This week in class posed many challenges that we had to overcome. From the fact that our group was under re-assessment by Peter and the class, to the challenges associated with the simulation and working as a group.
Last week, myself and a group of five others were confronted with the challenge of sorting the classes CVs into teams. We thought we did a reasonably good job with the process. We followed what we had learned that week in the readings and made sure that the groups had similar goals, as it would mean they would all be working towards similar things and would be more cohesive as a group (Oakley, Felder, Brent & Elhajj 2004). We also ensured there was diversity in the groups in i.e. there was a mixture of SHV as this means that those who are good with the simulation can help those that aren’t so good.
We did however, make an exception to this, and we also made one mistake.
The exception to this was that those who did not meet the requirements of the SHV over $25 were put to the side to be sorted though. Peter suggested three potential options for this pile. Firstly, to incorporate them into the main pile, secondly to leave them to the side and do nothing with them (allowing them to sort themselves out into groups), and thirdly to sort them into teams separate from the main group. We as a collective decided not to do any of these and instead decided to sort though the pile to look for evidence on the CV of effort; this included a SHV that nearly reached the $25, or ones that had put in a lot of effort into their CVs. We put these ones into the main pile to be mixed with everyone else. The remaining CVs we put into groups as we saw it as unfair to leave them to sort themselves out and leave them with no group at all, however decided it was not fair to put these people into the other groups as we felt they were not entirely committed to learning the simulation, therefore any benefit from the diversity of SHV (i.e. the good ones teaching these guys) would be lost, and also we felt that these people would be more likely to be hitchhikers (Oakley, Felder, Brent & Elhajj 2004). Overall, although this decision may have upset some people, (and even writing this is likely to upset some people), I still feel as though we did the right thing for everybody. I think that the people who didn’t meet the requirement have an opportunity to prove to the group that allocated the teams that they want to learn, and that they are willing to put the effort in to succeed in this class. I am hopeful that they will see this team allocation as motivation to work harder next time; however I am mindful that it could have the opposite effect on these teams. It will be interesting to see how they go and whether they use it as motivation.
The mistake we made, as many people may assume, was not that we put ourselves in a team. The mistake we made was not following though with the criteria we were using for the rest of the teams. We were going by firstly goals, making sure that everyone in a team had the same goals. We as a team seemed to meet this requirement relatively loosely, some are in it to learn, some are in it to compete and others are in it to get the best goal. I think that the last two are very similar, however the first is a bit different, which seemed to cause one of our team members some discomfort later in the week. The second element we were grouping by was to have a diverse SHV. We most definitely did not achieve this when allocating our group, which later in the week became a problem with the class. Although I’m sure people may be sceptical, but we did not even look at the SHV’s of our members. What happened was that we came across our CVs in the pile and we weren’t sure what to do them, so we removed them from the pile to deal with later. It was then suggested that we form a group ourselves as we seemed to like working together, and we were all relatively similar in the way we were hard workers and were keen to help out in class. Also, we thought we were diverse in the fact that we all had very different ways of thinking, which was evident in the discussions taking place while sorting though the CVS, however, we did not turn out to be diverse in terms of SHV. This was our potential mistake, which lead to a very uncertain week in terms of the fate of our team.
In terms of this experience of sorting the teams and the problems that it raised throughout the week, there was a lot to learn from this that I can take into future situations like this.
Oakley, B., Felder, R. M., Brent, R., & Elhajj, I. (2004). Turning student groups into effective teams. Journal of student centered learning, 2(1), 9--34