Global Schoolhouse Home Home Base: Harnessing the Power of the WebIntro to NetPBL: Collaborative Project-Based LearningBuilding Collaborative Student Web ProjectsGuide to Conducting Research on the InternetLibrary of References, Readings and ResourcesTable of Contents
Building a
Web Project
Building teams
Protect your
Web projects
Web project
Further reading
1. Developing trust
2. Four stages of team development
3. Characteristics of an effective team member

2. Four Stages of Team Development

Operating as a team is different from what we are used to from our experiences at school and at home and that, in order to be successful, we need to learn how to play by the new rules.

Deborah Harrington-Mackin,
The Team Building Tool Kit




Building and organizing teams goes beyond simply clumping students together. The goal is to create diversity, not just based on gender and race, but on cognitive perspectives.

But, what does it mean for the student who is used to taking center stage, or the student who is reluctant to participate, to share? How do students respond when first put into a collaborative project?

The first thing students need to cope with when beginning a project is how to work in a collaborative environment. And, just like there are stages in project development, there are different stages a student goes through as the team matures.

In Ken Blanchard's Management of Organizational Behavior the author states that there are four distinct stages in team development, which are similar to the stages a student encounters when working on a collaborative team.

Stage 1: The Formation Stage. This is usually the student's first experience in developing a collaborative project. In this stage, students are trying to figure out why they're working together, what they're expected to do and how they are supposed to work as a team.

Side Bar

Team dynamics can be determined after the first meeting.

Side Bar

This is also one of the most critical times for project development. Team dynamics can be determined after the first meeting.

The best way to insure that students will begin to work effectively is to

  • clearly state the learning objectives
  • model the behavior you want them to demonstrate
  • and help them to begin communicating with one another

Stage 2: The Group-Building Stage. Once the students begin communicating, they decide on the project direction and control. During this stage, they often require a lot of input from the teacher, who helps clarify the students' ideas and refocuses their attention on the project goals

rule126.gif (146 bytes)

Patience, n. A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue.

Ambrose Bierce

rule126.gif (146 bytes)

Stage 3: Getting to Work: Once the processes are in place, the students finally get to fits and stops. This process requires patience as the students start, stop, discard, and start again. To help the student move to action, the teacher may need to help the students identify the first step of their project.

Stage 4: Getting it Done. This is probably the briefest stage in the evolution of a team, but it's also the stage where most of the work is accomplished, and the teacher is the least involved. At this stage, the teacher's primary responsibility is to motivate the students to succeed and keep the team focused on the goal.

It's funny. Almost without fail, the majority of the project is spent in the first three stages wringing hands, guiding, consoling, clarifying, refocusing and motivating. It requires great patience and discipline not to jump in and intervene at every juncture. But, these stages are necessary. It's not the product alone that should be emphasized, it's the process of discovery as students learn to work collaboratively.

Section: Introduction to Building Teams
page 1: Developing trust 
page 2: Four stages of team development
page 3: Characteristics of an effective team member

Previous Page       Next Page

  Global SchoolNet Foundation    copyright 1996-2004     All Rights Reserved    Last Update: 02-Dec-2003