The purpose of the overnight trip was to experience staying out in cold weather conditions and to also introduce each other to games from our home countries. The option was given to sleep under a shelter or tent so the first part of the day involved setting up our sleeping arrangements for the night, as our group opted to build a shelter it became clear the lack of experience that some members of the groups had in an outdoor setting, however, this provided the students with more experience an opportunity to teach and help those with less experience. The differences in levels of experience were evidenced by what members of the group experienced and took from the shelter building, for example those who had built shelters and camped out before were in the play stage of adventure states, which is easy participation in the task, this is compared to the less experienced members of the group experiencing adventure, which is a person pushing their capabilities but still being in control and experiencing enjoyment and excitement during the activity (Mortlock, 1984). Some of the members of the group may have even been in frontier adventure as there may have been a risk of failing if they push to far (Mortlock, 1984), for example if they did not have the correct sleeping bag for the temperatures.
The second part of this trip was for groups from each country to deliver a team building game from their home country. This was a very fun and interesting part of the day as some of the games we played were different which I had never played before, however, many of the games played were similar to ones played in the UK just with different names. The games that were played involved wombats and wallabies, puppet race and rubber chicken rounder’s. All of the games that played with the exception of Simon says achieved at least some aspects of improving teamwork amongst the students. One of the main aspects that was developed through these games was communication, communication is vital when working as part of a team and will also be crucial over the duration of the course, as communication is key to sharing information, sharing ideas, give and receive instructions and also to communicate danger and fear (Squirrel, 1999), which are all key elements that will be of great use over the semester.
Furthermore, these games appeared to increase the social cohesion of the group, this is due to the fact that the tasks were fun and increased communication during and after the activity and also seemed to begin to foster better relationships between group members, group cohesion Is important as it has been linked to greater group performance and task cohesion (Vianen and De Dreu, 2001).
The last task of the trip was to cook a meal in a storm kitchen out of ingredients that had been provided, these ingredients were given out by the group who delivered the best game getting to select the food they wanted to use first. The groups then had to go away and cook a meal for the rest of the class to taste. During the cooking members of the group adopted roles, these could be related to Belbin’s (2011) group roles, for example one member of the group started to collect up all the food and extras that people had brought with them therefore adopting the role of resource manager, furthermore one group member took charge in setting up and lighting the trangia and organising the group seeming to adopt the role of the shaper, and finally amongst others, one member in particular was giving forward ideas of what could be produced out of the food that was provided clearly adopting the role of the plant.
Overall this trip was beneficial in increasing social cohesion and allowing some students to test the kit they had and determine whether they had to change what they had. Further to the this, it was a very fun experience playing all the games from other countries however it was clear that some groups had put in much more effort than others with some groups appearing to have done very little planning.
Belbin, R.M. (2011) ‘Management Teams: Why they succeed or Fail (3rd ed)’, Human Resource Management International Digest, 19(3).
Mortlock, C. (1984) The Adventure Alternative. Cumbria, Uk: Cicerone Press.
Squirrel ‘(1999: p25)’, in Barnes, P (2002). (ed.) Leadership with young people. Dorset: Russell House Publishing, .
Vianen, A.E.M. van and De Dreu, C.K.W. (2001) ‘Personality in teams: Its relationship to social cohesion, task cohesion, and team performance’, European Journal of Work and Organisational Psychology, 10(2), pp. 97–120.