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As I begin writing my second learning journal (before being put into teams) it has come to my presumption in how Peter Smith likes to operate his lectures, that following in how I've had Peter for two previous papers; highly focused on students talking and expressing their views amongst the class, while Peter will clarify what students are reflecting on. Therefore what I have learnt this week in Oakley, Felder, Brent and Elhajj (2004) article on ‘Turning students groups into effective teams’ is how Peter and other lecturers/ managers arrange teams from instructor/manager-formed, and self-selection to a new student-formed team (my own term for it (Mikes Bikes simulation)). Instructor-formed teams I have seen many times before from Business 101 right through to third year papers. As well I have seen self-selection teams in International Business 307, but rarely, and extremely rarely have I ever seen a student-formed team.

On the one hand my understating of a lecture-formed team is based around students’ diversity, mix of personalities, and utter complete randomness. A sense of Tuckman’s model of forming, storming… etc. On the other hand self-selection teams are based on friendships, who you know, or who you may want to work with because individuals like to work with people they know rather than random outsiders (Oakley et al., 2004). Self-selection teams for myself do not seem to work due to laziness, ‘catch-ups’ rather than study dates, and no miscellaneous backgrounds, to name a few.

For the above two types of teams I never saw the benefits of weak and strong teams but after reading through Oakley et al. (2004 pg. 11) the authors analysed this position as “weak students get the benefit of seeing how good students approach assignments and they may also get some individual tutoring, while strong students who do the tutoring may benefit even more.” My judgement before this understanding was that the diversity between team members irritated each other because the weak students couldn't, and often didn't feel like doing the work of stronger students and vice versa.

Student-formed teams. Now what on earth is that! To a certain extent for me it’s an in-between approach where the lecture, myself, and the students who put me into a desired team hold the influence, with the latter being greatest. As discussed in class on Wednesday 30th July 2014 for a team to thrive is for all members to strive towards a common, shared goal. Without this then individuals start to become disinterested in their team.

I agree and fully support the CV we used for Mikes Bikes in how teams will be formed. I believe this to be a new invention to myself that will show a great amount of unknown diversity between all members. We therefore then go back to an above point about using Tuckman’s model. I feel that in the future this new learning style I have discussed of student-formed teams will be used to a greater extent with students being grouped into similar ambitions, but at the same time resulting in different GPAs so the weak can learn and the strong can tutor.

A great example to all the above points is when we as students graduate and enter the ‘real world.’ Our manager, and for us to manage will know the pros and cons in teams. He/ she will not ask if we want to work alone or with others, and will not ask who I would like to work with. More or less we will be assigned to groups/ or assign employees to groups where a supervisor will overlook performance resulting in remuneration through results. Now this is what the ‘real world’ is about.

References

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

2 Comments

  1. Hello Jonathan, 

    I really enjoyed your breakdown of the sources of team selection (instructor/self/student). It's always helpful to simplify a complex scenario in order to dissect it further, which you did really well. I also thought your constant referencing of the readings placed importance on the task of focusing on specific sets of information. I think your analyses regarding the aspect where strong students learn through teaching and weaker students assess the methods of the strong, undermines completely the method in which the class was demarcated at SHV below 25. This was a strong opportunity for the volunteers to test this assessment but I am sure Peter has statistics that state otherwise (due to many reasons from year to year). if I were to push you on the fact that the CV was not wholly representative of our 'goals and ambitions', then I think we could have an interesting debate. We had over 6 points of judgement (GPA, team characteristics etc), but were only able to apply a few of those points. Regardless of my argument, I am glad you have a sense of optimism about the student selection process. 

    I found that you referenced a lot of different points but only scratched the surface. I would have really enjoyed you really dig deeper into what the CV was asking us and how it was going to be applied. Whether the information on the CV really managed to capture each individual students personality and preference? If I were to ask you that 'How often do students in classes beforehand, undertake tutoring of other students and how often have the weak students attempted to imitate the habits of the strong?'. The answer to this question might push you to look deeper into the statement of what really happens in groups and is the effort of teaching even realized by the students in the short 12 week period of a paper? You seem to be applying the readings to what you perceive in class and it's a really difficult thing to do but I would like to see you challenge the assumptions made in theory which may explain the reality of things in class with more clarity.

    Overall, you presented some unique classifications of methods being employed in class but you only superficially analysed the content. You really captured your reality alongside the readings but grab a few points and really shake them down and see if they hold true even after deeper analyses. 

    I hope this feedback is helpful and you don't take anything I say with any negativity. This is a learning process for me as well to provide feedback that is complimentary in nature and I hope you get on with your team well. 

    Regards
    Simran

     

  2. Hi Jonathan,

    I really enjoyed reading your journal entry, especially when you have mentioned not only the readings from within this course but also the readings external to this course. I also agree about the fact that 'weak students learning from strong students' learning style should be encouraged within our educational systems. This will surely benefit both parties.

    However, for improvement, whatever material that you have used that should be referenced should be cited or included in your reference list like the Tuckman's model that you have mentioned. I have also mentioned that you have quoted and paraphrased with slight explanations. I suggest that it would be beneficial for you if you went into depth with those quotes or paraphrases. And do not forget to include personal experiences when you do go into depth.

    Overall, great work! And all the best for the rest of the course.

    Cheers (smile)