After reflecting on the many great posts in my forum on group work, a recurring thought for me was that many instructors don’t think of group work as an instructional strategy, and don’t provide any kind of framework for students going into this type of assignment. Outside of my communications class where I learned the form/storm/norm/perform model, not once have I had an instructor who talked about group dynamics as part of a group assignment.
Group work is incredibly powerful and has many pros (and many cons as well) but if the strategy is not framed, monitored, and processed, it’s largely an exercise in frustration for everyone involved.
The last piece of Tuckman’s model is Adjourning or Mourning. This is when the group work is over and the team conducts a post-mortem on the experience and talks about what worked and what didn’t. I have participated in sessions like this – largely in the business world after a product launch, etc. – but what was missing was the awareness and briefing on the first four stages. If the processing and analysis of group dynamics occurs all along, it provides far more value than just doing the last stage.