Multimodal IS a Form of Teamwork

This weeks reflection will be a little disjointed because the first half is about my VARK results, which is about how I personally learn, and the second is about the readings I chose, which are about how groups form. I’m sure there’s a Venn Diagram where they overlap, but I can’t reflect on everything so for all you Visual learners out there, here’s how I think they relate in a single image (made on Creately).

I’m a type one multimodal because I was always taught was that if I couldn’t learn something one way then I was to try another, which is why I use a variety of modes, depending on the situation.

I wasn’t always multimodal; I know this because I was in a special education program at school and whenever we had a substitute teacher they’d have us do a learning style test (they always thought they were the first to try this and we let them believe it because we felt kind of sorry they’d been stuck in the basement with us). Anyway, I was uncoordinated, had no sense of direction, and was quite bookish, so I always ended up Read/Write (R), but somewhere in high school I began to ‘take ownership’ (see what I did there?) of my education and developed the following techniques:

1) Whenever I have to go somewhere new I look at a map and then sketch my route on a piece of paper to help me visualize.Then, a few years ago, I took up running and to calculate how far I’d run I’d memorize my route as I ran it and then draw it on Google maps. As my fitness increased and I ran farther and farther, I developed the ability to visualize myself running on a giant Google map.

2) I’m easily distracted (no kidding, this is what it says on my educational assessment), but when I’m moving it keeps that part of my brain occupied so I’m able to focus better.

Note: I would say that I prefer Kinesthetic because I have trouble grasping abstract concepts and I learn something faster if I can relate it to an experience.

3) Back when school was more about regurgitating facts on tests, I used to study by rewriting my notes as many times as it took to learn the material because it forced me to engage with the material. Also, during a test I could picture my notes as I had written them. If I could identify them on, say, the right hand page of my green notebook, in a numbered list, then sometimes I could reread them in my head.

4) My only aural/auditory (A) technique is to discuss material with others because I’m forced to engage and reflect on it out loud and to consider other’s opinions.

Speaking of discussing material with others, we’ve arrived at what I thought of this week’s two teamwork articles.

When I first started reading ‘The Discipline of Teams’ by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith I thought the opening examples were of leaders and that a correlation was going to be drawn between teams and leadership. Clearly I was already layering my own biases over this article, but I felt justified when I encountered the phrase “Building ownership and commitment to team purpose” (165), which I interpreted as each team member assuming a leadership role by taking personal responsibility for the team’s goal. Katzenbach and Smith wouldn’t agree that a team must be made up of leaders, but in those early, successful examples that’s exactly what I see. It’s also a more positive spin on the ‘Storming’ stage of Rodney C. Vandeveer’s Five Stage Model because this stage is when the team members are sorting out their roles, although Vandeveer seems to see this as a hierarchical fight for the lead position. As you may have guessed I wasn’t impressed with ‘Synergy and Team Cooperation: Understanding the Dynamics of Teams’, but Vandeveer and I got off to a rocky start. I’ve noticed that most of my readings were published in the mid-nineties, but it hasn’t bothered me as we use plenty of current examples of businesses and management styles in class and all of the concepts I’ve encountered are still relevant. However, Vandeveer’s vocabulary uses a lot of buzzwords from late-twentieth century corporate jargon, such as ‘synergy’ and ‘dynamics’ that created the very view of ‘teams’ and ‘teamwork’ that both articles are trying to dispel. I was astonished to discover that ‘Synergy and Team Cooperation’ was published ten years after ‘The Discipline of Teams’.

References

Katzenback, Jon R.; Smith, Douglas K., (1993). The Discipline of Teams. Harvard Business Review. 71 (2), pp.162-171. Discipline Of Teams

Vandeveer, R. C. (2003). Synergy and Team Cooperation: Understanding the Dynamics of Teams. Synergy and Team Cooperation

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