For our final project in Age of Ex, all 16 classmates studied the Constitutional Convention. While learning about the compromises that the delegates had to make, our class also learned what it was like to work with and agree with such a big group. I learned a lot of information about the history, but also a lot on leadership, researching, and giving “presentations”.
I learned a lot from this project about the Constitutional Convention. There were many different things that the founding fathers had to agree on that were extremely difficult decisions. Some of these decisions included issues with slavery, how to vote, taxes (tariffs), and the list goes on and on. From what I learned, there were a few main opposing sides. One that we focused on was big states vs. little states. Compromises were achieved by lots of discussing and giving and taking. What I mean by giving and taking is that you would have to give a little of what you wanted, but also make sure you get some of what you want. It was not a time to be nice and selfless, it was a time to stand up for what you believe in. This tells us that our government is founded on compromises. We are such a diverse nation, and to create a fair and equal society we have to be flexible and give a bit. This is a difficult thing to do but it is what makes our country great.
Like I said above, after working through this group project I can now understand why it was so hard for the delegates to create a constitution. When you are working with so many other people, it is hard to agree on ideas, and have everyone participate and not just pass of the work to another. I had never worked with 15 other students on a project, so this was a new and interesting experience to me. However it was a very valuable experience because compromising is something that is a life skill. There were a few things that worked well. It was good to have a leader that kept everyone on task (my role). It was also really helpful to split into smaller groups because one thing that did not work really well was having big group discussions. Sometimes they were necessary and helpful but other times they used up a lot of time and caused tension within our class. When problems such as these were brought up, it was important to reevaluate and find a different approach.
Finding a different approach was partly my job, as I took on the job as the leader. I have never leaded such a big group before and I found out that I really enjoy being in this position. It is hard and stressful because people are looking up to you, however it is a really important skill and also very rewarding. Part of what makes a good leader is how you interact with the members in your group. Listening to everyone in the group, and considering their opinions is extremely important. Also assigning necessary tasks to people and making sure they are focused is crucial for getting the project done. This was really my job, listening, assigning roles, and making sure things got completed in time, so there were no physical tasks I really created because organizing took up all of my time. I think I did a pretty good job leading. Looking back, I could have been more prepared when I came to class. However, given the time we had and the experience I had with leading (which was not much) I think I did a good job because in the end the project was complete! This was a really interesting project and I enjoyed being part of it.
If I was faced with another project such as this one, I would most likely take up the leadership role again. As I said above, I would work on being more prepared when coming to class, because I always spent a minute or two just thinking about what we needed to do. I also would like to improve on my communication. I sometimes would email everyone in the group about what they needed to do, but I should have emailed them more because I think people would have done more work that way (like readings I assigned over the weekend). My strength in this project was definitely listening and assigning roles (seeing the whole entire project). As a leader, listening is important and I made sure to listen to everyone who gave an opinion. It was also important to see the whole project so I knew what needed to be done to complete the project. Assigning roles was how I demonstrated that.
Overall it was a great project, and I learned a lot about compromise in the constitutional convention and in everyday lives (such as this project), and what it means to be a good leader.