In the beginning of this class, I was apprehensive about taking a Small Group Communication class. This was only because I have had a history of not enjoying group work. Now, this wasn’t because I’ve had a whole bunch of bad group experiences since attending SPSU/KSU. In fact, it has been quite the opposite. (Check out this blog for the whole backstory.) I have had pretty good experiences when working with groups at SPSU/KSU. But, this still did not stop me from cringing when assigned a group project.
However, after exploring the concepts presented in this class, I feel that I have come to a deeper understanding of the beauty of group work. Exploring the concepts in this class has made me become less apprehensive about working in groups and more respectful of the power that groups truly do have. This is because my understanding of small group communication was built upon the framework of systems thinking, which actually suited my analytically-natured brain quite well.
I think that building upon the foundation of systems thinking allowed me to see small group communication as a unified whole that encompasses many components working together to achieve goals. I see small group communication and group work as sort of like an organism now. Each part needs to be doing its job and everything needs to be working cohesively and harmoniously in order to achieve the maximum benefits. When one area is slacking, it makes it hard for every other area to truly play its part to its maximum potential. Being an effective communicator allows people to accomplish great things, which I elaborate on in this blog.
Exploring the concepts of small group communication has made me realize that my life was already filled with examples of small group communication in action, I had just not yet trained myself to see them. There are two powerful examples that I talk about in The Real Scoop on Meetings, Who’s Really in Control Here?,
and Job = Group Work for Money. These blogs helped me realize that I have been analyzing small group communication all along, I just hadn’t been directly cognizant of it.
My personal favorite blog post about small group communication to write was Let’s Get Creative! because it’s all about something super fun and worthwhile – creativity! I think that this aspect of communication is often overlooked by people in our culture due to our fast-paced society and people not having enough time to get back to their creative roots. I have certainly been guilty of this in my life recently, so I really enjoyed being able to sit down and dedicate some time to the pursuit of creative passion.
I think that my understanding of small group communication and group work has definitely evolved over the course of this past semester. I have been able to understand the true complexity and beauty of groups, and I have even seen this played out in my group projects this semester, which you can check out here. Overall, exploring small group communication has been an eye opening experience that I know I will remember in my future.