COMPONENTS OF HOLISTIC LEARNING
By Dave Till
This is the second article in our series on Holistic Learning, to read the introduction and view the other components to follow please click here.
2. Group Dynamics, Group Roles and Role Play
Group dynamics refers to a system of behaviors and psychological processes occurring within a social group (intragroup dynamics), or between social groups (intergroup dynamics). The study of group dynamics can be useful in understanding decision-making behavior and following the emergence and popularity of new ideas.
Every group has a life of its own and creates roles for its members (or perhaps the members gravitate towards roles of their own choosing). The dynamics of a group have certain laws and principles that can be learnt and understood.
Because holistic education is by and large learned and practiced within a group, knowledge of group dynamics becomes imperative. An understanding of roles that are likely to develop in a learning situation is both helpful and necessary.
It is also useful to see roles such as ‘teacher’, ‘enabler’, joker’ etc. as changeable and flexible. If someone is a ‘teacher’ it will not stop them from dropping roles and becoming a ‘joker’ should the moment arise.
When roles are depersonalised then they become more helpful. In the same way, if an individual gets stuck in one role only, they can be encouraged by the group to change roles and explore how this feels.
A classic example would be to get the ‘troublemaker’ to become the ‘teacher’ for a while. Or the facilitator can start to ask the compulsive questioner a lot of questions in order to reverse the role.
Recognising ‘ghost roles’ in the room can also enhance the group process.
Each week we will introduce a new topic. Please feel free to add your views and comments to expand on it more fully.
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