Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Topic: Roles People Play in Small-group Discussions

Question: How can teachers prepare students for successful and productive small-group discussion?

Answer: An excerpt from my book Teaching English, How To…., Xlibris, 2004.

Following are the details of 18 roles that people can play in small-group discussions as suggested by David M. Litsey, Copyright by the National Council of Teachers of English. Reprinted with Permission. The roles are labeled “Maintenance,” “Task Roles,” and “Self-serving roles.” Following are the “Maintenance” roles.

Maintenance Roles
(1) Encouraging: Being warm and responsive to others, accepting the contributions of others; giving others an opportunity for recognition.

(2) Expressing group feelings: Sensing feeling and mod, or relationships within the group, and sharing one’s own feelings with other members.

(3) Harmonizing: Attempting to reconcile differences and reduce tension by giving peop[le a chance to explore their differences.

(4) Compromising: When one’s own ideas or status is involved in a conflict, offering to compromise, admitting error, disciplining oneself to maintain group cohesion.

(5) Gate-keeping: Keeping communication channels open and facilitating the participation of others.

(6) Setting Standards. Expressing standards for the group to achieve; applying standards in evaluating group function and production.

Comment: It will be worthwhile to spend time discussing these roles in supporting the group’s efforts to achieve its goals. RayS.

Next blog: Task Roles.

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