After a rather shocking start to the course in week one I am feeling excited to now reflect, hopefully more constructively, on week two.
Last week I did not complete the reflective journal on time, but did complete and submit one over the weekend. I found the exercise very useful, mainly in that it helped to reinforce in my mind some of the concepts from the readings. In an attempt to begin a more systematic and intentional process of learning, I applied Daudelin’s (1996:39) four part reflection model to my experience last week. The overall outcome was the realization that making an assumption based on the usual tendency for courses to get off to a slow start really set me back. I experienced the dangers of making assumptions. In light of that reflection I have approached the last week much more attentively and in keeping with the intensity of the course. The outcome has been really rewarding as I feel much more engaged with the course content this week. That’s learning in action! Good stuff.
As encouraged by Peter, I guess it will prove useful to apply Daudelin’s model to each week’s reflection journal. While there is not necessarily a problem that stands out from the past week, I am concerned that problems may arise later on as a result of slight neglect and inaction on the part of my team to consult more deeply about our psychological contract and expectations of each other.
A crucial element of the process of forming effective teams, as indicated by this week’s readings (Katzenback & Smith 1992, Oakley et al. 2004), seems to be developing a strong unity of vision, purpose and mutual accountability. I am really happy with the team, as I feel all the other members are too. I assume that because we all felt immediately comfortable, maybe we felt happy to ‘just get on with it’ and move into action before giving much space to exploring our various roles and expectations. Certainly a few words were said about this, but I don’t think we necessarily adhered to the framework suggested in the readings. These reflections come to mind because of my experience that, if individuals or groups are to learn effectively, they also need to develop the habit of tapping into knowledge already generated by others. There is no need to make unnecessary mistakes or learn things the hard way when others have already generated knowledge which can be applies to another context. It would be a pain, for example, to face challenges with the team dynamics in the near future, and then look back and realize they could have been avoided had we spend more time developing a sound contract.
Let’s see what happens over the coming weeks. Hopefully I have not just jinxed the team! Either way, moving forward I’m going to make more effort to apply more constructively the knowledge in the readings.
Daudelin, M. W. (1996). Learning from experience through reflection. Organizational Dynamics, 24(3), 36—48
Katzenbach, J. R. & Smith, D. K. (1992). Why teams matter. McKinsey Quarterly, (3), 3—27
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.