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MOD003325 Academic And Professional Skills

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MOD003325 Academic And Professional Skills

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Course Code: MOD003325
University: Anglia Ruskin University

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Country: United Kingdom

The core learning aims of this assessment are:

Knowledge and understanding of relevant research in order to comprehend and apply theories relating to group work in academic and professional settings.-
Ability to communicate effectively, manage learning resources, work independently and demonstrate practical/professional skills. 

Knowledge and Understanding:
It is therefore important for each group member to prepare well-researched material. Marks will be allocated in terms of:


Communicative, Transferrable and Practical Skills: 
Equally, marks will be awarded for the standard of delivery. It is therefore important for the group to organise their presentation carefully and for each group member to practise their part until they reach a high standard. Marks will be allocated in terms of:

Use of notes
Clarity of message
Discourse features
Academic register

Importance of Group Work

Group Work includes involvement of the student working in collaboration for any assigned tasks in or out of the classroom . The size of any group involved in the group work may vary as it may include two members or may it also involve large group of students in any academic and professional settings .
The importance of group work in professional and academic settings   are as follows :

It increases productivity and performance – The production in a group work is much more in comparison to the production of individuals working on their own .
Development of skills – If an individual is a part of any team , he or she would be able to develop the interpersonal skills and also the team working skills that includes the leadership qualities and motivating others . The inter personal skills includes speaking as well as listening . These skills would help the students to through out their academic career as well as it would be given value by the employers , who would be hiring the students.
Enable to know more about oneself – An individual engaged in a group work would be able to know his or her strengths as well as the weakness . It would also help them to enhance their self-awareness.

It has been observed that the Universities are increasingly assessing students via group tasks. The faculties and the management of the Universities are considering the following facts, which are encouraging them to asses students on the basis of group task:

When the students are engaged in doing academic tasks or assignments in groups, it provides them the opportunity to learn from each other.
The group task provides a wide range of leaning as well as deeper learning outcomes for individual students.
The Universities deem that working in a group would provide students essential skills in many contexts of the work.

Common Group Work Problem 1

The common cause of the language barriers are as follows:

Differences in language – If the individuals involved in the group for the group tasks speak in different languages to communicate, it would result in the language barriers.
Regional accents or dialects – If the individual in the group speaks in their particular accents or dialects, which are different from others, it would be difficult for other members to comprehend and would result in language barrier.
Unclear Speech – If any of the individual in the group has an unclear speech it would be very difficult for others to comprehend and would result in miscommunication leading to language barriers.
Use of Jargons – If any of the individual engaged in the group work uses jargons while communicating it may be difficult for all the other members of the group to understand and as a result would lead to language barriers.

The effects of language barriers in the group task are as follows:

Messages cannot be conveyed – If language barriers persist in a group that are assigned with a particular task, it would difficult to communicate with that individual and proper messages cannot be conveyed.
Affect the outcome of the Group task – If the language barrier persists in a group that would lead to confusion and misunderstandings. This would result in delay of the assigned task to the group members and the output of the task also may be affected leading to undesirable outcome.

Example of the situation of Language barriers in a group:  Manuel is Spanish who has been enrolled in an Australian University. He was assigned to do a group task by the faculty of the University. The other four members of the team are Australian who speaks fluent English. On the other hand, Manuel understands English but he cannot speak English. Because of these, he was not able to share his ideas in the group nor was he to communicate with the other group members of the group.  This resulted in the creation of unsafe place for Manuel as well as the other members of the group assigned with the group task.
Solution to Problem 1

Bruce Tuckman  made research of studying of the teams , it started from the formation of the team to completion of the task and he also identified the important stages involved in the life cycle of the team . Meredith Belbin identified nine team roles that is responsible for the contributing and integrating in a team . Correlating both the theories, Tuckman Belbin theory was conceived. This theory consisted of the following :

Forming – During the formation of the team, the members of the team are getting to know each other and there is lack of mutual trust. In this situation, a team requires a leader for guidance and it is also important to maintain politeness.
Storming – At this stage , the team members suggest various ideas and compete with each other . At this stage it is important to avoid disagreements between the team members.
Norming – Role and the responsibilities of the team members are identified and it also gives the idea to the team leaders about which team members to identify which task they are suited to .
Performing – At this stage the team members identifies the purpose and goals of the tasks and the disagreements are also resolved at this stage.
Adjourning – In this stage new goals and plans are identified after considering the past contribution of the team members.

Leapfrogging in order to perform – In this stage the teams may expand by including more members or the team may break up after the completion of the task assigned to them.
Solutions to the problem of Language Barriers in a team or group complying with the Tuckman Belbin Theory are as follows:
Engage Interpreters -In the forming stage of the team ,that is related to the Tuckman Belbin theory ,  it is important that the team hire or engage a interpreter who can ensure that the no information or instruction is missed due to language barriers .
Use plain language for communication – It is advisable that none of the team members uses jargons to communicate with the team members rather use plain language for communication so that is easily understandable for the other team members during storming , which is one of the aspects of the theory of Tuckman and Belbin .
Use visual methods of communication – To eliminate the language barriers that if faced by any of the team members , it is advisable to use visual methods for communication using pictures or diagrams  to explain complex concepts during storming , which is one of the aspects of the theory of Tuckman and Belbin
By using, the following techniques in order to overcome problems associated with the problems associated with problem of language barriers in a group. The likelihood of success for the implementation of the solution is very high.
Common Work Problem 2

Problem: Many companies especially the multinationals operate number of branches in several number of countries. This pattern of modern day business gives rise to a diverse workforce. Hence, different cultures co-exist at the workplace leading to cultural issues such as “Accommodation of Beliefs”.
Common Causes: There can be ample number of causes such as ‘Diversity’ in political, cultural, and spiritual beliefs.
Effects: It affects the overall productivity of the team by generating a communication gap between two or more people. This will affect the knowledge sharing between the team members, which is critical to the success of the project.
(Yi et al. 2015)
Examples: People from different religious backgrounds aggressively propagating their religion is a kind of example.
Solution to Problem 2

Solution: Employees need to keep their work independent of any ethnic and personal belief.
Theory: Tuckman and Belbin Theory of Team Roles
At the forming stage, team members need to be called on for a meeting. Issues will be heard of and be addressed with effective touch points.
With regard to Belbin, team members must be communicated the harms of communication gap, which is there due to accommodation of beliefs in the team.
The next stage of Tuckman is storming. At this stage, disagreements and clashes will be tried to be resolved.
In terms of Belbin, the communicator possibly the HR manager at this point in time need to come up with new ideas to generate new thought process into team members. 
In the norming stage, there will be agreements over roles and responsibilities that are expected of employees
With respect to Belbin, each one of team members need to be clarified on what they would do from now onwards.
The last stage is performing where the team has understood that they have one work, which is to perform.  
From Belbin, the team needs to learn further skills in order to be highly productive.
(Dong et al. 2017)
Likelihood of success
Should possibly work 
Examples: Suppose, a party is being arranged to acknowledge the performance of the team that notched the top place. The party has all non-veg items; however, one or few of the team members are against the food as their religion discourage them to have the non-veg food.

Therefore, group work, which are essentials to organizations these days can be hardly impacted from ‘language barrier’ and ‘cultural differences’. It needs to be dealt with an effective supervision of managers as supervisors, line managers and top managers. Potential benefits include increased efficiency, mutual support, and a group of solution for one problem. Group work will relatively become less prevalent because consensus is now given the importance in the team formation, and also personal growth and development is encouraged. I did learn a lot from my academics. My tutors are immensely guiding towards what to avoid and to do. 

Dobao, A.F., 2014. Vocabulary learning in collaborative tasks: A comparison of pair and small group work. Language Teaching Research, 18(4), pp.497-520.
Dong, Y., Bartol, K.M., Zhang, Z.X. and Li, C., 2017. Enhancing employee creativity via individual skill development and team knowledge sharing: Influences of dual?focused transformational leadership. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 38(3), pp.439-458.
Madera, J.M., Dawson, M. and Neal, J.A., 2014. Managing language barriers in the workplace: The roles of job demands and resources on turnover intentions. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 42, pp.117-125.
Yi, X., Ribbens, B., Fu, L. and Cheng, W., 2015. Variation in career and workplace attitudes by generation, gender, and culture differences in career perceptions in the United States and China. Employee Relations, 37(1), pp.66-82.

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