Stella Wang, Student Development Manager, shares how they use Belbin to increase student self awareness, support academic performance and increase students’ global employability.

“We use Belbin with both our Undergraduate and Postgraduate cohorts. I support three Masters Programs – Accounting and Finance, Banking and Risk and Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I also support an Undergraduate module in Enterprise Consultancy in Practice.

With Postgraduate students

Our Postgraduate students complete their own Belbin Self Perception Inventory (SPI) before they arrive each September. We run a Belbin workshop at the start of the year to enable students to get to know each other in their teams. Students learn about the Team Roles, including their own combinations of preferred Team Roles. We teach them how to use their knowledge to not just understand how different Team Roles are important at different stages of a project, but more importantly, to really understand themselves and other people.

We find that this increased awareness of themselves and others enables students to do their best work and be part of a more engaged team. They can see where there is a gap – where someone needs to step up. In doing this, in addition to having a better student experience, Belbin supports their academic performance. This makes them engaged and take the process seriously.

For me personally, this workshop is one of my favourite sessions to deliver. It takes just two hours and students are engaged from start to finish.

I run a workshop for each Postgraduate programme that I support and it’s a great way to get to know everyone. Academics really value Belbin being embedded within their classes because it significantly reduces the number of students knocking on their door with complaints about group dynamics – students know each other and can manage difficult conversations without their input.

This is one of the greatest benefits of Belbin – it allows students to experience working with different people and their different working styles in a non-confrontational way. They learn to appreciate conversational triggers and quickly learn to manage working relationships. They can avoid making assumptions based on cultural stereotypes and work efficiently.

It’s so important to give students an appreciation of the fact that people work differently – to see the reasoning behind why you may not always like your team mates! Students tell us that they have really enjoyed the experience, which of course reflects well on their time with us overall.

With Undergraduate Students

Belbin is particularly valuable when working with Undergraduate students on the Enterprise Consultancy in Practice module. They are given the opportunity to work with a local business on a project.

They have to complete the project within an agreed timeframe so it’s vital that the team learn to work together quickly – it helps them with their resulting grade and ensures that we are protecting the reputation of the University when they are with clients, representing us all.

Undergraduate students really enjoy using Belbin in this setting – it’s a useful tool in helping them develop themselves and how they work as part of a team. The other benefit of Belbin for our Undergraduates is that they can use their Report when they go to interviews - they can talk with confidence about their strengths and their increased self awareness means that they will perform better once they’ve secured a position.

These type of activities have been so successful that we’re now rolling out more professional development support for our Undergraduates – the demand is definitely there and it’s great to be able to enhance our students’ global employability.”

Stella Wang
Student Development Manager
University of Edinburgh Business School.

 

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Related reading:

Belbin's work with Higher EducationBelbin has been used in a university setting for over 30 years, and enables lecturers to encourage team working and self-reflection; aid work placement; give careers advice and guidance and form study groups and teams.
Belbin's work with Leeds University Business School: Belbin is used in the Marketing Department within the Business School across four Postgraduate Marketing qualifications. Approximately 800 Postgraduate students will make use of Belbin each year.
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