Structuring Group Projects I


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Starting, Storming, Solving, Selling: Teaching Problem-Solving and Teamwork Skills Through a Four-step Model

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Structuring Group Projects I

  1. 1. Starting, storming, solving, selling: Teaching problem-solving and teamwork skills through a four-step model. Lynn Donahue, Ed.D. Communication/Journalism Department St. John Fisher College
  2. 2. Goals: <ul><li>Teach students to solve problems using a problem-solving process. </li></ul><ul><li>Teach students to effectively collaborative with each other using the combined resources of the group. </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce student procrastination by providing structure to the process. </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce interpersonal conflicts by providing communication skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide opportunities for students to receive multiple sources of feedback through multi-level assessments. </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Problem-Solving Process Define and Analyze the Problem Generate Arguments Develop Support for your Claims Identify and Evaluate Solutions
  4. 4. Teamwork Skills: <ul><li>Phases of Group Development (i.e. Norming) </li></ul><ul><li>Active Listening (i.e. Paraphrasing) </li></ul><ul><li>Non-listening (i.e. Selective Listening) </li></ul><ul><li>Perceptions of Others (i.e. First Impressions) </li></ul><ul><li>Speech Delivery (i.e. Audience Engagement) </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Project Assignment: <ul><li>Using secondary and primary research, your group will research a topic and propose a solution to a problem or issue of social significance. There are three goals: </li></ul><ul><li>First, you will learn how to problem-solve and create effective arguments regarding a topic of social significance. </li></ul><ul><li>Second, you will learn how to work effectively as a team by applying interpersonal and group work skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Last, you will learn, and have an opportunity to apply, public speaking skills by presenting your findings to the class during a final presentation. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Examples of Student Projects: <ul><li>Reducing the spread of AIDS. </li></ul><ul><li>Combating the negative effects of sexuality in the media. </li></ul><ul><li>Meeting the needs of the medically uninsured. </li></ul><ul><li>Curtailing violence within schools. </li></ul>
  7. 7. A Four Step Group Process Model <ul><li>Step 1: Starting </li></ul><ul><li>Establishing norms and identifying the problem </li></ul><ul><li>Step 2: Storming </li></ul><ul><li>Refining your Assertion and Creating Arguments </li></ul><ul><li>Step 3: Solving </li></ul><ul><li>Creating Solutions and Reducing Resistance </li></ul><ul><li>Step 4: Selling </li></ul><ul><li>Organizing your Information and Presenting the Results </li></ul>
  8. 8. Examples of Student Presentations <ul><li>Example #1: </li></ul><ul><li>Sexuality in the Media </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Example #2: </li></ul><ul><li>AIDS in Africa </li></ul>
  10. 10. Five-Tier Assessment <ul><li>Tier 1: Group Portfolio (4 Phases, Outline of Presentation, PowerPoint copies, Bibliography, Meeting Notes (Comm 250) </li></ul><ul><li>Tier 2: Critical Critique of performance in group applying communication concepts </li></ul><ul><li>Tier 3: Peer Evaluation of 1) member participation and 2) individual and group presentation. </li></ul><ul><li>Tier 4: Instructor Assessment of Individual and Group Presentation </li></ul><ul><li>Tier 5: Instructor Assessment of Individual and Group Participation </li></ul>
  11. 11. Challenges: <ul><li>Gaps were present in problem-solving process: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some of claims were not supported with sufficient evidence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research wasn’t consistently cited in Power Point </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some of alternative arguments and rebuttals were weak </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Students procrastinated: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Regardless of structure in class, students still left majority of substance of project to last minute. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Some group work challenges: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Despite teaching communication and conflict-management skills, group members were resistant to confront members not performing to the same level. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Peer evaluations were somewhat unhelpful – 4’s and 5’s. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Feedback became too complex </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Thorough, but time-intensive and somewhat confusing for students (and still difficult to grade subjective measures like individual and group participation). </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Accomplishments: <ul><li>Created an assertion and 3 arguments with evidence: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: The growing rate of AIDS among African people is due to the lack of education, good health care and funding. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Created solutions: Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Safe sex/sex ed Clean needles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clean needles Proper medical care </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protect open cuts/sores Better schooling and educators </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Worked collaboratively on project: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All students able to take on leadership roles during 4 Phases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students gained insight on use of communication skills and were motivated to use these skills in groups (result of critical critiques, structured process). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Oral presentation was professional and well-done: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students practiced individually and as a group and implemented public speaking skills to an appropriate level. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Questions?
  14. 14. <ul><li>Discussion and Application: </li></ul><ul><li>Please answer the 3 questions individually. Then get in groups of 3 and discuss your answers. </li></ul><ul><li>How do you/could you apply the Problem-Solving Process and Four-Phase approach to your group work? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you/could you apply the evaluation tools to your group work? </li></ul><ul><li>What challenges do you experience in your group work that you need feedback on? </li></ul>