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This weeks readings and class discussions on teamwork have forced me to reflect upon my perceptions of teamwork. I've been asked what I least like about teams, what I've learnt from previous teams and in turn asked myself how I can be a better team member. Reflecting on these issues I came up with one recurring annoyance regarding individual effort. Whether or not the effort is there, if I cannot see the effort in my team mates then I become frustrated, feeling as though I have to put in more work to make up for this perceived need.

This realisation about what I least like about teams has helped me understand that in order to be a good team member myself, I too must demonstrate my effort to the team in order to ensure my fellow members don't feel that I myself am 'loafing'. Yet conversely if I continue down this path, am I not just creating this facade of effort as opposed to producing any tangible results? I worry that my need to perceive effort could have no impact on SHV, Mike, or his bike. So how am I meant to know what my team should value!? Oakley, B., Felder, R. M., Brent, R., & Elhajj, I. (2004) talk about uniting the team "with a common set of realistic expectations" (pg 13). Following what appears to be the general theme of the course, this statement, full of ambiguity, allows for an individual interpretation if what 'realistic" means. In my case, I perceive a realistic expectation to be equal effort within the team as without this base function, I do not believe a team can function. If this expectation is understood and executed, then regardless of my teams final SHV, I personally will feel as though we have performed well as a group and I will have taken some learning from this course. After all, that's what this is all about right?

My innate value of effort over performance has helped me put Mikesbikes into perspective. Here's something I've sunk many hours into (and I'm sure with many to come) and yet is worth 1/5 of my grade. Would I not be better off focusing on my journals? inevitably the argument arises that the two are linked but regardless, this perspective has allowed me to relax a little. No, me and Mike don't get on so well, but that doesn't mean the course cannot be fun when put into perspective.

Oakley, B., Felder, R. M., Brent, R., & Elhajj, I. (2004). Turning groups into effective teams. Journal of student centered learning, 2(1), 9--34.

2 Comments

  1. Angus, 

    It is enjoyable to read your article. I guess you must have gained a lot from this week learning. Well done!

    Firstly, it is really good that you had a deep self-reflection on being a good team member and connected your own experience with theories. You have realised the key point of developing an effective team is to set "a common set of realistic expectations". Team expectation is important for further development. However, there should be more concerns except 'expectations' if you go deep in Oakley's article. Something that can lead a team from good to great.  

     Secondly, course can be more fun when put into effort! Don't let Mike put you down. I am sure you can do better. 

    Anyway, it is a good reflection though. Keep trying! (smile)

  2. Angus,

    Your reflection was insightful and enjoyable to read.

    This reflection has successfully adopted Daudelin’s (1996) reflection guidelines consistently. By doing so, you have enabled a deeper level of reflection, similar to the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. In relation to your statement “If this expectation is understood and executed, then regardless of my teams final SHV, I personally will feel as though we have performed well as a group and I will have taken some learning from this course”, perhaps further reflection and a possible adoption of the various appendix’s provided in Oakley, Felder, Brent, and Elhaji (2004) ‘Turning student groups into effective teams’ could complement this reflection by providing a basis for action.

    Overall, a very good reflection, one that I have valued reviewing. However, a small but critical issue is the in text referencing of “Oakley, B., Felder, R. M., Brent, R., & Elhajj, I. (2004)”. In text citations exclude the first name initials, so the correct in text citation is Oakley, Felder, Brent, and Elhaji (2004).