Magazine article Vocational Education Journal

Group Think

Magazine article Vocational Education Journal

Group Think

Article excerpt

Walk down the hallways at Blackhawk Technical College in southeast Wisconsin, and you are likely to see classrooms with students huddled together in small groups, busily solving problems. What better way to teach real-life teamwork and problem-solving skills than to solve some realistic workplace problems in the classroom?

Many organizations have begun or are well on their way to developing employee teams to solve problems that traditionally had been solved by managers. Part of a student's technical training should include development of the skills necessary to be a responsible, contributing member of a team.

A little imagination, a few ideas from vocational-technical teachers and suggestions from the business and industry community will provide some creative examples of how problem-solving teams can realistically be used in the classroom. Following are some successful team problem-solving scenarios that you may want to try in your own school setting.


You have just joined an auto servicing business that had developed a reputation for shoddy workmanship and poor customer service. The new owner has asked you for ideas to reverse the poor reputation and regain customer confidence. Develop a plan that would accomplish this, and present your recommendations to management.


You are on a committee that has been asked to investigate the purchase of a new laser printer for your office. Compare printers, costs, options available, usage, etc. for an area with 30 offices. Present your recommendation to the purchasing department.


1. An elderly patient is ready for discharge from the hospital. Before her illness, she lived alone. Now she can't lift heavy objects and is forgetful and often disoriented. She will be unable to live alone. Examine the alternatives, the community resources available to her and where or to whom she can turn for help. …

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