Innovative teaching approaches help MSc students learn about leadership and team management

This course for our MSc Land Economy and MSc Sustainability students introduces concepts of how successful teams work and how to manage a team, and puts these into practice via the innovative approach of 'discovery learning'.

Dr. Katrin Prager, jointly with teaching team members David Flood, Irmine Roshem and Flurina Wartmann, delivered a 3-day block course on Team Leadership and Management for our MSc Land Economy and MSc Sustainability Transitions students. The course introduces concepts of how successful teams work and how to manage a team, and puts these into practice via the innovative approach of  ‘discovery learning’. The course participants discover team dynamics through various exercises and reflective review sessions. This increases their understanding and skills for how to overcome challenges that teams face in solving tasks, especially under time or resource constraints. The lessons learned that students documented at the end of the course evidence their learning and that they are better equipped with essential skills for their future careers.

Students commented on their learning experience:

“Communication was a very important part of teamwork, and it is important that every idea is listened to. In future teamwork I would try to identify ways in which ideas can be shared seamlessly. Effective ways of doing this (…) seemed to be going round the table and hearing everyone’s ideas without interruption. This gives the chance to the quieter members of the team to express themselves in their own time and not to have their ideas silenced by group pressure.”

“What I personally have gained from this course, is the understanding that teamwork relies on communication and trust, and a willingness to adapt to other members of the team. (…) In future teamworking activities, I’ll be able to apply this by focusing on building relationships from the beginning, which will allow me to feel more comfortable within the group.”

“My prior experience with team management was extremely different from what I have learnt over the past few days, and this difference has influenced how I think especially about what team management should entail. In my nation, it's customary to "Just Do It" without a clear plan or framework to adhere to, resulting in ultimately very poor management of things.”

“I really enjoyed the seminar. Having our team come out of the storming phase and to the norming phase made it easier to see the progress we had made and feel proud of the final structure we had come up with. The experiences I had throughout the seminar helped me grow not only as a leader managing teams but also as someone who could be managed by a leader.”

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