Activity 3: Collegial Sparring

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Activity 3 is a short presentation followed by group work. The purposes of this activity are (i) to introduce the rationale for and concept of collegial sparring as a tool for reflective practice and (ii) to experience collegial sparring firsthand.


  • The facilitator has participants vote on warm-up questions. This can be done either via an open source voting app or manually (show of hands, raise a piece of colored paper)
  • The facilitator presents slides to describe the rationale and concept of collegial sparring.
  • After having explained these, participants watch a video as an introduction to the process – Collegial sparring introduction video.
  • Participants form groups of three. In each group, Participant One has 4 minutes to describe his/her current concrete challenge regarding teaching while Participants Two and Three listen. Participants Two and Three may ask questions during this step.
  • Participants Two and Three now have 8 minutes to discuss participant One’s challenge. Participant One listens but may not speak during this discussion.
  • Participant One summarises his/her take aways from the discussion in 3 minutes. Participants Two and Three may not speak during this step.
  • The roles are rotated so that each participant has an opportunity to describe a challenge and to receive feedback.
  • Once the groups of three are finished, groups are shuffled into new groups to discuss the actual method (gains/difficulties) and formulate one or two suggestions for facilitating the method.
  • Finally, debriefing takes place in the large group to discuss suggestions and implementation of this method in participants’ own professional context.

Resources needed

  1. Computer linked to projector
  2. Activity 3 PowerPoint presentation
  3. Time-lapse video
  4. Speakers

Time frame

Approximately 75-90 minutes depending on the duration of the debriefing as well as whether the video is watched during or before the session.

Times of each of the elements can be adjusted if needed, but strict timekeeping by the facilitator is vital.

Possible variations

  • Participants can watch the time-lapse video sketch beforehand.
  • After participants have discussed suggestions for facilitating collegial sparring, they can document these on a flip chart or via an online tool (e.g., padlet:


Handal, G. (1999). Consultation using critical friends. New directions for teaching and learning, 1999(79), 59-70.