Posted by: MandyS | May 19, 2014

Team working; an opportunity to reflect…

One of the greatest challenges of working in a team at a distance is working as a team at a distance. In my time as a lawyer, I have led and I have followed and have no preference for either role. Where there is a job to be done, I see it as being achieved as effectively and efficiently as possible with the least amount of aggravation, by identifying team strengths, harnessing them accordingly, and being attentive to team weaknesses; the source of most issues. The visions provide a glimpse of the team’s makeup and where the issues might lie.

1. Your contribution to the group effort of articulating the context.

No, I did not put myself forward for a role. Why? quite simple, why should I? I am still a team player and I can still contribute and I don’t need a title to do so. I have contributed, particularly in relation to achieving some sort of context. One thing I am not afraid to do is say what I think. Bullish may be but if it needs saying, say it! As a lawyer, one doesn’t win medals by being diplomatic. That does not mean that I have no respect for another’s views; I have the greatest respect and I learn most from what others say and do. If someone says I am wrong then that is fine; life is a learning curve and nobody is perfect. But being told I am wrong is a challenge; why am I wrong? what can I do to demonstrate I may be right? Perhaps it is to do with my training in having to look at an argument from all possible sides or perhaps it is just the way I am (or maybe both) but I never accept anything at face value.

So we have the challenge of determing the context. We can’t have a conference because children wouldn’t attend, the design would have to be didactic and it simply does not fit with what the team want to do to educate carers. OK so maybe a conference is not the right forum, but what is? Interestingly, a recent article in the Telegraph identifies a lack of training in relation to end of life care. What better hook for our learning design! And how does one reach the maximum number of people concerned with the care of the dying e.g. doctors, nurses, carers, chaplains, support workers, policy makers, policy implementers than a multi-agency conference/workshop. How can we get each of these practitioners to consider the views of others; tell each other their own experiences and consdier the experiences of those who are directly affected. Why can’t children attend this? students with disabilities attended the OU conference to ellicit their experiences. Why does the design have to be didactic? why not use technology to get the practitioners involved in telling their stories? I agree that the concept of a carer can be broadly interpreted but even then it still does not encompass policy makers and implementers who have just as much an important role here, so why do we just want to educate carers? I would like to think that I have been able to sow food for thought here; even if it is ultimately ignored.

2. What you found challenging in this process.

Working in or as a team is not a challenge but I do sense that my observations are viewed as more obstinate than a means of provoking curiosity about what can be achieved here. I question everything and if instructions are not precise and clear I will seek clarification. The issue is that the clarification is not necessarily from the right avenue and, as a result, not clear! In some respect, it may be that we are all approaching the task from different angles, which may be because we see different parts of the task as more important than others. Even without a defined context, I have enjoyed creating personas and reading the creations of others – what vivid imaginations we all have. More difficult has been distilling factors and concerns into forces i.e. tensions between the personas which may influence the ultimate design. But I can see why this is part of the process as once the challenge is identified, the learning outcomes can be established i.e. what is it that we hope our personas to be able to do once they have undertaken the learning using our design. for me, the design is key; the fact it is assessed for a TMA should be of no consequence.

3. What you have learned from it.

I have learned that there is much intolerance in the world; for some, there is a right and a wrong way to do things and if it is not the way it is normally done then it is not right! Practice may differ from profession to profession but of fundamental importance is that we can each learn from one another if we each start from the precept that it is our contributions which are the most valuable, not who is right. The design is about the design and what it is seeking to achieve, rather than it being about the TMA.


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