Ground Rules Essay

Ground Rules1.

Meetings: Team members Jibril, Tina, Dana, Ceceil and Terence agree to meet in person at the Tim Horton Coffee Shop and Southfield Library, and to keep in touch via email between meetings.2. Meeting days and times, and exceptions: Team members agree to meet in person on Thursdays at 6:00 pm at Tim Horton Coffee Shop and Sunday at 1:00 pm at the Southfield Library.  In addition, we agree to regularly provide updates on work progress via email throughout the week.

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 In the event of closure of these locations, members will agree on another meeting place.  Members are expected to provide advance notice of non-attendance and send their contributions via another member.3. Expectations for team participation: All team members are expected to attend team meetings and participate constructively by speaking their opinions on all topics discussed using positive language.

  At the end of meetings, time will be allotted for team to provide constructive feedback about perceived member contributions and to collectively sign the Learning Team Log.4. Expectations for meeting attendance: Team members are expected to arrive on time to all meetings and stay the duration.  Members also agree to check their email daily for updates.  We honor emergencies and special circumstances that may interfere with compliance with this expectation, but expect that proper communication precede or immediately follow such episodes.5. Division of power: Team members agree to consense on relevant roles such as team leader, presenter, and editor, and to exchange roles on a rotating basis so that no one member bears more responsibility.

  All deliverables are expected to be completed several days before deadline to allow for all team members to provide proper feedback and approve final submission.6. Addressing absences: In the event of a team member’s planned absence, member agrees to delegate a replacement to fulfill his or her role and do all necessary work to make a smooth transition including but not limited to taping contribution, creating written content, or other meaningful work.  In the event of an unplanned absence, remaining team agrees to negotiate with teacher for an early or late presentation.7. Behavior guidelines:Student Code of Conduct: In order to ensure compliance with the student code of  conduct, team agrees to review code together.

  All team members are expected to speak up if they notice individual or team breaches of this conduct and to take any further action if breach seems deliberate.b. Academic Honesty: Team agrees to collectively review Standards of Academic honesty and commit to pointing out possible plagiarism in a non-accusatory way.  Editor is charged with specifically reviewing all deliverables for possible plagiarism, but will not be exclusively held accountable for any mistakes.c. Interruptions: Team members agree to practice proactive listening and will be encouraged to take notes if questions arise.

  All team members will be systematically given the floor to speak and will be able to ask their questions or make their point during their time to speak.  In addition, team members agree to turn off all cell phones and PDAs during meetings.d.

Language: Team agrees to use considerate, non-threatening language and tone during all conversations and correspondence.  Disagreements are to be monitored and directed by a third team member.  Perceptions of team member’s failure to deliver their obligations will be addressed at the end of all in person meetings, and are not to be discussed outside of member’s presence or over email.

e. Names:   Team members will address each other by their first names or preferred nickname.f. Time: Team leader will establish a meeting agenda for each meeting that allows time for each team member to speak equally.  Speakers may yield some of their own time to someone else. Meeting will be closed with one minute for each member to praise or raise issues with other member’s participation, followed by a short discussion/resolution session.

g. Listening: Members agree to take notes during other speaker’s time and use their own time to ask questions or provide input.  When speaking in relation to what someone else said, team members agree to summarize their understanding of what was said before stating their own input to aid in clarity and avoid misunderstanding.h. Voice and Visibility: Because of the format of the meetings,  we understand that if members speak during their time and give and receive feedback at the end of the meetings, they can be assured to be seen and heard.   Minutes from each meeting taken by a delegated member will assure that disputes can be verified and cleared.i.

Power: Rotating team roles with each assignment and consensing on the deliverables, as well as built in time for feedback at meetings allows for power to be shared, and checks power plays.j. Differences: Team agrees to respect all opinions and listen without interruption to all ideas and beliefs.

  Opinions are expected to be expressed in non-accusatory language, with an emphasis on their own feelings rather than on the beliefs and actions of others.  For example, “I believe that God exists,” rather than “your problem is that you don’t believe in God”k. Interests: Team members are expected to communicate strengths and weaknesses with regard to assignments, and to ask for help if they don’t understand the assignment.  Emails requesting help or clarification are expected to be answered within one day.  If members are taking on a role they don’t feel confident in, those who are comfortable with the role are expected to offer guidance or share duties if necessary.  The team understands that everyone has a right to learn a new role and should be allowed the chance to do so.l.

Brainstorm: The team agrees that brainstorming will begin with an open session where everyone expresses their ideas.  Once all ideas have been collected, the team must consense to move on to the narrowing down stage, where good ideas are identified and further brainstorming takes place.  Team members agree that once ideas are put on paper they are no longer their own and everyone has an equal right to add to or modify these ideas, and the finished results are considered the team ideas.m. Critical Analysis: Brainstorming ideas will be subjected to the 7 universal intellectual standards as articulated by Elder and Paul at

shtml.  These standards require all work be considered for clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, and logic.n. Breaks: Team agrees to take a five minute break for every half hour of working time.  If a team member needs to take additional breaks, they agree that the team may go on without them if not all team members agree to the additional break.  The member who has taken the additional break is responsible for asking necessary questions to understand what was missed.

o. Questions: Team members consent to both ask and respond to questions in a respectful manner.  This behavior includes asking questions at natural breaks in speaking or waiting until a speaker has finished their point, and answering questions with the understanding that the only stupid question is the one that is not asked.p. Non-verbal behavior: The team understands that communication is rarely strictly verbal, and encourages the use of gestures of agreement such as smiling and nodding.  The team agrees to refrain from non verbal negative behaviors such as eye rolling and snickering, opting to instead voice their disagreements and frustrations at the end of the meeting.q. Tone-of-voice: Team members understand that everyone on the team is equal and agrees to use polite, business casual language with an even and considerate tone.

r. Focus: The team delegates to the team leader the responsibility of keeping the team on task.  The leader will be expected to move meetings through the agenda in a timely fashion, check on individuals to assess progress during the week and ask the group to collectively delegate individuals to help each other complete tasks if necessary.

  If a member realizes that the leader has lost track of time they may raise their hand and politely remind the team to stay on track and be mindful of the time.  The leader may delegate “clock watching” duties to another if it is difficult to both lead the meeting and keep track of the time.8.

Confidentiality Guidelines: The team understands that working in close proximity may raise information of a personal nature.  The team agrees to keep all personal information relating to group members’ health, family situation, and background strictly confidential.  It is understood that deliberate breaches of the code of conduct or honor code are not confidential, and will be shared with the appropriate authorities, but not necessarily with the entire class.  Team members agree to immediately remind each other of the confidentiality of the team if they notice a member being indiscreet about personal matters.9. Changes to Ground Rules: Team members agree that if an unforeseen event arises that puts part of the ground rules in question, they have a right to motion to alter the ground rules to address the new development.  If a member wishes to change the document they must email or meet with the group to detail the nature of the change.

All members must consent to the changes in order for them to take effect. In the case of significant changes that have been approved, the member then becomes the task leader delegating responsibility to find appropriate solutions or rewrite the rules where necessary.10. Additional guidelines: In addition to the above mentioned guidelines the team understands that their purpose is to help each other succeed in this course.  We commit to seeking to understand everyone’s strength and encouraging each other to personally grow.11.

Conclusions: The team concludes from this activity that being a team requires each member to strive for their best behavior.  All meetings are structured and order and productivity depend on adherence to this structure.  In addition we understand that just as it took input from all members to create a workable team, so too will it take the whole team to create successful deliverables.


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