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Support Your Flexible Thinking in Group Work


Social-Emotional Learning/Growth Mindset 21st Century Skills Universal Design for Learning All Ages Strategy


Flexible Thinking Social Awareness

Support Your Flexible Thinking in Group Work

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
— Maya Angelou

As a team member, it is important to take others' ideas, work styles and perspectives into consideration while still making sure your own ideas are heard and appreciated.

Adapting With Flexible Thinking In Group Work

  1. Consider having each team member take an assigned role, such as facilitator, note taker, time keeper, etc. Defined roles gives everyone a purpose and provides structure that can minimize disagreements.
  2. If appropriate, suggest rotating roles so everyone feels that they had a fair chance.
  3. Use structured brainstorming to share ideas and make big decisions. Seeing all the options lessens the chance of miscommunication and allows you to fully visualize all the choices.
  4. Commit yourself to carefully listening to your team members' ideas and responding with positive and constructive feedback. You don't necessarily need to follow their suggestion, but you should give them the consideration of listening closely. Here are a few good starters you can try:
  5. a) "OK, let's try that...,"
  6. b) "I'm not sure I understand. Can you elaborate..."
  7. c) "Help me see why..."
  8. d) "That's interesting. I hadn't thought of it that way. I had been thinking...
  9. e) "I like what you said about...

What To Keep In Mind

Working in a group often requires different problem solving skills than working alone. Group members might have differing opinions or preferences no matter how explicit the instructions or obvious your own ideas are. Anticipate the end result might not be what you had imagined or what you would have done had you been working alone. However, by working effectively and embracing what each unique individual can offer, you make the sum greater than the parts.