Patch Nine: Group Up

Working Effectively in Groups

By Twinkle Paul, Cambrian College

Nobody can exist in the world alone because we are social beings. As a student, I understand the concept of a group work, and how group activities influence a learner. From my childhood days to the end of high school, frankly, I disliked group activities and had no interest in such activities. I thought that group activities were only for brilliant students, and I had no role to play, either active or passive, when it came to working in groups. I also felt that the group leader would dominate me, since they control and coordinate group activities and would leave me without a role or voice.

I studied health sciences for my post-secondary education. Through this experience, I gained a huge amount of exposure to group work and this changed me a lot. I’m not an active member in any group I join. During my clinical internship, I experienced many different types of group dynamics. I realized that we can learn many things from a group, and this knowledge can become a leading light in our lives.

Effective communication is very important when working in groups. A lack of communication will impact the overall productivity and cohesiveness of the group. For example, two years prior to my clinical internship I was assigned to work in a group. My supervisor was told that a patient needed to be cared for by a team of health care workers, since the patient’s condition was so poor. The main physician asked for referrals from other health departments, and as a member of the group I had to carry out many orders from many different physicians in a limited period of time. I felt confused and lost my confidence, but my group members had more experience than me and guided me through the process, helping me by providing instructions and advice as I completed the many tasks.

We communicated well together, and this helped us to complete the tasks quickly and correctly. In contrast to this, some of our other team members working on a different shift had trouble communicating with each other, skipped duties and ended up getting into trouble.  Always keep in mind that effective communication will increase the productivity of group and we can get better at time management by working in groups.

Sharing our experience with others is the best way to study almost everything in the world. If we try to share our experiences and emotions within a group, it will help us contribute to a world of knowledge. When I think about the power of sharing, I remember the daily group meetings that my team would conduct prior to starting our shifts. We’d all share our work experience with each other, no matter if we were students, senior staff, or supervisors. This open sharing helped me grow a lot, because we utilized these meetings to clarify doubts, solicit feedback and explore options to help us improve our performance. This helped me to attain problem solving skills. The practical knowledge I gained from this group sharing was an important addition to the theoretical knowledge I found in my textbooks.

Performing a task with the help of a group will give you a sense of wellbeing and team spirit. When I reflect on my past, I miss the team support I had in my old program. I’ve started to study in the Personal Support Worker program at a new college. In the first few weeks of the semester I felt lonely. I know that it will take some time to mingle with the other students in my program, but now that I understand the value of team support, I will make an effort to work with my peers.

I understand the values of team support. Team support and team spirit are the two sides of a coin. If we are in good terms with our group members, then we can perform well in group, even when completing complex tasks.

To conclude, effective communication, sharing behavior and team work are the three pillars of group work. By attaining these skills as a learner, we can increase our confidence level and can become more responsible. So, always try to be a part of a group in order to further develop your learning abilities.

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