No time to sit down today. We were asked to move chairs and tables to the side of the room and then split into two groups. We were given stacks of paper and a roll of tape per group, as well as a stapler which we had to share. Next, Sandra told us that we would have twenty minutes to build the tallest free standing structure that we could.
Ready? Steady? Go!
First things first, we asked who had done this (or a similar activity) before. A couple of people had – myself included – and we suggested that the easiest method might be to make 3 long tubes of paper and connect them like a tripod for support. We began rolling paper and sticking them together. Without much discussion it became apparent which jobs needed doing and the percentages of people required per job. Everyone seemed to quite naturally fall into a task.
As the minutes drained away I found myself checking the competitions efforts much more regularly. I also noticed that both groups seemed to be speeding up and building the towers in some sort of frenzy. In the end we managed to pinch the victory by an inch by lifting one of the ceiling tiles and popping our tower through the gap it made.
All in all this was a good activity, and much more appealing than the idea of dance or role play. It was fun, got us talking and thinking and was also a great introduction to the days topic, group dynamics!
Group dynamics is a bunch of behaviours, actions and ides that occur WITHIN groups (intra-group dynamics) or BETWEEN social groups (inter-group dynamics). There has been much research conducted into group dynamics, specifically the vary stages of development. Bruce Tuckman believes that team building to be essential to successful group dynamics and has developed the following model of Group Development stages.
There is a 5 stage not listed here, and that is ADJOURNING (Don’t ya just LOVE those snappy titles!). As the name hints at, this stage is concerned with group dissolution. A very important stage no doubt, but a bridge I shall cross when I come to it, and that won’t be for a while yet it seems.
After going over these stages of group dynamics in our lecture, and then reflecting on the previous weeks meetings with our mentees, it was hard not to see (or possibly imagine) some comparisons between the theory and the reality. It has certainly given me a lot to think on for the future, specifically in regards to what our aims truly are as mentors and those of our mentees.