But it does mean that changes in organization and work will be the gradual result of mutation cumulatively reinforced by survival value; those groups whose behaviour altered in any way that increased their security from predators or from famine would survive in greater numbers than others. This would be an extremely slow process, comparable to the evolution of the different species themselves. There is no reason to believe that animal behaviour has materially altered during the period available for the study of human history—say, the last 5, years or so—except, of course, when human intervention by domestication or other forms of interference has itself brought about such alterations.
Nor do members of the same species differ markedly in behaviour over widely scattered areas, again apart from differences resulting from human interference. Bird songs are reported to differ somewhat from place to place within species, but there is little other evidence for areal divergence.
In contrast to this unity of animal behaviour, human cultures are as divergent as are human languages over the world, and they can and do change all the time, sometimes with great rapidity, as among the industrialized countries of the 21st century. The processes of linguistic change and its consequences will be treated below. Here, cultural change in general and its relation to language will be considered. By far the greatest part of learned behaviour, which is what culture involves, is transmitted by vocal instruction, not by imitation.
Some imitation is clearly involved, especially in infancy, in the learning process, but proportionately this is hardly significant.
Spoken language alone would thus vastly extend the amount of usable information in any human community and speed up the acquisition of new skills and the adaptation of techniques to changed circumstances or new environments. With the invention and diffusion of writing, this process widened immediately, and the relative permanence of writing made the diffusion of information still easier. Printing and the increase in literacy only further intensified this process.
Modern techniques for broadcast or almost instantaneous transmission of communication all over the globe, together with the tools for rapidly translating between the languages of the world, have made it possible for usable knowledge of all sorts to be made accessible to people almost anywhere in the world. This accounts for the great rapidity of scientific, technological, political, and social change in the contemporary world. All of this, whether ultimately for the good or ill of humankind, must be attributed to the dominant role of language in the transmission of culture.
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Audio version of "Teamwork skills: Being an effective group member" tip sheet MP3 For small groups to function effectively in a course context, students must attend to both the climate within their group and the process by which they accomplish their tasks.
Communication skills To function successfully in a small group, students need to be able to communicate clearly on intellectual and emotional levels. Skills for a healthy group climate To work together successfully, group members must demonstrate a sense of cohesion. Cohesion emerges as group members exhibit the following skills: Openness : Group members are willing to get to know one another, particularly those with different interests and backgrounds.
They are open to new ideas, diverse viewpoints, and the variety of individuals present within the group. They listen to others and elicit their ideas. They know how to balance the need for cohesion within a group with the need for individual expression.
Trust and self-disclosure : Group members trust one another enough to share their own ideas and feelings. A sense of mutual trust develops only to the extent that everyone is willing to self-disclose and be honest yet respectful. Trust also grows as group members demonstrate personal accountability for the tasks they have been assigned. Support : Group members demonstrate support for one another as they accomplish their goals.
They exemplify a sense of team loyalty and both cheer on the group as a whole and help members who are experiencing difficulties. They view one another not as competitors which is common within a typically individualistic educational system but as collaborators. As an instructor, you can use several strategies to encourage students to develop a healthy climate within their small groups: Assign students into diverse groups so that they encounter others with different backgrounds and interests.
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Design activities that break the ice, promote awareness of differences within the group, encourage reflection on the stresses of working within a group, and point out the demands of working in a group. Have students participate in trust challenges.
For example, try the trust-fall, in which individual group members fall backward off a table and are caught by their fellow group members. Or blindfold individual students, and have their group members guide them orally through an obstacle course. Encourage students to participate willingly and ask questions of others. Have them repeat this exercise when they have completed their task. See appendix B for an example of this checklist. Skills for an effective group process Besides knowing how to develop a healthy group climate, students also need to know how to function so that they are productive and accomplish their tasks effectively.
An effective process will emerge as students exhibit these skills: Individual responsibility and accountability : All group members agree on what needs to be done and by whom. Each student then determines what he or she needs to do and takes responsibility to complete the task s. They can be held accountable for their tasks, and they hold others accountable for theirs. Constructive Feedback : Group members are able to give and receive feedback about group ideas. Giving constructive feedback requires focusing on ideas and behaviours, instead of individuals, being as positive as possible, and offering suggestions for improvement.
Receiving feedback requires listening well, asking for clarification if the comment is unclear, and being open to change and other ideas.
Problem solving : Group members help the group to develop and use strategies central to their group goals. As such, they can facilitate group decision making and deal productively with conflict. In extreme cases, they know when to approach the professor for additional advice and help. Management and organization : Group members know how to plan and manage a task, how to manage their time, and how to run a meeting.
For example, they ensure that meeting goals are set, that an agenda is created and followed, and that everyone has an opportunity to participate. They stay focused on the task and help others to do so too. Knowledge of roles : Group members know which roles can be filled within a group e. As an instructor, use some of these strategies to encourage students to develop an effective process within their small groups: Design the group task so that the students must work together.
Group members will be more motivated and committed to working together if they are given a group mark; if you choose to evaluate in this way, be sure to make your expectations extremely clear.
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Once students are in groups, have them develop, as one of their early assignments, a group contract in which they articulate ground rules and group goals. Be sure that groups discuss how they will respond to various scenarios such as absentee or late group members and those who do not complete their assigned tasks.
Distribute a list of decision-making methods and strategies for conflict resolution. Have each group articulate, based on this list, a set of strategies for decision making and conflict resolution; this list should become part of the group contract. You may also want to offer yourself as an impartial arbitrator in emergency situations, but encourage students to work out problems among themselves.
Provide students with guidelines for running a meeting, such as setting and following an agenda, specifying time limits, and monitoring progress on the agenda. Teach students effective methods for giving and receiving feedback. Create an assignment that involves them giving feedback to group members, and make it part of their final grade. Requiring them to rotate their roles helps them to expand their skills set. Appendix A: encouraging self-awareness and reflection in group work One of the most important things you can do as an instructor is to have students reflect regularly on their group experiences.
How is your attitude towards your group members demonstrated in how you function within the group? How do you demonstrate trust and openness towards the other members and their ideas? Do you give honest opinions? If not, why not?
The Importance of Audience Analysis | Boundless Communications
How much do you feel you can rely on your group members to complete the required task s? How do you make sure that group members feel supported, encouraged, and appreciated for their work? How does the team ensure that all voices are heard? Do you participate willingly in the discussion? Do others appear to understand your ideas?