Author: GLE Team | Published on 1 August 2023


Learning through group activities increases learning and understanding among learners so is a vital part of your classroom approaches. In order to make group activities more gender responsive, you should implement a variety of strategies ensuring that learners of all genders are given opportunities to work with each other and benefit from fair and well thought out group placements. 

Stage 1: Select a grouping strategy

There are many ways to can organise group work and activities in your class including but not limited to the following: 

  • Assign each student a number. For example, if you want 8 groups, assign each student a number from 1 to 8. Tell all 1s to get together, all 2s to get together, etc. Ensure you review any random allocation of groups to ensure they are gender balanced and allow for girls and boys to work together where this is culturally appropriate.
  • This is a great technique for large classes when there is not a lot of space to move around! Ask students to make groups with the people sitting in front of them or behind them. Try to then arrange the groups so that there is a gender balance in each group. 
  • Decide on the number of groups you want, cut out different coloured cards for each group. For example, if you want 4 groups, create 4 sets of different coloured cards – some red, some blue, some green, and some yellow. Pass out one card to each student. Tell all blues to get together, all greens to get together 
  • Mixed ability groups can provide opportunities for learners to support and learn from each other. Decide on the number of groups you want. Plan ahead which students you want to be in each group, to make sure they are of mixed ability – also try to keep a gender balance in this approach. Read out the names of who is in each group 
  • Ask learners to make their own groups. For example, tell them to get into groups of three with whoever they want. Used this method sparingly just in case they only work with their friends and there is not a gender balance. 
  • Use a digital tool to help you create groups. There are online tools available that you can input learner names and then the technology will auto create the groups. You will still need to monitor gender balance of the groups. 

Stage 2: Implement grouping strategy

Once you have chosen a grouping strategy and planned it into your lesson plan, implement it in the lesson. Ensure learners understand what is expected of them and why you are using this strategy. 

Stage 3: Review Grouping Strategy 

Reflect on how successful the strategy was in creating groups of safe, included and engaged learners. What could improve the group? What did the learners think about the group? Apply what you have learnt to your next lesson activity which includes group work and find out what strategy works best for you and your learners. Continually reflect and make changes to your strategies as required. 


Gender Balance: equal participation of women and men in all areas of learning, work, projects or activities.

Want to know more about the GLE Team?

In a groundbreaking initiative, the British Council, under the English Connects programme, undertook a transformative mission to champion gender-inclusive practices in Sub-Saharan Africa with a cohort of 41 dedicated teacher educators and teachers from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Sudan. This dynamic group referred to as the GLE Team worked together to design this resource.

Read about our Creating Gender Pedagogy Resources for Teachers project: