Is it redundant to say that I’m learning in groups and teams in Learning in Groups and Teams? Yes and no. Yes, from the purely grammatical sense, but no from the perspective that this is the teaching style used in this class. It felt awkward at first being asked to get into our groups to discuss our readings rather than having Dr. Carter review the readings with (for?) us. Even when she does use a more traditional approach with PowerPoint slides highlighting the salient points, her role is that of facilitator, not lecturer. She is guiding the entire class as a group in the discussion, letting us springboard off each others’ thoughts and experiences to bring life to the meaning of these concepts.
It was during our discussion of the paradoxes of inter-group influences that I realized how effective this teaching method can be. The paradox of scarcity had particularly frustrated me during my reading of the chapter, and I had not been able to write a summary of the paradox in my own notes. When we got in our team to discuss the reading, I just threw it out there right off the bat that I didn’t think I understood that paradox and could someone share with me their perspective to help shed light on it. As we talked in our group, I discovered that I understood more than I realized during my initial reading. It helped to have someone else put into words the concepts I was struggling with in my head.
I wonder, though, would I have been as comfortable showing my lack of understanding in front of the whole group (class) as I had been admitting that to my team. I can say without a doubt that I would not have put it out there as boldly as I did within the relative security of my team. I attribute that to a greater level of cohesion I feel within my team that I don’t feel with the class as a whole. That appears to be one drawback to the focus of learning within our team structure — I don’t feel I know the rest of the class as well.