The third Monday spent with the Norwegian students was based upon navigation, compass and map work. The students were again split into groups at the beginning of the day with a mix of both Norwegian and international students.
The first activity of the day was a simple orienteering challenge to find markers around Jegersberg, at which were symbols off a map, these then had to be identified, written down and carried back to the start point. Once back at the begging the map markers corresponded to letters if identified correctly, the group was then tasked to make as many words as possible in 2 minutes and the group with the most won a prize.
This was a good task to increase the amount of communication between group members, however as the majority of the students present had a least some knowledge of how to navigate the course set out was a bit simple. The creating of groups containing both Norwegian students and international students however increased the complexity of identifying the map symbols left at the points, as the language barrier and different names and descriptions for symbols, on some occasions made it difficult to correctly identify the symbols. This difficulty is highlighted by Mason (2005), as in her paper she outlines the difficulties that can arise from the trying to communicate about a subject without using the correct terminology, as this can limit a participant of the conversations understanding of what is being discussed. However as the day progressed and more of an understanding was developed about differing terms for the map symbols, the communication that was taking place was helping the team members to, as Squirrel (1999) stated, find out things, share information, share ideas and to give and receive instructions.
Through the day we then played 4 other games, the winners of the games were also awarded a prize. The games included team 4 in a row, a compass pint game, throwing rocks at a target and identifying map symbols. These games made the team members work together which further increased the level of communication that was taking place between the group members.
Throughout the day the various stages of group development could be witnessed, for example during the orienteering task storming could be witnessed as various members of the group were vying for the map and to be leading the way to the markers. However as the orienteering progressed the group settled into a system of who should lead, therefore appearing to slip into the performing stage of group development. Although this was the case for the orienteering activity, when the situation changed, for example when moving on to another task, and a member of the group felt that they were best suited to lead on the task, the group would move back into the storming phase of group development. This seemed to be the pattern that happened over the course of the day. I would argue that the group never had chance to move into the norming stage of group development as the group was not formed long enough for them to establish norms of behaviour (Tuckman, 1977).
The activities we participated in were very helpful in identifying and getting to know the different map symbols that are used in Norway which will be very helpful when navigating around the country. Also this day was helpful as it allowed for the observation of group dynamics in the field.
Mason, E. (2005) ‘Ever seen this?- Course aim: “ Teamwork and Communication”’, Horizons, 31, pp. 6–9.
Squirrel (1999) in Barnes, P. (ed.) Leadership with young people. Dorset: Russell House Publishing, p. 25.
Tuckman, B.W. and Jensen, M.A.C. (1977) ‘Stages of Small-Group Development Revisted’, Group and Organization Management, .