GROUP WORK - Learning Through Discussion (LTD)
Most of our class will involve small and large group discussions of assigned reading. In LTD, you must first relate what the author stated, apply what you learned to other situations, and then evaluate the new ideas. These steps involve memory, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. We will follow a specific format for LTD which will follow a specific thee-part plan.
A. Process Plan -
- who and what helped
- who and what were constructive
- who and what inhibited the discussion
B. Criteria for Developing and Effective Discussion Group - Expectations of Groups
Four kinds of statements can be made in small group discussions. :
- conventional - Ex: This article is hard. What are you doing this weekend? I don't work well in groups. More socializing than discussing the material. Doesn't promote deep understanding of material or people
- assertive - Ex: You expect me to believe this BS? The author is a jerk! Used when students don't understand the material and want their views expressed. But beliefs and assertions not based on evidence or logic not helpful in understanding difficult concepts.
- speculative - Ex: Why do you think boys will be boys? Why are people prejudiced? Raise a question to help oneself and others understand the material.
- confrontive - Ex: Boys will be boys is a statement made by people who don't understand the effects of modern culture and environment on personality. It is a statement to a speculative question that can clarify and synthesize the material for oneself and others.
C. Roles and Skills
- Sequence of Tasks
- Initiating - someone must start the discussion
- Giving and asking for information - all members must
- Giving and asking for reactions - Don't just give your reaction. Respond to others.
- Restating and giving examples - Restating someone's idea is a good feedback step and helps communication. Examples clarify complex situations.
- Confronting and reality testing - Misinformation and misstatements can't be allowed to pass.
- Clarifying, Synthesizing, and summarizing - Must occur periodically to keep focused.
- Overall task rolls
- Gatekeeping (to ensure participation by all) and expediting
- Evaluating and diagnosing: performed by all.
- Nonfunctional roles assumed by group members
- Silent member: All member work together to find causes and ways to increase participation:
- lack of knowledge: member encouraged to be responsible for authors general statement
- confusion due to group process: others define present step or summarize
- not understanding the discussion: others ask for questions from group
- slow responder in quick group: group should recognize and pause
- shyness: others encourage shy member to respond when they show signs of responding
- Overparticipant: When someone's talk does help with the goal, that is too long in relation to the goal, or that makes others uncomfortable
- dominant one answers in ways that quiet all others: ask for others' opinions
- repeater who reiterates same point over again: others jump in an acknowledge
- Wanderer: Has basic idea but not well thought through: others summarize kernel
- Tangent person: Lead into different area away from main focus or marginally related: Others summarize in way to bring back or ask question to bring back to focus.
- Storyteller: Personal experience and anecdote important but if excessive distract from focus of discussion: State don't have time
- Insecure talker: Insecurity in group leads to irrelevant and tangential comments: Make them feel home in group. Give special assignment.
- Lone Dissenter: Presenter of minority or alone point of view can be problem if person stubborn, strong: Turn into strength by praising a new, unthought of viewpoint.
- Listening skill: When members do the following, they are are not being good listeners:
- compare themselves to others
- try to second-guess what others are saying
- rehearse what we wish to say
- judge people negatively
- give advice to others
- placate others