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Groups Dynamics for Teachers

5 minute short on Group Dynamics

Jesse Johnson

on 15 July 2010

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Transcript of Groups Dynamics for Teachers

Group Dynamics Role Lock Stages of Group Development Forming Storming Norming (Performing) Jesse Johnson & David Rothauser For teachers:
Everything that you need to facilitate your group is ready and available.
Work with what's here in this moment. When it comes to students:
• talking cures
• converting thoughts and feelings into words is liberating
• relating with words (rather than acting out feelings) is a more mature way of getting needs met there are subsets of people in a room who are aligned in feeling and outlook
(i.e. the ones who feel stupid, the ones who feel smart) Sometimes people get stuck in a role: the loud one, the silent one, the tyrant, the comedian. The facilitator of the group can help keep roles fluid. Parallel Process Brace yourself. This is very difficult due to the nature of the feelings it induces within us...

The teacher might allow him/herself to be the recipient of aggressive/negative feelings. Helping group members say outloud that they're disappointed/angry could: 1) prevent infighting; and 2) enable a storming group to cohere or unify against a leader whose ego is strong enough to be the bad guy (this is tough but awesome!) Techniques Joining Mirroring Bridging Which have limitless creative applications if applied with intention. Joining a student in feeling and outlook (either with or without words) can produce the feeling of being understood. It protects the fragile ego, but can become distasteful if they have outgrown the need for it. Mirroring can produce the feeling of being seen. We can mirror student affect, volume, and/or body language with or without words. Bridging is awesome! Any statement or technique aimed at getting more students to enter into the conversation is bridging. This is a tremendous technique for getting really quiet kids to feel heard and attended to without being uncomfortable in the center of attention role. JJ: Hey, Mandy, why do you think Sam always wears his hat?
M: I don't know, maybe cause he's cold.
JJ: Sam, is that true?
S: No, it's to keep my hair out of my face! Supervision Louis Ormont's "View of the Rise of Modern Group Analysis"
is a short contextualization and summary of these ideas. Training at the Center for Group Studies is available to teachers and other practitioners who don't have mental health licenses. The training comes along with three experiential weekends a year, nine blocks of reading (about 16-20 articles per block), individual reflection and mentorship with a faculty member and the option to join an online supervision group or an in-person group. http://www.groupcenter.org/
There are people from Russia, Korea, Colorado, LA, Texas, Michigan, who fly in for weekends and do other parts of the program remotely.

CGS is also a great resource for finding supervisors in your area. If you would like a more personal referral, let us know. There's a wealth of literature and thought that applies to our classrooms but we have to decode and translate the language of psychotherapy in order to access it. We are co-writing an article that addresses this issue, and is classroom focused! Keep your eyes open for updates. Aggression and Negativity Resources Training Final Thoughts termination Our first days, is there a place for me here? Can I trust our leader? We know there is a place for us, now we want to be favorite. We get mad when we find out our leader doesn't play favorites, and we vie for hierarchy among the group. What will our roles be? We've established a sense of group and can make forward progress. We move forward in spiraling motions. Every role plays a part in and for the group. The loudmouth will only be allowed to speak in a group if in fact they are speaking for the group in some way. Although if roles get locked in unhealthy ways, eventually the group will alienate and punish the person in that role.

When the talker is the only one raising her hand, but the facilitator waits, he makes space for these roles to be fluid. Induced feelings: students communicate by creating feeling experiences in the adults and people around them.When I have a strong feeling about something at school, when I use dramatic words that are not a typical part of my vocabulary (failure, punish, hate, give up) my next step is to consider whether or not these feelings could be indicative of what my students are feeling. There was one time when I actually muttered under my breath in class, "Are you trying to make me feel like a failure?" Those were my students' feelings. But it changes what I do with my feelings when I approach them with this awareness. Typically it reminds me of compassion. The best way to incorporate these ideas into practice is with supervision, especially in a group situation, where the supervisor can model interventions and explore the group's parallel process. When we are participants in a group, we get to learn about all the stages of group development and the techniques for working with groups experientially.

Whether we are thinking about these ideas or not, we are playing out our various roles and stages in whatever groups we are in: Staff meetings, Department meetings, Happy Hour after work... When groups end, it brings up lots of feelings in all group members. Just by acknowledging that the group is coming to an end ahead of time can support students in experiencing their feelings and moving beyond them.
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