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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.

 

 References:

 Daudelin, M. W. (1996). Learning from experience through reflectionOrganizational Dynamics, 24(3), 36—48

 Katzenbach, J. R. & Smith, D. K. (1992). Why teams matterMcKinsey 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.

 

 

4 Comments

  1. Hi Jeffrey!

    I enjoyed reading your journal mainly because it echoes the experiences I have had in the past week and since the start of the course. We both fell into the trap of assuming based on past experiences, which is pretty much the tune of my journal as well for this week. But this isn't about me lol

    Maybe you could have elaborated more on your past experiences with tapping into the knowledge others have already generated. Was/is it always beneficial tapping into their knowledge? I may be an optimist in saying this but I find that sometimes what we see as an unnecessary mistake is sometimes the exact mistake we need to make in order for us grow, as the saying goes 'everything happens for a reason'

    These are just my thoughts and if I were being honest I'm just being picky. I enjoyed your journal, all the best for the upcoming semester. If I have any more thoughts.. i'll comment again later. Blessings!

  2. Hey Jeffrey, 

    I'm glad to see you feeling better about the course this week. The very same assumption was the downfall of my beginning to the course as I took an extra week off with my semester break. Your journal was a very simple reflection and easy read to digest and you gave a lot of detailed personal reflection throughout. It's almost invaluable to others if they are to read what other members in the class are thinking and wondering about, and to my surprise more often than not  are issues that we seem to agree upon (with varying degrees of agreement of course). You managed to use the reflection process and assess personal changes which I guess is the whole point of this exercise. I also like how you managed to compliment yourself as a form of motivation, which is not to be taken negatively at all, I think it is a great attitude to have when learning. 

    I think your analyses of 'feeling comfortable' is really interesting and serves to show the pitfalls of groups. On the one hand it may seem that we all have the attitude to go on with it, but it may also manifest itself as a result of avoidance; where we tend to avoid talking about the 'rules' and 'contracts' in order to bring a sense of accountability. Its avoided because we actively talk about the rules but the underlying feeling is that nobody intentionally wants to undermine the rules. I was not part of your group but from the way you described the mood in which we all just wanted to get on with it, seems positive but be wary of the pitfalls of such a move. Your argument regarding the generated knowledge may not be applicable to team dynamics as your very team dynamic is unique. What type of   previous knowledge generated by others will serve to help the dynamics of this very team? Previous experience in dispute settlement, delegating tasks and using each member for their strengths may aid in the performance but the negatives cannot be bypassed with knowledge from previous experiences alone. I think what I am trying to argue is that experiential learning within the group will serve as the main motivator for what actions you take in the future as you are not aware of the type of personalities in the group and are unaware of all the factors. 

    I would like to see you engage more in depth regarding the topic at hand. Since we are at a 300 level class with aims to go into the 'real' world, the problems and theory that exists must be evaluated with more depth than just surface level assumptions. I think you could go into more depth into why your team avoided the team contract even though most theory tells you that accountability stems from a mutual set of rules? There is no problem in doing things differently but It would be invaluable to others to know why a certain decision was made? You also make the point of talking about generated knowledge without actually talking about what kind of knowledge? Experiential and information based? Maybe talking about the specific type of generated knowledge and how exactly it would aid the team would provide a more in depth look at the team and provide a more effective accountability tool. I hope you take this feedback with no negativity and use it in future journals. I attempted to analyse your decisions by asking you a few more questions. 

    Hope to read some more soon.

    Regards

    Simran 

  3. Hi Jeffery

    Good effort with your journal! It was really interesting to hear about your reflection of how your team got started. It would be interesting to hear more about why you thought your team acted this way and what might happen if they acted in a different way. It would also be interesting to hear how you thought your team was selected, e.g goal congruence, and how this may have effected the way you acted.

    All the best with your team work!

  4. Hi Jeffrey.

    First of all, I very enjoyed reading your journal and I'm also glad that you are finding this course a lot better than last week. I also worried about taking this course as I am not used to writing reflection and analysing my thoughts.

    You have clearly articulated the problem and analysed them. However, I think it would be better to formulate theories from the readings while analysing the problem that you found last week. Moreover, I think you need to practice referencing those readings correctly. I used to struggle with referencing and I still find it confusing. http://www.cite.auckland.ac.nz/index.php?p=quickcite I recommend you this website (helps referencing!) where it helped me a lot over the past few years.

    Good luck for the rest of the semester and all the best!  (smile)