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.
There are 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.” I have already covered the Maintenance and task roles. Here are the “self-serving roles,” roles that pretty much prevent the group from achieving its goals.
(1) Dominator: Interrupts, embarks on long monologues, is overpositive, 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 the subject.
(4) Aggressor: Struggles for status, boasts, criticizes; deflates ego or status of others.
(5) Recognition-seeker: Exaggerated attempt 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.
Comment: ‘Fess up. You have all played these roles at some time in your scholastic lives, haven’t you? Discussing these self-serving roles will probably be more fun than the positive roles. RayS.
Next blog: Familiarizing students with the group discussion roles.