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Session Three

The goal of this Seminar is to allow faculty to hear the experiences of different teachers who are now using TAS: Team As Support.
The plan is to give a brief overview of the three organizing principles of TAS (permanent teams with team names;  weekly rotating Team Leaders:  chats and zooms used to keep teams connected at all times) and to review the three guiding ideas of TAS (support, possibility, using “breakdowns” as the opportunity to create meaningful “breakthroughs”).
We hope to then move on to help teachers explore the question of whether this program is of interest to them.  We hope to address the following questions:
         1. What do students write about their team experiences?
         2. Why and how does the framework of “support” create higher performance and more student satisfaction in the classroom and in the workforce?
         3. What are the experiences of our faculty with this practice in both synchronous and asynchronous situations?
         4. How does this model teach collaboration, leadership, and generosity while helping students to more powerfully master their course content?
         5. How does this model powerfully train students for the workforce they will meet in the challenging team-oriented larger world of work they will encounter upon graduation?



One issue that has come up in classes is that some students may put in more effort into their team than others.   We reviewed a mathematical method used to calculate the level of each student’s contribution to their team which is factored into their final grade.
We also brainstormed about methods of turning our soft data – the writing of our students about their experiences – into hard data and looked at some student writing about teams.

FALL 2021 SESSION TWO (11/2, 3:30-4:30 PM)

The plan for the second meeting of our TAS:  Team As Support FIG is to

review the 3 elements of the design of this program (permanent teams that
have a rotating Team Leader in which team members are connected
by self-chosen platforms for chats and zooms).  The focus, however,
of the meeting will be on the “psychic infrastructure” of these teams
and the 3 guiding ideas underlying this approach.
In our session, we plan to explore 3 concepts that fundamentally
distinguish this approach from all others:
1. Support
2. Possibility
3. Breakdown as creating the opportunity for Breakthrough.
1, Support is perhaps the largest and most important concept that
shapes this classroom and conditions its success.  Research has made
clear that high performance is predicated on teams that attain the highest
levels of support, comfort, and trust.  How does the professor make
this concept explicit and how is the support of team members for one another
encouraged and rewarded by the professor?
 2. Possibility is used as a concept that at both individual levels
and within the definition of the work of the Team Leader asks the
student to assess where they are at and determine an aspirational
focus for the week, for a specific assignment, for mastery of
the content of the course.  The question, what is possible, asks
the student to see him, their or herself as capable, hopeful, eager, and
ambitious and constantly setting new actionable small goals as
they move forward in the work of the course.  How is this done?
What does this look like at the level of the Team Leader?
What does it look like at the level of team members?  What does
it look like for the professors and their aspirations for their students?
3. Breakdown / Breakthrough.  Training students to examine
closely what created the conditions for a failure or disappointment
and to take action to change those conditions is a powerful tool
in the arsenal of high performance in the classroom and in life.
In TAS, students learn to think creatively, hopefully, and critically
about issues that led to a disappointing result (a “breakdown”)
in order to create a far more powerful “breakthrough” in their work.
It is training that is especially important for the fragile
students in our classrooms who typically beat themselves up when they don’t
meet their own expectations.  How exactly does a professor
“teach” this methodology to their students?  Can a professor model
this approach in the classroom to their students?

FALL 2021 SESSION 1 (10/13, 3-4 PM)

The plan for the first session of our semester is to facilitate and familiarize faculty with TAS (Team As Support).

TAS brings the engine of student ingenuity, generosity, and smarts into operation on behalf of other students within a team.  Research has shown that the stronger the connections among team members and the more trust and safety generated within a team, the higher the level of performance and of satisfaction. In this way, TAS also prepares students for the world of work they will meet after graduation, one that is largely organized around teamwork.  Teachers in Art, English, and Accounting at Kingsborough report the high impact of TAS on student performance and satisfaction.

        Here’s the plan:
        We will review the three key elements of this design:
                   1. Permanent teams (great ice breaker: create a team name!).
                   2. Rotating Team Leader:  the team leader creates a focus (their “Possibility”) for the
their week of leadership, one that will “make a difference” in the life and
work of the team and submits a final “Outgoing Team Leader Report” at the
end of the week of their leadership assessing the team and writing about their
creative interventions on behalf of their team.
                   3. Creating the chats and zooms that connect teammates to one another along with a
Chief Technology Officer for the team to whom team members can go for
tech support within the team.
And we will review the three key ideas underpinning ideas that predict academic and team success:
1. Support:  The job of each team member and of the team leader is to support the
work of their teammates and “make a difference.”
2. Possibility:  This is a pedagogy of hope in which team leader and students create
actionable and aspirational “possibilities.”
3. Breakdown/ breakthrough:  This design removes the stigma of student failures
and self-doubt by training them to see their errors (on all levels – in life
as well as when it comes to the placement of the period in a sentence)as “breakdowns” – or really – opportunities for breakthrough.  And it
provides them with an explicit methodology (and practice) in how to do this!
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