Learning about Teamwork
15 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2017 Last revised: 18 Dec 2017
Date Written: September 8, 2005
During their academic career many students are encouraged to work in groups on their assignments. Similarly, in the workplace there has been a rise in the use of teamwork (Haskins, 1998:74, Senge, 1990, p. 236). Peer learning and the collectivising of tacit knowledge have encouraged organisations to try to stimulate organisationally committed, communities of practice. And many organisations are looking for ways to access employees’ tacit knowledge.
Teamwork is one popular tool for socialising and collectivising tacit of knowledge within organisations. Teamwork can deepen employees’ awareness of the complexity and emergent character of tacit knowledge as well as provide opportunities for reflection on workplace learning in action. For students, team practice on various projects provides a valuable and authentic entrée to some of the knowledge and skills that they will need to develop further as part of ongoing organisational learning and professional development.
However, there are challenges with teaching and learning teamwork and in enacting any co-constructed collaborative style of learning. Our roles as teachers or learning facilitators require us to manage the learning processes in a manner conducive to encouraging, drawing out and crystallising the knowledge from the students’ experiences.
This paper critically reflects upon our experiences of teaching teamwork relationships and processes, and draws on our combined teaching experiences of integrating a core focus on team relationships and processes into an introductory second year course on management communication. We discuss the facilitation and development of teams within organisational contexts, and the teaching strategies we used and found helpful.
Keywords: Teamwork, Teaching, Tacit Knowledge, Students
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