Liberating Structures, Ongoing engagement

Troika Consulting – Adaptation for Class Community Building

Get students used to supporting each other without always turning to an “expert” for solutions.

Click on the CC icon in the bottom right corner of the video to turn on closed captions.  

Troika Consulting – Adaptation for Class Community Building
Educator prep: None
Student prep: None
Breakout rooms
Duration: 5-30 mins

Activity purpose

Get students used to supporting each other and helping each other without always turning to an “expert” or teacher to solve problems; also useful for quick problem-solving.

Useful for

You can use this any time during the semester to encourage students to self-reflect on challenges they’re facing and benefit from their colleagues’ input. At the beginning of the semester it could be a challenge related to learning online last semester; in the middle of the semester while working on a large research paper, they could discuss challenges in that paper for example.


None from the teacher; you can ask students ahead of time to bring a challenge they are facing with them (or do another activity immediately before it like Spiral Journal where you ask them to reflect on their challenges).


In three rounds, one person from a trio acts as a “client” and two as “consultants”.

The in-person description is described here:

For online, the action of “client turning their back” can be done by the client turning off their video and muting.


Explaining the activity would take around 2-3 minutes (or you can send students our video above ahead of time by way of explanation).

Each consultation round should take around 9-10 minutes.

Doing three rounds would therefore take 27-30 minutes.

Debrief can be done synchronously when students return to the main room, or by asking students to take notes in a shared Google doc, or individually in reflections they send the teacher or share with the rest of the class. It is important that in sharing out, people who came with a challenge are the ones who have the agency to share about what they learned (rather than the consultants).

Technical requirements

Breakout rooms.

Useful resources

More 'Liberating Structures' activities:
Language Portrait
Francesca Helm
Wheel of Life for Student Self-help
The Wheel of Life provides a snapshot of your wellbeing and the level of satisfaction in your current circumstances.
Maha Bali
Equity Unbound Activity
Simple Metacognitive Activities
Some simple questions that can help students develop their metacognitive learning skills.
Maha Bali

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