Friday, May 04, 2012

Working in teams

When an employer calls to check someone's references, the person asks a number of questions.  One of the things the employer wants to know is if the person can work in teams.  Most academic programs have classes where teamwork is required.  Students learn how to work in teams through instruction, in-class exercises and by just doing it. 

Below are two handouts from Loughborough University on working in teams. I've used these with students and know that there are some business teams that could benefit from them. Both have similar content, with the longer handout also being newer.
This semester, I used information from Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono with students.  This book helps you think about your own approach to situations and problems, and gives you a framework for approaching a problem differently.  It could be very useful to have an entire team read the book and then "try on" the different "hats."  It could help a team function more effectively.

Finally, at a recent event, we were broken up into small groups and given the "marshmallow challenge." Below is the TED video about it and there is a web site with more details.  This is an interesting engineering problem at which kindergarten students excel at (not adults).  You might consider using the marshmallow challenge as a team building exercise, then use the video to debrief the group and start a conversation about what teams need to do in order to function well.

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