To begin with, group work or rather working within a team can prove to be somehow tasking. In this sense, the group or team in which a person is involved can be judged in many ways regarding its effectiveness and performance. So to speak, it is my own experience in a group of my class whereby we had to present an oral presentation. It is through my keen observation and refection of the same that makes vivid the experiences that I had and that we had as a group right from the beginning up to the end of the presentation. In this reflective essay, I would like to relate the experiences of the group with theory and concept in order to learn from it as well as know what will be done in such an occurrence in the future.
In essence, reflection is an effective tool that helps one to learn from experiences or in simple terms it helps one to draw a lesson from the past experiences through reflection. Often times, one may experience something that is a potential ground for learning but without reflection of the experience, the learning potential may be lost. Again, following the feelings as well as thoughts that are brought about by reflections, generation of concepts along with generalizations may be made (Drejer, 2000). In connection with this, the concepts that will be applied in this reflection essay will be the Johari window model and the stages of group development. In particular, the essay is all about my reflection on my experiences as an individual as well as the experience of my group in preparation and delivery of an oral presentation.
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According to Johari window concept, there are four areas that are so important while working as a group. For one, there is the fact that one has the part that is known by the group at the same time being known to him or her. In the same line of thought, there is the part that is known to others but not known to the person. It is termed as the blind self. Accordingly, there is a part that an individual knows about himself or herself but it is not known to others (Luft, 1991). In addition, Johari window model points out to an area that is not known either by the individual in question or the group members.
In relation to this, the model seeks to increase the free area whereby the members know about each other without blind self being brought into the context. Arguably, the blind self can hinder a group from progressing in the sense that they are unable to exploit the potential of each member (Ellis et al, 1991). Notably, issues to do with the stages of development in a group have been in use since time in memorial. In line with this, the stages of group development involve the forming, storming, norming, performing and adjournment of a group in case need arises for it to be terminated.
Following the given concepts of use in exploring my interpersonal and communication experiences in my group preparation and delivery of oral presentation, I must confess that there are areas that I failed. Nonetheless, my reflection on these experiences, bring me hope of improvement in the future as they bring out lessons that I would have otherwise not have discovered without this reflection. After being grouped with my other students in this particular group to prepare an informative speech and deliver it as well, I felt some kind of nervousness. In simpler terms I tensed and would not do anything owing to my low self esteem.
When we began preparing the informative speech, I had a lot of expectations but fear overcame me in the sense that I was not able to give the whole of information that I had. This was as a result of the fact that there was a limited room for me to express myself. In regard to this, the Johari window model if only it had been known to us, the leader of the group would have helped me by making provision for a room and opportunity to bring out my blind self side into the free area whereby my being resourceful would have been utililzed. I know of a friend in the group, so good in oral presentation but such a golden opportunity was wasted as there was no room for such a person to just but express her views and ideas.
While forming a group, the first stage is usually termed as forming. In this stage, as a new team, it is a moment of learning how to work together. Members seemingly are tentative, polite and little conflict is often realized (Tuckman & Jensen, 1977). In this case, the team is given to the responsibility of identifying the group process, define the roles and in the larger perspective building the relationships and trust. At the same time, a strong leader is required in order to help the group through the forming activities. At this point, I feel that it is good to bring into context the kind of experience that I had during this stage.
As a matter of fact, when you are in a new group, before you know each and every member, it becomes so hard to make out how resourceful one may be. During this process, leaders who were chosen had little understanding on how to effectively lead a group. The leader kept on talking and did not know how to help members to interact and discover their roles. The environment was given to few selected who knew each other. Since I was the only the new one along with another friend of mine, we were not given room to participate. Following this point, although personally had a lot to contribute to the group work, I reserved it to myself. If only we had been given the opportunity to voice out our views, then, our oral presentation would have been better than it was (Lott & Bernice 1965).
Johari window model provides that one should be given room to make the blind self to come into the free area whereby what the individuals knows about themselves is known to the others as well. By so doing, the group working comes out be so effective as well as the fact that performance prove to be an excellent one (Gladstein, 1984). Interpersonal and group communication in the context of my group was one of those experiences that give me profound memories. In point of fact, the interpersonal interactions were not the best ones. This is to suggest that the way of orientation did not close the gap between us as group members. It was as if the group was made of particular subgroups within.
Due to this fact, some subgroup of friends voted for the leader of the group and he always pointed out to them for questions and answers while disregarding the few of us who were like strangers to the group. In actuality, the leader should be somebody who has an ability to motivate and influence each member to contribute (Runkel et al, 1971). It was well thought of that those that contributed much or in simpler terms those that gave points had the best points. While this may be the supposedly reason behind my being hindered from contributing to the informative speech, this was a great failure as no one who had known the great potential that I had to add to the quality of the group work.
At the same time, I feel so much discouraged by the way my group had failed in relation to communication. I must admit that I was also a failure in the sense that the many times that I realized that there was such like a problem I did not voice it out. In this matter, I am to be blamed as this was a mode of poor communication. Why then did I resolve to keep quiet? Although my reasons may sound to be true but I should have talked this out. Keeping quiet while working as a group is not the best thing to do as it only draws the group back (Tuckman & Jensen, 1977).
As the stages of the development of groups are given, after forming the group the storming stage comes in. At this stage, conflicts and disagreements arise. This results to less conformity and therefore the team need some good leaders who can help identify issues as well as resolve them (Sikkel, K. ,GMD-FIT, German National Research Center for Information Technology, 1997).. During the norming stage, it is provided that the group has moved to higher levels of communication and it is more effective. In this context, the group is able to resolve issues and perform as well as meet their goals. The leader of the group has little to do as all the members can perform as well as deliver. In this regard, our group did not follow such like trend as I suppose that the leadership together with a great majority of the group members had limited skills of running and working within a group.
Despite the many failures that have been pointed out, there are several successes in which every member proved to be apt in doing research and bring in information in order to make the presentation better. I would recommend that if the group had good communication skills together with good interpersonal relations, good results in the presentation would have been realized. Following what I have learnt as I reflect on my experience in my group on informative speech for oral presentation, I am now well equipped to do better than I did before. I am now well placed to contribute much to the benefit of the group and mine also. This in the future will enable me to better perform in a group work as well as help them discover the importance of interpersonal and communication skills.
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