During an input for the Situated Communication module, we were asked to build a den. We were placed in groups, and although I have already had the opportunity to interact with all the members it was my first time working in a group with some.
We worked well as a team and experimented with everyone’s ideas to help solve problems, for example ways to secure our roof without using tape.
After reflection, and reading about Hargie’s purposes of explaining I have been able to identify strengths that the group we visited displayed in their explanation of their den (2011). The group explained their den well, with added comedy and also responded to our questioning positively. It was interesting to hear their descriptions of their den as without this input we would have missed some of the creative design features. It was also nice to hear some of the challenges they faced and how they overcame them.
Being outside of a usual classroom or lecture environment pushed me out of my comfort zone but encouraged me to take a more fun approach to the task. I think that the environment made a more informal feeling which reflected in my communication. I communicated with the whole group and with individuals, which I often think is harder to do when doing group work at a table. Being outside meant that we were more spread out and could solve problems in smaller sections as well as with the whole group.
We were in a sheltered area which meant that the wind and other noises did not affect our communication. In other areas outside, the volume used may have to be louder if there are other noises to “compete” with or quieter if you are sharing spaces with other members of the public. I sometimes found myself distracted by other noises, and at the start I was distracted by trying to scout out good materials! This could be overcome by explaining in a different environment, to keep instructional communication outdoors limited or by finding an area with less distractions, like the clearing we stood in.
We were unsuccessful in our negotiations, although we did try to trick another group into swapping materials with us. I think this was due to other groups also negotiating for other tasks and being distracted by the poem we were creating for the presentation!
It was challenging to consider what other groups may like in return, in order for the negotiation to seem fair.
Overall, it was enjoyable to challenge my communication skills in a different environment and with a new combination of people to work with in my group. This input has highlighted the importance of active outdoor learning in order to challenge learners in new contexts.
Hargie, O. (2011) Skilled Interpersonal Communication. 5th Edition. London: Routledge