February 7, 2001
Reference: Aspects of Teamwork Observed in a Technological Task in Junior High Schools. (1998). Journal of Technology Education, V9, #2.
Principle: The aim of the study was to gain an understanding of teamwork behavior in pupils' while performing a technological task. The pupils' task was to design and construct a scale model of the hot-air balloon envelope using tissue paper.
Design: The design for this article used was open ended observations used to examine processes taking place in the class with respect to teamwork. Observers were non-participants. The design was a case study, X O.
Population- a total of 172 9th grade students from 7 schools in northern Israel participated in the study. Of these 75 were female and 97 were male. The population was separated into 45 teams with members from 3 to 5 in number. A total of 9 workshops were conducted in the study.
Data was collected using triangulation for observers, method and time and place. A methodical analysis was then done to identify characteristics of each teams work.
Independent Variables: Team functioning was grouped according to the following categories: motivation, team composition, decision-making processes, and leadership, stages of team development in relation to the progress made on the balloon envelope, and group cohesiveness.
Dependent Variables: "A methodical analysis of the information collected by the observers, aiming to identify the characteristics of each team's work in terms of the theoretical model."
Procedures: Observations of the teams were conducted by the researcher as a non-participant observer and the school's tutor and class teachers as participant observers. The researcher, although in the rooms, stayed out of the way to not interfere. Teacher's (16) interacted directly with the students. Tutors (5) interacted with the pupils by way of conducting informal interviews.
Results: An analysis of the data and interviews with the students and teachers indicated that how a group worked together was dependent on the motivations of the students. 4 sources of motivation were revealed:
The intrinsic interest in the subject held for the pupils.
The challenge with which they were presented.
The practical work, leading to an attractive product.
The change in classroom atmosphere, pupil-pupil and pupil teacher relations.
Comments: I found interest in this article in that it looked at many factors of how groups work or do not work together. As a teacher I can use the findings in this study when designing projects requiring grouping of students.