Higher Education From A Team Perspective

Reading Time: 4 minutes
From Cogswell Polytechnical College in San Jose, California, Dr. Deborah Snyder and John Duhring, authors of a new higher education series in advance of their upcoming book, tentatively titled “Old School, New School, No School,” provide a new perspective on what higher education means and how it can be more effectively experienced across the globe.

College

Higher Education From A Team Perspective

By Deborah Snyder, PhD and John Duhring, Cogswell Polytechnical College, San Jose, California

Higher education is a process, not a place. It is a mechanism for students of all ages to accomplish their goals. It requires skills for seeing and reading observationally, for gathering and structuring data and other inputs, and for making sense of things as part of a group or individually. Applying these skills properly enables students to commit wholeheartedly to plans of action and to experience positive results.

Coming out of the world of high school and family, the first time through the process takes time. Students grow into it with proper guidance within appropriate situations. Once they have moved into their careers, students again invoke and refine their higher education skills in order to adapt to a world as it changes around them. For many, it will become a fundamental part of who they are. Through their personal higher education mechanisms, they become more resilient, more likely to adapt to change and to engender the support of others.

College, then, is an incubation period. The skills needed for higher education must be put in place and practiced. These are not mere concepts. They have to be experienced and implemented to take root and grow. A safe environment for individual exploration must be provided. Mixing freely with peers and mentors, students find their footing as they give voice to their own unique perspectives. College is a time to refine purpose through experimentation, finding the intersection of personal gifts, individual preferences and what is needed in the world.

Purpose_for_kids

For students, this is a big challenge. Higher education does not kick in unless the student calls upon it. They must have an interest, a desire, a goal, to get it started. Welcoming new students to higher education in a disarming way, colleges have succeeded in surfacing more talent around the world than ever before. This is just the first step.

Memorizing Facts And Knowledge Just Isn’t As Valuable Anymore

Technology has connected the globe and made the universe of knowledge available to any student at any time in any place. Increasingly, the ones who know things are not as valuable as the ones who know how to find things and to gain the support of others to do things together. With devices for finding information and communicating in our pockets, higher education can be put into practice instantly in more situations, to have a greater impact than ever before.

When a student explores a passion, interest or goal in a college environment, they quite naturally associate with those they meet along the way. In these interactions, the student is challenged to find and develop their voice, to engage in meaningful dialog, critique and shared journeys. Ideally, they should feel safe to speak of their trials and their personal issues as well as what is in front of them in class. It is one of the gifts of college life to enable students to struggle together, to turn to each other as colleagues and peers.

Through the struggles that naturally occur, doors open to new opportunities. It is rare for a student from high school to have a clear idea of what they will become or what opportunities lie ahead. The mixing and associations students experience in college often end up being the most valuable aspects of that period in their lives. This is the “hidden curriculum” that makes colleges elite.

Recent findings from Google’s Aristotle Project point to the importance of teams in the workplace. An article about the project appeared in the New York Times. The article reveals that measuring work performance is not so much about measuring individuals as it is about measuring teams.  The author, Charles Duhigg, says, “Many of today’s most valuable firms have come to realize that analyzing and improving individual workers ­— a practice known as ‘‘employee performance optimization’’ — isn’t enough.”

The Google project was designed to identify what makes great teams, even those that consist of less than top-performing individuals. The surprising outcome, that a team whose members feel safe to speak freely fares better than those whose members hold back, can serve to re-frame the perspective most college administrators have about their institutions role in the future. One only has to be impressed by the growth of college sports to recognize how natural it is for colleges to embrace team learning.

The shift of focus towards making teams successful in the work world can be replicated within educational institutions. Students have to learn what it means to play a role, to bring new team members up to speed, to attend to what is needed to complete team projects. The Aristotle project spotlights a hallmark of college life as being of central importance to the functioning of successful teams: team members feel psychologically safe to be open with each other. The path to a new curriculum that provides time to develop the voice of each student could start by bringing “show and tell” back to the classroom.

Preparing students for the world as professionals no longer consists of specialists doing only what they were trained to do. Duhigg writes, “A worker today might start the morning by collaborating with a team of engineers, then send emails to colleagues marketing a new brand, then jump on a conference call planning an entirely new line of business while also juggling team meetings with accounting and the party-planning committee”.

College administrators and faculty can look to industry to appreciate what needs to be done. No longer does a degree within a discipline define a career path. Working across disciplines requires a set of skills many of today’s colleges are not designed to develop. Shifting from grading individuals to evaluating teams will uproot everything from entrance exams to MOOCs. Yet, if team success is what matters most, then students must learn to make themselves essential while at school.

We are in the early days of a major shift. Students want guidance. They need skills. They have amazing technical resources at their fingertips. Most of all, they must be prepared to function effectively on their own once they have left their school days behind. By turning to each other, by working on teams with the resources at their disposal, they can commit themselves to making their own futures, of finding their own paths.

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

From Cogswell Polytechnical College in San Jose, California, Dr. Deborah Snyder and John Duhring, authors of a new higher education series in advance of their upcoming book, tentatively titled “Old School, New School, No School,” provide a new perspective on what higher education means and how it can be more effectively experienced across the globe.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

From Cogswell Polytechnical College in San Jose, California, Dr. Deborah Snyder and John Duhring, authors of a new higher education series in advance of their upcoming book, tentatively titled “Old School, New School, No School,” provide a new perspective on what higher education means and how it can be more effectively experienced across the globe.

College

Higher Education From A Team Perspective

By Deborah Snyder, PhD and John Duhring, Cogswell Polytechnical College, San Jose, California

Higher education is a process, not a place. It is a mechanism for students of all ages to accomplish their goals. It requires skills for seeing and reading observationally, for gathering and structuring data and other inputs, and for making sense of things as part of a group or individually. Applying these skills properly enables students to commit wholeheartedly to plans of action and to experience positive results.

Coming out of the world of high school and family, the first time through the process takes time. Students grow into it with proper guidance within appropriate situations. Once they have moved into their careers, students again invoke and refine their higher education skills in order to adapt to a world as it changes around them. For many, it will become a fundamental part of who they are. Through their personal higher education mechanisms, they become more resilient, more likely to adapt to change and to engender the support of others.

College, then, is an incubation period. The skills needed for higher education must be put in place and practiced. These are not mere concepts. They have to be experienced and implemented to take root and grow. A safe environment for individual exploration must be provided. Mixing freely with peers and mentors, students find their footing as they give voice to their own unique perspectives. College is a time to refine purpose through experimentation, finding the intersection of personal gifts, individual preferences and what is needed in the world.

Purpose_for_kids

For students, this is a big challenge. Higher education does not kick in unless the student calls upon it. They must have an interest, a desire, a goal, to get it started. Welcoming new students to higher education in a disarming way, colleges have succeeded in surfacing more talent around the world than ever before. This is just the first step.

Memorizing Facts And Knowledge Just Isn’t As Valuable Anymore

Technology has connected the globe and made the universe of knowledge available to any student at any time in any place. Increasingly, the ones who know things are not as valuable as the ones who know how to find things and to gain the support of others to do things together. With devices for finding information and communicating in our pockets, higher education can be put into practice instantly in more situations, to have a greater impact than ever before.

When a student explores a passion, interest or goal in a college environment, they quite naturally associate with those they meet along the way. In these interactions, the student is challenged to find and develop their voice, to engage in meaningful dialog, critique and shared journeys. Ideally, they should feel safe to speak of their trials and their personal issues as well as what is in front of them in class. It is one of the gifts of college life to enable students to struggle together, to turn to each other as colleagues and peers.

Through the struggles that naturally occur, doors open to new opportunities. It is rare for a student from high school to have a clear idea of what they will become or what opportunities lie ahead. The mixing and associations students experience in college often end up being the most valuable aspects of that period in their lives. This is the “hidden curriculum” that makes colleges elite.

Recent findings from Google’s Aristotle Project point to the importance of teams in the workplace. An article about the project appeared in the New York Times. The article reveals that measuring work performance is not so much about measuring individuals as it is about measuring teams.  The author, Charles Duhigg, says, “Many of today’s most valuable firms have come to realize that analyzing and improving individual workers ­— a practice known as ‘‘employee performance optimization’’ — isn’t enough.”

The Google project was designed to identify what makes great teams, even those that consist of less than top-performing individuals. The surprising outcome, that a team whose members feel safe to speak freely fares better than those whose members hold back, can serve to re-frame the perspective most college administrators have about their institutions role in the future. One only has to be impressed by the growth of college sports to recognize how natural it is for colleges to embrace team learning.

The shift of focus towards making teams successful in the work world can be replicated within educational institutions. Students have to learn what it means to play a role, to bring new team members up to speed, to attend to what is needed to complete team projects. The Aristotle project spotlights a hallmark of college life as being of central importance to the functioning of successful teams: team members feel psychologically safe to be open with each other. The path to a new curriculum that provides time to develop the voice of each student could start by bringing “show and tell” back to the classroom.

Preparing students for the world as professionals no longer consists of specialists doing only what they were trained to do. Duhigg writes, “A worker today might start the morning by collaborating with a team of engineers, then send emails to colleagues marketing a new brand, then jump on a conference call planning an entirely new line of business while also juggling team meetings with accounting and the party-planning committee”.

College administrators and faculty can look to industry to appreciate what needs to be done. No longer does a degree within a discipline define a career path. Working across disciplines requires a set of skills many of today’s colleges are not designed to develop. Shifting from grading individuals to evaluating teams will uproot everything from entrance exams to MOOCs. Yet, if team success is what matters most, then students must learn to make themselves essential while at school.

We are in the early days of a major shift. Students want guidance. They need skills. They have amazing technical resources at their fingertips. Most of all, they must be prepared to function effectively on their own once they have left their school days behind. By turning to each other, by working on teams with the resources at their disposal, they can commit themselves to making their own futures, of finding their own paths.

Prior segments in order listed below:
Do you like this post?
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  • Happy
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