Role Expectations and Group Dynamics Inside the Classroom

1226 Words5 Pages
Human beings are naturally gregarious and tend to form groups, that is, "two or more individuals who influence each other through social interaction." Groups fulfil a series of needs for humans, such as survival needs, psychological needs, informational and interpersonal needs, which compel individuals to become part of a group. Clearly, the classroom acts as an environment that facilitates the formation of a group, creating certain needs that students will find fulfilled within the group and also providing the group with common goals, which are the reason for the group formation and the main cohesive force that unites people into groups. The physical closeness that the classroom guarantees increases the statistical likelihood of interaction, creating a sense of "groupness" (1). In the case of adolescents, their cognitive development opens up a whole new perspective for them, which can sometimes be overwhelming. Certainly, the possibility of being part of a group in which their peers are dealing with the same kind of anxieties is going to facilitate the process of adaptation. Each of the members of the group is feeling an urge for experimentation, and the desire for acceptance by peers is a strong factor that might lead to risk taking and stretching of one's limits and the limits imposed by authority figures (parents, teachers, etc). (2) Teenagers will find the encouragement (or at least the motivation) they need to take these risks within the group. Students behave differently in groups than individually. Due to the cognitive, emotional and physical changes they are going through, they feel confused and look for support. In spite of introducing a confusion factor, their development provides a variety of possibilities ... ... middle of paper ... ... this way, the teacher is placing a greater importance upon a student's individual contribution to the task. The latter can also be achieved by manipulating the group size, since diminishing the group size enhances this importance. It is easy to see that there are many ways in which teachers can use the different roles that emerge in a classroom environment to the benefit of learning. The teacher has to bear in mind the importance of assessing those roles and reflecting upon their influence on group dynamics and the ways in which they can be used to enhance learning. BIBLIOGRAPHY: - Forsyth, D. R. 1990. Group dynamics (2nd ed.) Brooks-Cole, Pacific Grove, California. - Jureidini, J. 1991. Adolescent Development. In Kosky, R.J. Eshkevari, H.S & Carr, V.J. Mental Health and Illness. Butterworth-Heinemann, Sydney.

More about Role Expectations and Group Dynamics Inside the Classroom

Open Document