Team Work

Why Teams?

The Harvard Assessment Seminars, Richard Light.

  • Teams contribute mightily to motivation and direction, they are associated with happiness and achievement, and small improvements in team work add up to dramatic increases in learning
  • Writing for fellow students, they found, is central to course work; team work “stretches” the mind, along with weekly writing puts student work in the center of discussion, and offers students a chance to benefit from each other’s insights
  • Weekly papers offer valuable practice in writing, give everyone a chance for feedback, and best start with the simplest of questions: “What’s the big idea?” “What’s unclear?”
  • Universities that have looked into the matter have found that team work is best down when many dimensions are systematically explored: Group Work, Bok Center, Harvard
  • How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity, Ed Catmull. The benefits of team work recognized by universities are consistent with those found in innovative, creative business environments
  • The Growing Importance of Social Skills in the Labor Market, David. J. Deming. There is a larger consensus on the value of team work among business leaders
  • The Discipline of Teams, Katzenbach; Structural Dynamics: Using Conversational Cues to Lead More Effectively, David Kantor. Offer examples of modeling among leading management consultants
  • My current team bookmarks

Why read the homework together?

When you read and discuss each page together, and where you identify the key points and take turns explaining, discussing, and taking notes, you will be able to check your understanding, clarify your thought, and, having enjoyed this experience, surely remember it

  • Read one page at a time, and discuss it, because so much happens in just one page and you do well to check to be sure you are on track When listening, nod when you understand and shake your head when you don’t: observe how your partner is confirmed or challenged and open up a space to do both: this will help you both check your understanding
  • When listening and things are not clear, say so, ask a simple question and give your partner a chance to explain things differently; when speaking, note how your second or third explanation is different and make a note of this difference: this will help you clarify your thought and expression
  • When you work with others, all kinds of other things are going on — as you will see in this exampling of Asking for and offering help
  • When you discuss things with a partner, the chances are good that you will challenge each other, turn issues around and about, and do so in your own, user-friendly, relevant terms: there is a good reason for this, as you might learn from reading about Vigotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development

How do I evaluate your team work?

  1. Precocious knowledge transfer is reflected in frequent and maps, reviews, and well-edited and sophisticated used of categories and tags.  Your posts and comments are integrated and cite and extend the reach of each other’s arguments. It is clear that you have been communicating actively and learning from each other.
  2. Overall coherence is evident in mind maps, “week-in-review”, and consistent use of categories and tags across the group.  Posts and comments are supportive of each other but without significant extension.  Group interaction is adequate.
  3. Your minimum level group work is reflect in pro forma mind maps and “week-in-review” as well as categories and tags that are unrefined, redundant, and so not edited.  Your posts and comments are divergent, only occasionally refer to each other’s issues, and do not build on them.  Evidence of group interaction is limited.
  4. Your group work is limited to 2-3 people, the others seem not to have showed up or engaged each other.  Categories and tags are inaccurate, redundant, or irrelevant.  Posts and comments have nothing to do with each other.  No evidence of significant group interaction, result appears incoherent.

How do I evaluate your comments on each other’s work?

  1. Your comments engage the problem and writer and go beyond to suggest different materials and interpretations in a constructive way.  Your own posts reflect this conversation.
  2. You respond as a peer, suggest additional, relevant links, add to the discussion, throw in at least one comment or question that gives pause, and you invite a thoughtful response.
  3. You respond with understanding, care, and support. You indicate clearly that you have learned something (and may say so in a subsequent post).
  4. Your comments are insufficient in number and/or quality. Not helpful, not welcoming.