Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Topic: Working Successfully in Small Groups (2)

Task and Self-serving Roles.

Secondary School

10-second review: Describes the roles played by various personalities in making groups work successfully or keeping groups from working. In this blog, I will describe “Task Roles” and “Self-Serving Roles.”

Title: “Small-Group Discussions.” Raymond Stopper. Teaching English, How To…. Xlibris. 2004.

Thanks to David M. Litsey, “Small Group Training and the English Classroom.” English Journal, September 1969, pp. 920-927. Copyright, 1969 by the National Council of Teachers of English. Reprinted with permission.

Task Roles
1. Initiating: Proposing tasks or goals; defining a group problem; suggesting a procedure.

2. Information or Opinion Seeking: Requesting facts; asking for suggestions and ideas.

3. Information or Opinion Giving: Offering facts; stating a belief; giving suggestions or ideas.

4. Clarifying or Elaborating: Interpreting or reflecting ideas and suggestions; clearing up confusion; indicating alternatives before the group; giving examples.

5. Summarizing. Pulling together related ideas; restating suggestions after the group has discussed them; offering a decision for the group to accept or reject.

6. Consensus Testing. Checking with the group to see how much agreement has been reached.

Self-Serving Roles
1. Dominator: Interrupts; embarks on long monologues; is overly positive; tries to lead group; asserts authority; is autocratic; monopolizes.

2. Blocker: Interferes with the progress of the group by rejecting ideas; takes negative attitude on all suggestions; argues unduly; is pessimistic; refuses to cooperate.

3. Deserter: Withdraws in some way; is indifferent, aloof; excessively formal; daydreams; doodles; whispers to others; wanders from subject.

4. Aggressor. Struggles for status; boasts; criticizes; deflates ego or status of others.

5. Recognition-seeker: Exaggerated attempts to get attention by boasting or claiming long experience or great accomplishments.

6. Playboy Type. Displays a lack of involvement in the group process by horseplay, inappropriate humor or cynicism.

Probably a good idea to take time to let students explore the implications of each of these roles. They need to describe each role in their own words. Also try to help students reduce the explanation for each role to a few, clear key words.

Next blog: Practicing the roles. RayS.

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