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Teamwork: effectively teaching an employability skill

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to present a case study on improvements to professional teaching practice within an undergraduate university business programme to more effectively teach an employability skill and enhance the student experience of teamwork. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A three-phase approach to teaching teamwork was introduced. Tuckman's model of team development was explicitly taught and used as the conceptual framework for the student teamwork process. Assessments were constructively aligned to address team skills and engage students in team processes. A questionnaire was developed to guide team member expectations of teamwork. Two online surveys tracked the development of student team skills and were used in feedback loops for student learners and facilitators. The use of reflective weblogs provided insights to student perspectives. Findings ‐ Student engagement in teamwork was aided by the use of team surveys to assist students to explicitly make connections with the generic skills underpinning effective teamwork and a questionnaire to establish team norms. The teaching strategies employed developed a greater level of awareness in students, contributing to the development of their team skills. Practical implications ‐ The student experience of working in teams can be enhanced by providing a clear, conceptual framework for developing team skills. The teaching practices implemented can be replicated and address student perceptions of working in teams in order to effect positive change and develop transferable team skills. Originality/value ‐ The case study highlights the applicability of explicitly teaching team skills to positively enhance the student experience in a unique generic skills programme.
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Keywords: Assessment; Higher education; Skills; Team working

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-08-17

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