Students in Mrs. Rickshaw’s Student Success class are required to do a half hour team presentation on a topic of their choice. Mrs. Rickshaw randomly assigns students to teams. Students have approximately four weeks to research and prepare, including two hours of class time. Marks are given based on an instructor evaluation of the presentation combined with a peer evaluation by their team members.
Jane, Robert, Danny, Sharon and Liz were assigned to Team 3. During their first team meeting they introduced themselves and began to decide on a topic. After 45 minutes, they were still trying to settle on a topic. They finally settled on Money Management, however the instructor informed them that another team had already chosen that topic but Conflict Management was still available. During the last 15 minutes of class time, Robert tried to convince the group that they should present a role-play of conflict. Sharon wanted to do research and give a more detailed, informational presentation. Jane was excited by the role-play idea and suggested they make a video presentation of their own play-acting. Danny fell asleep some time before the topic was chosen and Liz sat quietly listening to the arguments of her teammates. At the end of the class no work division had occurred but the team agreed to meet in a study area at 4:15 on the following Monday.
After waiting for Danny until 4:30, the team decided to start without him. Jane announced she had to leave in twenty minutes because she had to pick up her child at the day care by 5:00. Robert was ready to start script writing but Sharon wanted to discuss the content of their presentation and assign research – thinking they could write the script once they were knowledgeable. Liz just listened quietly. An argument ensued, and Jane had to leave before a decision was reached. The next meeting was to be held during their class time the next week.
Before the next meeting, Robert convinced Jane that a role-play was the way to go, and together they put together a draft script, working hard to make the skit funny and entertaining. Robert confronted Danny and warned him to attend the class meeting or he wouldn’t get a part in the play. In the meantime, Sharon picked up six books from the library and printed four articles from the Internet. She prepared an outline detailing various aspects of conflict management. Liz just worried about her role in the whole project.
At the class meeting, all team members were present. Robert informed the group that he and Jane had decided to do a skit, and they had a script all ready. Then he began to assign parts to his teammates. Sharon was incensed and insisted the script was short on content and demanded that they re-build the script around her outline. Robert said he wanted no part in a boring presentation.
Danny did not show up to the remaining team meetings. Liz agreed to do a small part in the play. Jane promised to gather props and costumes. Sharon stubbornly insisted on preparing an informational presentation. She would have liked to have this integrated into the role-play but Robert would not agree to change his script. They planned a practice of the role-play during their math class on the morning of October 16, the day of their presentation.
On the morning of October 16, Danny did not come to school and Liz forgot to bring the props. The practice ended up being more of an argument session. Danny showed up just before Student Success was to start and said “You mean it’s today?!” Liz was very nervous and felt very sick. She wasn’t sure she could do her part. The presentation began with Sharon reading her lengthy introduction and then the skit began. The skit was five minutes in length. The whole presentation left the other class members confused and it ran twelve minutes instead of the required thirty.
Questions for Discussion:
1. In your team, each member is to choose one of the characters in the case study. Complete the evaluation on the reverse of this sheet for your own character first and then for the other members of the team. This form will be given to you to evaluate your teammates when your own presentation is completed.
2. In your character groups, discuss the strengths and weaknesses displayed by your character. Make a list of at least three suggestions that could have improved that character’s input to the team project. Return to your home team and summarize the discussion for each character.
In your home team, discuss your own personal strengths and weaknesses as you perceive them regarding your contribution to the team project. As a team, write a list of guidelines for the team to follow.
Evaluate your character’s teamwork using the assessment below. This is the same form you will use later to actually evaluate your team members for this class.
Give a mark from 0 to 5 for each element on the checklist.
Poor Fair Average Good Excellent
1 2 3 4 5
Give a mark of zero if the person did not participate.
- Give and Take
Elements of Teamwork Checklist
- Excellent: Free, open expression of ideas and feelings at all appropriate times with no fear of embarrassment or reprisal.
- Poor: Stifled, close to the vest, guarded. Lets the other person start the communication.
- Excellent: Full contribution, reaches out to lend a hand, readily available.
- Poor: Lack of initiative to help the other person? Not around when needed, begrudging contribution.
GIVE AND TAKE
- Excellent: Open to compromise, flexible? Recognition that it is sometimes better to give in than be “Right.”
- Poor: Stubbornly dug in on own viewpoint, uncompromising, always right, never wrong.
- Excellent: Promotes team actions and decisions, recognizes he/she needs the team, and lets each member know where they stand. Team members support his/her suggestions.
- Poor: No leadership initiated. Reacts rather than acts. Poor or reluctant support of ideas.
- Excellent: Knows their responsibilities. Provides structure to accomplish team goals.
- Poor: Unclear of responsibilities or doesn’t care about responsibilities.
- Excellent: Did their homework. Research was thorough, especially as it affects other team members.
- Poor: Team progress was held up because of participant’s lack of preparation. Consistently dropped the ball.
- Excellent: Lives by the ground rules and procedures. Functions smoothly, works with the team.
- Poor: Absence of order, operates on their own rules, progresses from crisis to crisis.
- Excellent: Members have confidence in participant and can rely on performance.
- Poor: Mediocre “Class C” player not interested in becoming “Class A.”
- Excellent: Participant rallies to the goals. Goals clearly defined in his/her mind.
- Poor: Lack of awareness of, or resistance to, team goals.
- Excellent: An attitude of action and momentum, makes suggestions of steps forward.
- Poor: Dead in the water ? “Everything is a drag” attitude.
–Joanne Fortuin, Northern Albert Institute of Technology, Alberta, Canada