“Self doubt kills talent” Eddie Mcclurg
The class were split up into small groups of 5 to work together for the days activities. The groups were preselected so that at least two Norwegian students were in each group. My group was Eliska, Eva, Mattais, Mattie and myself. I was the only native english speaker so i adjusted my language to speak slower and articulate my words.
The first activity involved carrying our largest team member on a stretcher made out of tarps and sticks over a distance of 500m. The task was set up as a competition to achieve as quickly as possible. It was clear communication would be key to working well as a team. Mattais quickly chopped down some branches with an ax but didn’t tell other group members what he was doing. Eva, Mattie and Eliska also went off to try and find some logs whilst I unfolded the tarp and sorted out the tangled mess of the ropes. When Mattias returned he had one really strong heavy looking log and one weaker one. After more clear concise communication we put everything together and quickly created a stretcher. Mattias laid on it and we carried him for a large distance of 50 metres before the small log broke and he fell on the ground. Later our tarp ripped open and one of the holes the rope was running through broke off. These two incidences as well as lifting the heavy weight of Mattias really took its toll on our group about 300m in. We considered just giving up and walking as it was really hard. We stopped for a break and asked each other how we are feeling. Eva was very positive and encouraging whilst I attempted a couple of jokes. We all switched places around the stretcher to try and use different muscle groups as we all felt exhausted (apart from Mattais of course). We no longer cared about finishing in last place – The aim of the group shifted to just completing the task without hurrying. We took a break with about 100m left to go and the finish was in sight. I felt this gave me extra motivation to keep going as we were so close! All group members we encouraging each other a lot more vocally for this last little bit. when we finally arrived we all gave each other high fives and felt a sense of achievement. Finishing last didn’t matter at all.
The second activity was boiling an egg. Again the competition was stressed and we were told to build a fire as quickly as possible. The Norwegian boys took off running into the forrest whist Eva, Eliska and I collected small sticks and started setting them up to make a fire. It took us some time to realise the Norwegian boys had returned and had also started setting up a fire in a different spot. Because we hadn’t communicated we were all essentially doing our own thing. We picked up everything and took our stick over to theirs and then we tried to get a fire going. In the mad rush to collect wood almost all of it was very wet. Most other groups had gotten their fires going but ours just wouldn’t light! We tried cotton wool in amongst the stick and it still didnt catch. We then got a tampon and separated it out and when it caught fire it burned very quickly catching some of the smaller sticks alight. Again for this task we were close to last place in comparison to the other groups.
From these two experiences I have reflected that I shouldn’t have doubted my abilities. There were many times where I didn’t ask my group members questions as I assumed they had greater knowledge and experience than me. I believe a contributing reason to me feeling like I didn’t want to step up as a leader in the group was because we didn’t know each other at all.
The group tasks that followed involved singing, memorising a large number of items and trying to identify as many words in english of nature starting with different letters of the alphabet. It was during these activities my group started to progress past the forming stage of group development.
If I was to set up team challenges for two classes of students I would have switched the order of the activities around. This would enable group members to get to know each other and progress through the different stages of group development earlier in the day. The nature of how the stretcher task and the boiling egg task was presented was such that someone who is naturally good at autocratic leadership would have excelled.