NB: All the participants are required to come prepared to the workshop
Activity 1 - Roles in Group Discussion
Participants should be able to identify the roles that people play in group discussion; to specify methods for capitalizing on constructive roles and for minimizing the interference of destructive roles; and to indicate how communication skills can facilitate the roles played in group discussion.
Divide the participants into groups of five. If there are students left over, have them act as observers. Each group member should receive one of the following role descriptions:
Authoritarian leader: You are the leader of this group. You should control the decisions made by the group. You may ask for others’ opinions, but the final decision is yours.
Silent member: You do not want to participate in this group because you feel you have nothing important to contribute. If others ask for your opinion, you usually say, “I don’t know” or switch the focus to some other group member. You are attentive but silent.
Clown: You do not take the problem seriously. You want to make people laugh. Your remarks are frequent, but they are not relevant. You like to poke fun at others in the group and express “off the wall” ideas.
Dominant member: You like to hear yourself talk. You think that your ideas are good and that everyone should listen to you. You tend to interrupt others to state your own opinions.
Negative member: You are argumentative. You like to argue for the sake of argument. You seldom have suggestions or solutions of your own, but that doesn’t prevent you from criticizing others. You like to tear apart others’ ideas, even if you have to make up fallacious arguments or use misleading information.
Each group member should have necessarily read the case study receive “The Bob Lee Case Study,” which follows.
The Bob Lee Case Study
Bob Lee was taking a difficult required course during his junior year at Strivemore University. Bob needed a B average to keep his scholarship, and he needed his scholarship to attend the university. But no matter how hard he studied, he could get only C and D grades on the weekly tests that determined his grade in the course. The professor curved the grades of the thirty students in the class, and Bob just couldn’t seem to come out on top of the curve.
Before the fourth test, Bob complained to a fraternity brother who was also in the class. The fraternity brother gave him some inside information. He swore Bob to secrecy and then told him that the professor didn’t correct or grade his own tests but that a graduate assistant did it for him. The grader apparently had discovered a new way to work his way through college. He was giving cram sessions before each test, based on the key that the professor had given him. He was tutoring nine of Bob’s classmates for five dollars a test, or ten dollars if the student wanted the answers to memorize. The fraternity brother invited Bob to join the group.
Bob had a little money saved from his summer job, but be wasn’t sure he wanted to invest it in an A. Wasn’t the whole thing unethical? Shouldn’t the professor be told? But then again, what if the fraternity brother or someone else was expelled? What about the other students at the bottom of the curve? All these questions and more went through Bob’s mind. He had to decide soon, or it would be too late to save his grade. If you were Bob, what would you do? Try to achieve a consensus in your group.
Each group should discuss the problem, with the members behaving in accordance with their assigned roles. The students should not reveal their roles to any other group member.
After each group has reached a decision, the participants discuss their observations and reactions to each of the roles they enacted or watched. The participants should focus their discussion on a description of each person’s behavior, trying to ascertain the role assigned. They should also