in diverse groups. This toolbox provides an overview of basic teamwork skills that can be taught to students in a workgroup/seminar setting. The key skills covered are self-reflection aided by Belbin’s team role self-test, perspective taking in diverse groups, and effective communication skills such as active listening.

Learning to work with others (under pressure) is a key professional and life skill. Learning these skills is also crucial to creating an inclusive learning environment. At Erasmus University Rotterdam we understand inclusive education to be an approach to education in which diverse students and teachers feel a high level of social safety because they feel they belong, that their voice is respected and that they can be successful regardless of visible or invisible aspects of diversity such as class, ‘race’, cultural background, gender, sexuality or functional limitations. The skills presented here can help to establish this form of inclusion through self-reflection and communication within the microcosm of a team.

This toolbox is geared to first year bachelor students at the start of a team based project but can be adjusted to meet the level/experience of group work that students may have. If you have questions about how to do this, please contact us at

The framework of the intervention is given below:

  • Introduction and Outline
  • What is a team/group?
  • Who owns the Hippo?
  • Reflection
  • Creating psychological safety in diverse teams
  • Break
  • Team Roles
  • Inclusive communication
  • Creating a team charter
  • Closing

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