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In all honesty, I left the readings and reflection till the last minute as I was having a rather chaotic week to say the least (and its only week two!) but after Thursday’s class, in which we were allocated groups I feel that in this instance, this may have been more beneficial for my reflection. This reflection aims to address the issue of forming groups and how this impacts the effectiveness of a team. The concept of groups and teams is something that I have been accustomed to throughout school and through University, yet it amazes me that the same chilling feeling of uncertainty still manages to get to me when I know that there is a group component to a course. The typical questions of whether we get to pick teams or whether we get assigned teams, what if someone doesn’t pull their weight, what if we get a bad grade and so forth always seems to be on the forefront of every students mind, so I found the paper Turning Student Groups into Effective Teams to be a great insight into some of the ways that an ‘instructor’ can attempt to combat some of these problems.

The three main sections in this paper covered forming teams, converting groups into effective teams as well as peer ratings and how to use them. Seeing as a small group of our peers have acted as the ‘instructor’ in this instance forming our groups (based on our CV and Mike’s Bikes SHV performance), this is the area in which I would like to discuss in this reflection. A couple of students on this panel explained to the class their rationale behind the group selection process. They had decided that due to the large range in results from the Mike’s Bikes simulation, the best way to divide groups were based on the share-holder values from $0-$20, $20-$30, $30-$45 and so forth. Ensuring that those stronger students were not burdened with the weaker students who failed to achieve the minimum shareholder value for whatever reason.

However, it clearly states in Turning Student Groups into Effective Teams that, “Groups containing all weak students are likely to flounder aimlessly or reinforce one another’s misconceptions, while groups composed entirely of strong students often adopt a divide and conquer policy, parceling out and completing different parts of the assignment individually and putting the products together without discussion – therefore the depth of understanding and development of team work skills that result from generating and comparing alternative solutions and resolving conflicts is thereby lost.”.  In relations to the readings and the criteria presented in Part B or Section Two, we have in essence been put into a situation that may cause us to be in ‘ineffective’ teams.

Yet you may argue, so what? What’s wrong with putting those who put barely any effort into the task into one group, even if they ‘flounder aimlessly’? I guess the notion of ‘reaping what you sow’ may be applicable here but in essence, I began to think back to last weeks reading about learning through experience. And from my point of view If I was a ‘stronger student’, with knowledge or expertise in a particular area, I don’t see how a ‘weaker’ student would hinder my performance in a group as my determination to succeed would make me want to help that person along. If anything, as noted by Tyron Edwards in the Turning Student Groups into Effective Teams reading, “thoroughly to teach another is the best way to learn for yourself”. Regardless, the dynamics in my team seem to be fine & I must say that I am looking forward to getting on with the game. Im just hoping that there our group will keep the floundering aimlessly to a minimum. 









1 Comment

  1. Your learning journal shows quite in-depth thinking on Oakley, Felder, Brent and Elhajj's article Turning Student Groups into Teams, drawing good lines between theories cited in the writing the the practical application that we experienced through the formation of teams in the course. It was very interesting to see a note of the discrepancies between the two and perhaps a reflection in a few weeks, linking back to the thoughts you have now in regards to this will come in handy. Just one thing, you've forgotten to include a proper reference for the reading.  

    Also, with all the thinking and reflection you've included on the groups, some added depth on personal experience or the learning you have undergone through team activities could have added another layer to the journal. Such as, in the past what types of team structures have you been a part of and how successful were they? How different (better? worse?) do you foresee this particular team project going based on the justification behind the groupings? 

    All the best for your semester!