Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development

Unlock the power of group work with Tuckman’s Stages of Development!

As educators, we know that group work is an important part of the learning experience. Whether you’re working on a group project in science class, putting together a performance in drama class, or simply asking students to work together on a problem-solving activity, having students work together can be a great way to help them learn and grow. But have you ever noticed that groups seem to go through different stages as they work together? That’s what the Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development is all about.

The Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development is a model that was developed by psychologist Bruce Tuckman in 1965. According to Tuckman, groups go through five stages as they work together: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Let’s take a closer look at each stage!


In the forming stage, students are getting to know each other and feeling out the dynamics of the group.

Some might be polite and careful with each other, and may be reluctant to speak up or take risks.
Others — and more commonly in early years — are take a turbulent start and get to know each other through scuffling.

Your role during this stage is to help students feel comfortable and welcome, and to set clear expectations for the group.


In the storming stage, things can get a little bit more heated. Students may start to express their opinions and differences of opinion can arise. It’s not uncommon for some students to feel frustrated or discouraged during this stage. Your role is to facilitate healthy conflict resolution, help students communicate effectively, and encourage them to find common ground.


If the group is able to navigate the storming stage, they’ll eventually reach the norming stage. During this stage, students have found a way to work together effectively, and the group is functioning well. This is a great time to help students build trust and support each other.


In the performing stage, the group is working together smoothly and effectively. Students are able to take on tasks and complete them without much difficulty, and they’re able to support each other and work well as a team. Your role during this stage is to continue to support the group, and to help students develop their skills and confidence.


In the adjourning stage, the group work is coming to an end. This can be a bittersweet time, as students have likely developed close bonds with each other and may feel sad to say goodbye. Your role during this stage is to help students reflect on their work and celebrate their successes, and to encourage them to continue to build on the skills and relationships they’ve developed.

Of course the Tuckman model applies to any kind of team, not just a classroom setting. You might recognise those phases in your education team’s journey.

The Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development is a powerful tool for educators to understand and support their students as they work together. By understanding the stages and how students are likely to behave and interact during each stage, you can be better equipped to support your students and help them learn and grow. And who knows – you might even have some fun along the way!

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