Author: trainofthought108

19 Melbourne Studying Professional Communication at RMIT Interested in journalism, media and communication industries Passionate about politics, literature, human rights and Kinder Surprise chocolates

Teamwork Final Review

How well did you adhere to these team agreements as an individual team member? What did you stick to? What did you find difficult?

Abigail: In terms of team agreements, I think I definitely adhered to them although looking back they are perhaps a little vague. I made an effort to come to every class and meeting, in order to be confident in my understanding of the tasks and where we were ‘at’ in the process. I found it difficult to come on time to meetings (I was normally maybe 5 minutes late) and also was unsure as to what exact role I should play in the development of the PR pitch, as I had primarily focussed on and taken responsibility for the journalism pitch.

Kasia: I think I adhered to the guidelines, as they were quite clear on what the group expected of me and what I wanted from the other members of the team. For me, the most important aspects were supporting each other, seeking clarification and communicating and something I did well with and attending all meetings/workshops.

Chiara: I believe that I adhered to the team agreements on the most part; I completed assignments tasks to a high standard and contributed to the group, however I believe I could improve my communication skills by being present at more team meetings. I think that I completed all tasks and made an effort to do this to a high standard and I also made an effort to complete these tasks within a reasonable timeframe, while still giving plenty of detail and background research. I found it difficult to attend all group meetings at university given that I was not able to be present to all of these meetings due to personal circumstances.

Anna: Looking through the agreement I did my best to adhere to all the guidelines, despite missing the first class I think I was able to pick up an even workload and I hope the rest of the group agrees!

What aspect of your individual teamwork skills would you improve the most?

Abigail: I could definitely work on relaxing and being more calm in my communication with others in the group. I would like to be more clear in the future with my expectations of myself and others. In the future I would focus more from the beginning on setting really clear expectations: i.e. 3 meetings a week, checking in online every other day. This way it would be easier to evaluate our progress as a team.

Kasia: I think taking a chance to step back and hear what other people were trying to say rather than rushing my ideas could be a good idea for next time. Sometimes, I can be a bit distracting and go off on tangents which doesn’t mesh well with people just trying to get work done fast.

Chiara: I think that I could definitely improve my listening skills, i felt that at times I did not always listen closely to other team member’s ideas or contributions. I would really like to improve this in future by having a more calm approach to group discussions and being less stubborn. I also think that my communication skills could be improved in other areas: being present at more meetings/giving advanced notice of my availability.

Anna: I think I need to have more confidence in my work in a group situation and share my thoughts and ideas more.

What aspect of the whole group’s teamwork are you happy with?

Abigail: I’m happy that we pulled together to present our assessment in a unified and concise manner, with everyone present for the meeting before our presentation. I was also happy with the constructive criticism we gave each other during that meeting, and with our commitment to finish the various tasks within the time limit.

Kasia: Overall we were really supportive of each other and group meetings were a handy idea since face-to-face communication is best for organising, and messages can’t be misconstrued or meaning changed, like other methods of communication can be,

Chiara: I was really happy with how we managed to work together so well and produce a cohesive presentation that flowed effortlessly. I felt that our presentation was really well put together and everyone’s work linked together really nicely and supported each other’s findings.

Anna: I think as a group we were really good at giving constructive criticism but also support to everyone on their work.

What could you all have done better as a team?

Abigail: The most challenging aspect and the thing that could definitely be improved in the future was attendance – it was difficult to develop some parts of the project and also to communicate effectively when our meetings were fragmented and most communication was online. However, we went some way towards rectifying this by frequently checking the group chat and working on tasks together in real time using google docs.

Kasia: This is hard to combat, but possibly technological issues like some people not having access to important documents we were working on due to tech/ communication issues or not being able to attend group meetings because of illness/work and other priorities.

Chiara: I think that the main area of improvement is attendance, I myself believe that this is something that I personally could improve on but overall I think that the some areas of the project would have been easier to complete/develop if all members were present at the group meetings. However I think we worked well online and were able to stay in close contact which was helpful, so I believe our overall communication wasn’t too bad but I do think that we could improve our face-to-face communication skills.

Anna: Overall I think we maintained good communication as group, however I think it could still be improved with more face-to-face meetings, rather than relying so heaving on online communication, as I think these are the most effective way of discussing things as a group. Although it is hard to organised these at a time when everyone is available, ensure all members are making an effort to attend.

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500 Word Report (Idea Development)

Throughout the second stage of our assessment, we focused on our previous feedback and experiences in order to work more cooperatively and effectively as a team. The feedback that influenced us most was the reminder to use research findings to “identify the answers to the guiding questions” and “inform [our] final messages/outcomes”. We discussed this concept and endeavored to change our approach to the task, ensuring we did not rush ahead until we made sure we had done all our research and confirmed that our outcomes were in accordance with our background information. In this way all of our work was grounded in research and linked to the issue as a whole.

In a more specific sense, having this feedback helped us to develop our PR idea further as with more extensive research we were able to identify the perfect organisation to represent (Play Unlimited) and explain why this client in particular was having difficulty in getting their message out.

It was also through research that we were able to narrow the focus of the journalism pitch, moving away from the vague and assumptive topic of ‘technology in the classroom’ and identifying a unique niche for Toca-Boca in special needs education, allowing us to develop a story idea far more unique in its angle.

Additionally, we took into account the time management aspect of the presentation, having gone three minutes overtime in the initial presentation, partly because of a lack of tightly organised cooperation in terms of who said what and for how long. As a team we practised repeatedly and focussed on giving constructive criticism so that each group member’s speech would be as concise and clear as possible. In this way we were able to reduce our speaking time by 4 minutes and still communicate our core ideas.

Essentially we took both our communication as a team and our research to another level, investigating the issue at its ‘root’ and including only the essential points in our final presentation.

In terms of “lightning bulb” ideas and realisations, it occurred to us during the workshop tutorial just how important the ‘marketing’ component of the topic was. It was not simply about gendered toys but how any product or digital medium was marketed in relation to diversity. This gave us an opportunity to approach the topic from a different and more manageable angle. At the beginning of the project a couple of us were having problems breaking down the topic and working out exactly what we were meant to do in each of the stories. Focussing on ‘marketing’ specifically allowed us to clarify our thoughts.

We also realised through team discussions that it was potentially unclear whether we were addressing the ‘problem’ of gender inequality itself, or the problem for our client, leading to some confusion. We also had been unclear on the actual format of the final presentation so Monday’s seminar was really helpful in clarifying what exactly was needed from us and how we could structure our research around that.

In general, we found a combination of team discussion, feedback, practice and clarification during lectures and workshops to be helpful and illuminating while developing our ideas for this assessment.

Reflective blog post: Abigail

The second stage of this project was one of team clarification and development, delving deeper and refining our ideas and practicing our presentation skills as well. I felt more confident giving feedback in team meetings and also more comfortable stepping back from some tasks and seeing  them be developed by others in the team.

I continued to be somewhat anxious about the actual presentation and keen to adhere pretty strictly to the project guidelines which could have been frustrating for other members of the team. However, in the end I think we found a really great balance of all the elements in our research and idea development. One thing I found frustrating was that we actually did so much good research that it was impossible to showcase more than a fraction of it in the 10 minutes we had to present.

I saw during this second stage of the presentation how teamwork can work really well, in that it brings together fresh ideas and perspectives, ultimately creating a more vibrant final product. The SWOT analyses and background research done around PR and diversity and marketing were really interesting, especially for me as I had focussed on journalism so I was really learning new things when we came together in team meetings and I heard what others had been researching.

That is not to say the teamwork process was flawlessly executed — there were serious organisational difficulties stemming from the absence of various members at meetings, but our online communication went a long way in making up for this. Reflecting on this, I was reminded of Mau’s manifesto from earlier in the term; the “conflict, friction, strife” that goes hand in hand with the “exhilaration, delight and vast creative potential” (Mau, 1998) of collaboration. I think at times, my anxiety about the tasks meant that I didn’t “listen carefully” as Mau suggests, but I do think that I learned from the experience. In the future, I would repeat the assessment in quite a similar manner but with more of a focus on avoiding stress and anxiety and trusting in the teamwork process to produce a final product.

Mau, B., 1998, An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth. Available from:
http://www.manifestoproject.it/bruce-mau/

500 word report draft (Abigail)

What was the feedback after Presentation 1 that most influenced the further development of your ideas?

 

  • When developing your new storylines, remember to use your research findings to identify the answers to the guiding questions provided for each discipline (week 8 workshop) first. Those answers will then inform your final messages/outcomes etc.

 

This feedback really influenced our development of the ideas because it reminded us not to skip ahead to the tactics and overall grand vision, but instead ground all of our work in research and link it all back to the topic that way. It helped us develop our PR idea further as with more extensive research we were able to identify the perfect organisation to represent (Play Unlimited) and explain why this client in particular was having difficulty in getting their message out. It was also through research that we were able to narrow the focus of the journalism pitch, moving away from the vague and assumptive topic of ‘technology in the classroom’ and identifying a unique niche for toca boca in special needs education, allowing us to develop a story idea far more unique in its angle.

 

  • Remember to stay within the time limit!

 

We went three minutes over the time limit in the first presentation, partly because of a lack of tightly organised cooperation in terms of who said what and for how long. We took this feedback seriously and practiced our second presentation a number of times, working as a group to cut down on different sections and ensure we wouldn’t speak any longer for ten minutes. This was also a valuable process because it made our presentation more focussed and concise and thus hopefully more engaging overall.

What did you do differently after this point? Why?

After the first presentation we focussed more on practicing our presentation and giving clear and constructive criticism, as well as concentrating on our research and ensuring we didn’t deviate from it in any way. Essentially we took both our communication as a team and our research to another level, investigating the issue at its ‘root’ and including only the essential points in our final presentation.

What did you realise you had missed? OR could do better?

Any lightbulb or lightening-bolt moments?

We realised that at times, it had been unclear whether we were addressing the ‘problem’ of gender inequality itself, or the problem for our client, leading to some confusion. We also had been unclear on the actual format of the final presentation so Monday’s seminar was really helpful in clarifying what exactly was needed from us and how we could structure our research around that.

Further research findings – Chiara

MGA Entertainment: http://www.mgae.com/

An American owned children’s toys and entertainment products manufacturing company founded in 1979.

Most well know products are the Bratz (fashion) Dolls. MGA Entertainment also produce Bratzillaz, Lalaloopsy, Mooshka, Moxie Girlz and Moxie Teenz.

MGA Entertainment are a global franchise that also own The Little Tikes Company (http://www.tikes.com.au/) which produce play equipment and toys for toddlers.

Bratz Dolls

Bratz Dolls are a more modern version of Barbie Dolls. Bratz Dolls are typically long haired, big eyed, small nosed, big lipped, skinny “teenage” figured type dolls that are typically targeted at young girls and are marketed to girls ages 7 and above. The dolls often come with fashion accessories like heels, mini skirts, dresses, crop tops and makeup.

Review of the product:

“Bratz are the modern-day Barbie dolls whose vampy appearance has upset many parents seeking healthy role models for their daughters. Mind you, these dolls are marketed to tween girls, whose notions of womanhood are still being formed. But it gets worse. The TV show computer-animates these dolls, providing them with voice, a theme song, and a world where parents are absent and teens make all the rules. They wear so much makeup that they look like they loaded up on too many samples at the cosmetics counter.

In one episode, the Bratz are expected to put on a fashion show for their fashion class. The boys of the show contribute by singing a hip-hop song about hanging out and checking out “all the girls.” The Bratz then triumphantly appear decked out in high boots and mini-skirts so skimpy that a faulty camera angle would make Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl exposure seem innocent. Parents will absolutely want to screen this program to see if it’s appropriate for their kids.” – https://www.commonsensemedia.org/tv-reviews/bratz

Many parents and families have expressed concern when it comes to the Bratz dolls. Many parents view these dolls as unfit role models for their young girls as they are believed to set unrealistic and in some cases dangerous standards of beauty as well as not being suitable role models for young girls. The Bratz Dolls are sometimes critiqued for using sex and objectification to sell the product to young, impressionable girls.

In terms of diversity, the dolls are very lacking as all dolls are designed to fit the standard of beauty set by current day society: making all dolls have long hair, skinny figures, big eyes and lips, small noses and wear skimpy “fashion.”

MGA Entertainment has changed the designs of the dolls over the years to include a range of dolls from different ethnical backgrounds rather than the typically white dolls that was previously the only available range, however the company skill designs these dolls to fit the stereotype of a “beautiful teenage girl” which typically results in the over sexualisation of these kids toys.

These dolls are designed and marketed to appeal exclusively to girls only and depict girls as “sexy, girly, skinny, overly feminine, riskay”

Bratz the T.V Series

“The four main characters are Cloe, Sasha, Jade and Yasmin. The girls live in a high-glam contemporary-style metropolis called Stylesville. They own and run their (own) eponymous magazine company, Bratz Magazine, which was established after Jade was fired from an internship. They also attend Stylesville High where they take their favorite classes, including a fashion course, and they are also cheerleaders. Their rival magazine company is Your Thing Magazine, owned and run by their business rival, Burdine Maxwell, who self-proclaims herself as the “Reigning Queen of Fashion”. The girls’ adventures are exploited throughout the series, both in and outside of Stylesville.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bratz_(TV_series)

 

Notes on Bratz the T.V Series

The T.V Series makes an effort to depict young girls as independent and career focused/successful. This could be seen as an attempt to make young girls feel empowered.

However the show revolves around rivalry between girls and the necessity of attention from boys and the need to be seen as “sexy” or “hot” in order to feel “popular” or “important.”

Bratz the App

“Head to the Create-It-Yourself (CIY) Shoppe™ in the Bratz app where you can design anything you dream up.

In the CIY Shoppe™, you’ll be able to customize fashions, snap pictures, conquer daily design challenges, play unique games, and watch Create-It-Yourself videos as well as the latest episodes of the Bratz.

So, what’s stopping you? It’s time to get making.” – http://www.bratz.com/en-us/app

After the dolls and the t.v shows and movies, came the Bratz App.

In this app, girls can design and dress their Bratz doll and participate in activities such as shopping.

Notes on the Bratz App

All of the designs and clothing options for the Bratz dolls are over sexualised and inappropriate for the age group of which the app is targeted at. There is not a lot of diversity for gender, race and personality.

References List (Raw)

1) MGA Entertainment: http://www.mgae.com/

2) MGA Entertainment, Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MGA_Entertainment

3) The Little Tikes Company: (http://www.tikes.com.au/

4) Common Sense Media “we rate, educate and advocate for kids, families and schools” : https://www.commonsensemedia.org/tv-reviews/bratz

5) Bratz Dolls: http://www.bratz.com/

6) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PO9hko1ZHsU

7) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bratz_(TV_series)

8) http://www.bratz.com/en-us/app

9) MGA Press Releases: http://www.mgae.com/en-us/section/releases