Not all groups are teams
- In education as in business, achievement is strongly associated with ability to work in teams. Consider this illustration from The Discipline of Teams, by Jon R. Katzenbach
In teams. When you take turns with your partner identifying key points, explaining them, and writing things down, the chances are very good that you will each see things differently, give each other a chance to see this difference, and both profit from the comparison. If only one of you writes this down and the other copies it, you risk losing this difference, letting others do your thinking for you, andplagiarizing someone else’s work. In this class, discuss things with each other constantly, but always write down your own version. Then, reporting and comparing, distinguish between what you and your partner have said and done and where you credit your partner for helping you see things you might not have seen otherwise: don’t worry, he or she will do the same for you!
- As above, account for your work both individually and collectively
- Take turns assuming leadership roles and so gain valuable experience doing both
- Each week, share your work, and follow the sub-heads in the assignment and do at least some of each
- In this class, by report we do not mean presenting a finished product, but instead, sharing notes that are open, exploratory, active, and part of problem-solving
- Your aim is not to heap things up and say, “here, teacher, give me a good grade,” but instead, “here is my research, my questions, how I went about addressing them, the questions I have addressed and those I would like to address next, and I’m hoping you will offer some advice on improvement and how I might better proceed.”
Egging each other on
There are things you can do on your own, and that’s usually what those saying “please teacher, give me a good grade” do and say, but there are those things you cannot do yet, but with some work, conversation, and thought, you will learn how to do them: this is what we want to hear about in this class: what you tried to do, what you did to achieve it, and what you’d like to do next
- Vigotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development explains this learning model nicely: how to learn, we somehow step outside of what we know
In this class, read and discuss passages a second time to the end of discovering things you did not see at first, and especially, to the end of each helping the other see things they otherwise might not see or might not see so readily.
- Sometimes, being a good listener, a good follower, is just the thing your partner needs: when done well, you draw the best from your partner: practice nodding while listening, asking questions, and encouraging your partner’s brilliance: when you do this well, she will return the favor in spades
What images do you have of teams?
Identify three occasions when you experienced the joy of team playing, whether it be in sports, arts, at work, or at home, then compare your examples to the following.
- In this illustration from a BizApps class years ago, you see how a blogging group represented themselves as all stitched in together: in the photo, they arranged themselves in the same way they came to view their working on a common set of interests — as you see by the tags linked together and as you will confirm by visiting their website, here.
How do you write about it?
- We met together and discussed the exercise, and decided, first, to read the text …, we discussed the topic, and learned about …, then XXX showed me the bubble diagram and how to do it and I showed her my mind map and we compared notes…, we found that XXX’s diagram was clearer than mine…, so I changed what I did and learned a new trick!
What do the pros say about teams?
- The Harvard Assessment Seminars, Richard Light.
- Group Work, Bok Center, Harvard
- How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity, Ed Catmull.
- The Growing Importance of Social Skills in the Labor Market, David. J. Deming.
- The Discipline of Teams, Jon R. Katzenbach
- Structural Dynamics: Using Conversational Cues to Lead More Effectively, David Kantor.
- My current team bookmarks