It is likely that you will be asked to write an individual reflection alongside participating in groupwork. This is an important part of the process because it requires you to revisit and assess how well you engaged in the work, what you learned from it and how you can apply this in the future. Reflection should always be tied to specific points, it’s no use saying ‘I learned how to communicate better’ with no evidence. This simple STAR model offers a 4 step guide for reflection.
|Situation: give a concise but specific overview of a situation you encountered
|The group was trying to decide how to tackle the assignment. I had been voted as Chair, so I needed to moderate the session and make sure we created an action plan everyone would be committed to
|Task: what task did this situation create?
|e.g. we decided on a case study but everyone had different ideas about what theory to apply. Emma was very quiet and her body language suggested she was uncomfortable. Nilanjana and Faiz tried to voice their ideas but Nick was very dominating in his suggestions and disagreed with anyone who offered alternatives.
|Action: what did you do?
Because Nick was dominating I suggested we try a different technique. We all used sticky notes to write down our preferred approach and stuck them on the board. Then we each wrote one reason why that approach would be good, and one criticism of it. After this, we discussed each idea along with its pros and cons. Everyone ranked each idea out of a score of 5, and we added these together to identify the most popular approach.
|Result: how did your actions change things and what can you learn from this?
e.g. Although it was hard to intervene everyone responded well to my suggestion to turn the debate to an activity. Changing the communication from verbal to written disrupted Nick’s domination and allowed everyone to contribute. In the end Emma’s idea was identified as the best. Although I dealt with the situation positively in hindsight I think it would have been better to discuss as a group how we would make complicated decisions rather than impose a method on them.
Remembering specific examples can be difficult at the end of the project, so it is useful to make notes as things happen if you think they may be good examples to incorporate into a final reflection. For more information about reflective writing, check out the StudyHub resources, but there are also some specific things you should bear in mind in the context of groupwork. Look at this list of questions and think through which are helpful for you to use in your reflection.