Monday, October 14, 2019

CIEC Role Badges - Promoting Teamwork and Roles from the World of Work

Introducing Role Badges
This week we are featuring our very popular resource - Role Badges. These can be used in any science lesson, and as an advisory teacher for our Children Challenging Industry (CCI) programme, I’d like to share with you my own experience of using them in schools.
While carrying out a CCI science activity, children are given the opportunity to work in small ‘companies’. Each child chooses a role within the group, for example,  Health and Safety Manager or Resources Manager. The children wear a lanyard with a badge showing their role within their ‘company’.
There are five role badges - Health and Safety Manager, Communications Officer, Resources Manager, Administration Officer, and Personnel Manager

The Role Badges provide an excellent opportunity for the children to focus on working cooperatively as a team, whilst highlighting real jobs from the world of industry. The roles can be swapped each lesson so that the children can experience different tasks. Pupils enthusiastically enter into these roles and the badges add an extra buzz of excitement to the lesson!
Children at a school in the North East of England
So How Do The Badges Work In Practice?
Each badge carries a set of responsibilities which are outlined in the resource information. Once the badges are explained the children very eagerly assume their roles.
We strongly encourage teachers to carry out science in groups of four, and provide the fifth role badge purely for classes where the occasional group of five is required. Otherwise, the responsibilities of the Administration Officer are merged with those of the Communication Officer.
The Personnel Manager is responsible for eliminating any disputes within the group and ensuring the team works cooperatively.  Great for developing teamwork skills.
A particularly popular badge is that of Resources Manager. The pupil who is assigned this role is solely in charge of collecting and returning all the resources needed.   This promotes independent working as the children select their own resources.
The Communications Officer elicits the group’s ideas and responses and reports back to the rest of the class whilst the Administration Officer is responsible for keeping pictorial or written records during the activity, e.g. predictions, tables of results, lists of resources, diagrams, conclusions or evaluations for the group.
Lastly, we must not forget to mention the all-important Health and Safety Manager who is responsible for overseeing the safety of the group and assessing any risk involved in practical activities. The pupils are interested to hear that in every UK company today, the Health and Safety Officer is a vital role! Another great topic for discussion.
The badges reflect the CCI programme’s emphasis on careers in industry and prompt the children to begin considering work roles before they encounter ambassadors from industry, or if they are lucky, meet adults on visits to the workplace - as we are able to offer through CCI.
A CCI ambassador, Stephanie Udeogu from Johnson Matthey, talks to a group of children about her role in industry.
An Excellent Tool for Classroom Organisation and Confidence Building and Teamwork
The Role Badges aid classroom organisation by ensuring classroom areas don’t become overcrowded as only a few children need to move around to get the resources they need.  There are nominated people in each group to feedback and record, which ensures a smooth lesson.  
Children can sometimes initially lack confidence when assuming a role but often rise to the challenge and discover that they can do something new.   Prompting each other about their roles enables heightened interaction and promotes good teamwork. Children develop social skills when working in their roles in all sorts of unexpected ways, for example, learning to be less ‘bossy’ or more encouraging,  learning to support others in their roles if they need it, sharing and making decisions. They enjoy the feeling of being given an adult role and feel empowered by it. The badges foster independent work and develop organisational skills.
As one expert testifies: "I have been using the CCI role badges for many years and they are a brilliant way to organise practical science lessons. The children often remind each other of when it is their turn to respond or collect equipment or record some important information. The personnel manager is a fantastic way to ensure teamwork such as turn-taking, sharing and working together." Nicola Waller, CCI Advisory Teacher.

Full details of the role badges are available in the CIEC Primary Resources section which can be downloaded from

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