small group comm 1 SUBJECT: Speech GRADE LEVEL: 9-12 TOPIC: Small Group Communication This unit is intended to be flexible to fit within the time allotted within a teacher’s curriculum for small group communication. Personally I try to give at least 3 weeks to this specific topic. As a speech teacher it is important to teach all types of communication. I have included all the topics of discussion necessary for understanding as well as sample activities that could be used to support the ideas presented. I have also included some of the vocabulary that must be explained to the students. Please remember that this is a soft science and some will have different opinions concerning the material. It can be presented depending on your personal school of thought. I have established opinions of my own during the study of communication, but I try to present other positions of thought to my students so that they might develop some of their own tactics when working within a small group. It is vital to remember that we are training them to participate within groups that are forever changing and always unique to one another. They need the skills to adapt to the environment of each small group. I do not place my emphasis on their ability to regurgitate the words of a “professional” within the field. The student should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the elements within a small group and the importance of each member. Anticipatory Set Purposes and Objectives After class lecture, discussion, participation in the class activities, group presentation preparation and observation the student will be able to: 1. identify characteristics of a small group. 2. identify roles in a small group. 3. demonstrate appropriate role behaviors. 4. identify problems in small group activities. 5. propose solutions to above problems. Vocabulary 1. Interpersonal communication: communication between two or more people of a personal nature. Generally in dyadic or small groups. 2. Dyad: two-person communication. 3. Nonverbal communication: communication without words. 4. consensus: collective opinion reached through compromise. 5. Small group communication: a few people engaged in communication interaction over time generally in face to face settings who have common goals and norms and have developed a communication pattern to reach goals in an interdependent fashion. small group comm 2 Instructional Input Reasons you need: stronger debaters next year, those of you graduating well need the skills at College (instigating group work). These skills also helpful in work place (360 degree evaluation, think tanks, etc.). Communication abilities are strong predictors of individual success in any organization or activity. A. Communication is a soft science. 1. compare to other soft sciences ex: psychology 2. means opinions will differ B. Interpersonal Communication 1. Describe what interpersonal communication is. a. dyad 1. sender and receiver (diagram) a. give feedback and reinforcement b. verbal or nonverbal c. perception =misunderstandings d. listening skills =misunderstandings e. has effect -not always observable, but a must 1. physical 2. mental 3. emotional C. Small Group Communication Began as discussion course which included critical thinking to solve problems. Demming and Duran went to Japan and talked with economic leaders. Developed group problem solving (now called quality circle). After Japan began dominating the economic market, Demming and Duran were hired by Harvard to train U.S. 1. Nine characteristics of a small group (objective 1)(A,V) physical evidence a. communication takes place b. share same space c. time limitations/expectations d. size varies (usually 6 to 8 people) indirect characteristics e. interdependence f. norms- similar to miniature cultures for dress, tardies, etc. g. structured patterns- how group divides labor and roles taken on (becomes predictable) h. goals of group i. perceptions- who are insiders/outsiders small group comm 3 2. Minimum of 5 roles must be present (objective 2,3)(A,V) a. task leader b. social-emotional leader c. tension releaser d. information provider e. central negative (devil’s advocate) 3. Norming (objective 1)(A,V) a. once a climate is established its difficult to change it. Therefore, first meeting of group is vital. b. how does the group conform or bond 4. Conflict (objective 1)(A,V) 5. Cohesion (objective 1)(A,V) a. built through traditions and acknowledging group b. four variables 1. communication interaction 2. roles 3. norms 4. conflict 6. Productivity (objective 1)(A,V) a. use time wisely b. find problem and solution 7. Consensus (objective 1)(A,V) a. unanimous agreement 1. collaboration 2. leader should not force consensus 8. Member Satisfaction (objective 1)(A,V) a. three levels 1. enjoyment of interaction 2. quality of product produced judged as good 3. pride 9. Three types of groups (objective 1)(A,V) (task, conscience raising, encounter) a. task 1. two types of group tension a. primary- social tension b. secondary- marked by group getting loud 2. four stages of a task group a. stage one: orientation- where primary small group comm 4 tension emerges b. stage two: secondary tension emerges- conflict, hidden agendas, role conflict (wants to be leader), ideation conflict (getting ideas on the table). c. stage three: some primary and secondary tension still remains- hostility, role conflict, people start saying “how do we solve this?” “ . . . won’t work.” must learn to find the problem not the solution. d. stage four: once a decision is made consensus begins and individuals relate to one another. b. conscience raising ex: feminist groups 1. any group that take out cultural norms and replace them 2. build team pride 3. tell a lot of stories and testimonials 4. there’s an us and a them (enemy) c. encounter groups 1. enhances sensitivity 2. facilitates need to be trained a. dependence b. interdependence 10. problems a group must deal with (objective 4)(A,V) a. trust b. self disclosure 1. being used against us. remember self disclosure in a group is appropriate when done at right time and trust has been built. c. work isn’t equally shared 1. unequal credit distribution causes distrust d. gender is big issue in groups 1. secretary/recorder or social-emotional roles used to be assigned to women. These stereo types are being broken down. e. nonverbal 1. power seats, hot seats, etc. f. time constraints small group comm 5 11. How to improve a group (objective 5)(A,V) a. provide for emotional security of the group b. risk self disclosure c. stereotypical judgment should be avoided d. do a lot of perception checking e. find out what nonverbal communication means f. avoid “you” messages and use “I” 12. Four things a good leader must have (objective 2,3)(A,V) a. contribute ideas 1. groups goal above own goals b. excellent at seeking ideas 1. communicate well and often with group while demonstrating good work habits. c. nonthreatening person 1. genuine concern for members d. know when to be a leader of the group 13. Group Should (objective 1,4,5)(A,V) a. set goal, agenda or strategy b. open and honest evaluation of ideas c. verbal consensus d. regulate participation e. create climate f. take responsibility for conflict and manage it. Student Accountability A. Checking for Understanding (objective 1-5)(A,V,T/K) 1. Questions during lesson 2. Class discussion 3. Student questions 4. In class activities B. Guided practice (objective 1-5)(A, V, T/K) 1. feedback for activities 2. review small group comm 6 C. Independent Practice (objective 1-5)(A, V, T/K) 1. RG activity (see attachment) 2. Hostage activity (see attachment) 3. Who will lead? activity (see attachment) 4. Height Activity (see attachment) 5. Murder Mystery activity (see attachment) 6. Bank Robbery activity (see attachment) 7. Role activity (see attachment) 8. Perception activity (see attachment) 9. Getting Your First Job activity (see attachment) D. Transfer and Application 1. Participation in activities (objective 1-5)(A, V, T/K) IV. Closure A. Group Presentation (objective 1-5)(A, V, T/K) small group comm 7 RG ACTIVITY The RG activity is structured to show that competition between small groups can cause the disintegration of productivity and success. It is vital that you do not tell them this prior to the activity. Allow the understanding to develop naturally and they will never forget. This is one of the most memorable activities I ever experienced as a student. On the graph that you write on the board you will need to know what everything represents, but your students are to figure out some of it on their own. You should tell them that each group will place a vote for either “R” or “G” each round. If a round has a capital D next to the round number they are required to send a representative of their choice to meet with the others in a private discussion. Their choice of representative might change during the activity it they would like. Each representative will report the content of the meeting to their group as soon as it concludes. DO NOT TELL THEM THEY SHOULD COOPERATE WITH THE OTHER GROUPS. Simply remind them regularly that they want their company to make money and that it is their objective to figure out how to make that happen. Once you collect the votes for each round give each group the amount they should receive by comparing the votes to the graph provided below. Reduce confusion by requiring them to place their group number on each vote. Example: group I voted “R” while the others voted “G”. Group I will receive +300 under roman numeral I for that round. As the rounds progress avoid drawing attention to the total column. That will be vital during the discovery portion of the assignment. If the round has “x2” beside it, each group will receive double their score. In other words, in the example above group I would have received +600 if the vote had taken place during round 2. After these rounds are concluded quietly add all columns down. Then talk about if any groups made in money. (They probably didn’t, but it can happen) The next step is to add columns across and then total it. The result is usually zero or a negative number. Now is the time to make the connections for them. Explain that they are all departments or “small groups” within a corporation. The only way a corporation can be successful is if all parts work toward the betterment of the whole. Even if the grand total results in a positive number be sure to point out they would have been more successful if they had worked together. Then talk about climate and group interaction. You will find that this activity creates an extremely stressful climate and a great deal of conflict and anger. Now you can start discussing how groups should interact positively, conflict management, and cooperation. If you have never conducted this type of highly emotional activity with students, you might want to attempt it with your peers first. The experience of handling the conflicts will help you guide your students. This may sound risky, but if you remain in control and alert to all the things the class can discuss in reflection you will have a huge impact. PLEASE REMEMBER THIS IS INTENDED FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS. I have never used this activity with a young group and it could backfire with them. I have no base of comparison to offer my opinion on the implementation with younger students. It has a huge success rate with high school students because they must be shown abstract relations between people. small group comm 8 RG ACTIVITY * Please use in a classroom that has already established a positive learning environment. Teacher’s instructions: divide students into four groups write information on the board explain: voting, scoring, discussion times begin activity- do not interfere! collect votes and place on the board. don’t tally. remind students when discussion time arrives provide feedback Materials: each group will need a pen or pencil each group needs 10 slips of paper Write on the board GGGG rounds I II III IV totals G= +50 1 2D GGGR 3x2 G= -100 4D R= +300 5 6 GGRR 7D G= -100 8x2 R= +100 9 10x10 GRRR totals G= -300 R= +100 RRRR R= -50 small group comm 9 MOON CRASH ACTIVITY teacher’s instructions: 1. have students complete handout individually. 2. assign the students to groups. 3. explain consensus 4. do not interfere while students work to come to a consensus. 5. provide feedback You are in a space crew originally scheduled to rendezvous with a mother ship on the lighted surface of the moon. Mechanical difficulties, however, have forced your ship to crash-land at a spot some 200 miles from the rendezvous point. The rough landing damaged much of the equipment aboard. Since survival depends on reaching the mother ship, the most critical items available must be chosen for the 200-mile trip. The fifteen items left intact after landing are listed below. Your task is to rank them in terms of their importance to your crew in its attempt to reach the rendezvous point. Place number 1 by the most important item, number 2 by the second most important, and so on through the least important, number 15. _____ Box of matches _____ Food concentrates _____ 50 feet of nylon rope _____ Parachute silk _____ Portable heating unit _____ Two .45 caliber pistols _____ One case of dehydrated milk _____ Two 100-pound tanks of oxygen _____ Stellar map of the moon’s constellation _____ Life raft containing CO2 bottles _____ Magnetic compass _____ 5 gallons of water _____ Signal flares _____ First-aid kit containing injection needles _____ Solar-powered FM receiver-transmitter Follow-Up: Raise the usual questions about organizing, what roles different members played, and stumbling blocks encountered during the discussion. Then focus on the difficulties inherent in arriving at complete agreement: How did the group go about dealing with conflicts and disagreements? Which members felt they had to give in to group opinion? Was this good or bad? Would taking a vote on each item have been easier? small group comm 10 Would it have been as effective? Would group member satisfaction suffered? Why is vote-taking necessary? Is it always desirable? small group comm 11 WHO WILL LEAD? ACTIVITY teacher’s instructions: 1. have students complete handout individually. 2. assign the students to groups. 3. do not interfere while students work to come to a consensus. 4. provide feedback Below you will find a list of people surviving a terrible accident at sea. 25 individuals from the ship managed to climb into a life boat. Most of the survivors are women and children. The lifeboat is 1500 miles from the nearest land. It has food and water enough to last 3 weeks and it is supplied with oars, a sail and a compass. The storm which brought about the accident has driven them far off the normal shipping lanes. The seas are now still and the dangers have passed. The problem facing the group is survival. Which of the seven persons will rise to a position of leadership and why? (You must have a group consensus) Mr. Makay: 39 years old, wealthy, self-made man. He owns and directs a large construction company that he has personally put together in the last 17 years. Mrs. Makay: 43 years old, holds a Ph.D. in political science and is president of NOW. Reverend Brown: 55 years old, a deeply religious man who has risen to national prominence because of his leadership within the church. Herr Wahl: A German sea captain, who cannot speak English. He cannot understand the others nor can they understand him. He is 36 years old. Mr. Noffsingerin: 33 years old, a boatswain for the past 15 years, 13 of which were spent at sea. Mr. Hewes: An official of a large labor union who has fought his way up through the ranks as an organizer. Mr. McCain: Well known radio and T.V. personality. He is equally well known as a yachtsman and a playboy. He is 35 years old. small group comm 12 HOSTAGES ACTIVITY teacher’s instructions: 1. have students complete handout individually. 2. assign the students to groups. 3. do not interfere while students work to come to a consensus. 4. provide feedback Instructions: A plane has been hijacked! The hijackers offer to release four passengers to the US embassy. In return for this gesture, the government of neutral Hokustan will agree to allow the plane to land at its airport and refuel. The captors insist, however, that U.S. authorities select the four to be released from the following list. The President has given your group the job of making the selection. If you do not select the people, the hijackers are perfectly willing to allow the plane to run out of gas and crash, killing all passengers. You must reach a decisions by consensus, and you must do so within the next half hour. You may assume the terrorists are honest about releasing those who are chosen to be released. You do not know what will happen to those who remain on the plane, but given what is known about this particular terrorist group, you expect most or all of the remaining hostages probable will die. Quickly rank the following passengers in the order in which you would choose them to be released. Place the number 1 by the hostage you would save first, the number 2 by the one you would save second, and so on through number 8. Hostages 1. Brenda Jones, age 27, has three children by three different fathers, none of whom she has married. She loves her children, however, and has resolved to get her life together for the children’s sake. Her mother is caring for them so Brenda can attend a six-week training program for women who lack job skills. 2. Fr. John O’Brien, 65 years old, is in excellent health. A roman Catholic priest, he has dedicated his life to working with the poor in an inner-city ghetto. He is taking this flight to arrange for funding and manpower that will enable him to set up a program to carry on his life’s work after he becomes unable to work. Should he die at this time, the work probable will end. 3. Juan Garcia is 45. He has a history of heart trouble and might not survive the stress of a prolonged hostage situation. He is a wealthy businessman whose estate would easily provide for his wife and three young children, even if he should die in the hijacking. His business, however, which has employed and given dignity to may Hispanic people, probably would fold without his vision and drive, putting many people out of work who will not be able to find jobs. 4. Elijah Brown is 52. He did time in jail for armed robbery. Since his release two years small group comm 13 ago, he has worked hard, gone to school part time, and supported his invalid wife and youngest child (the only one remaining at home). There would be no money to provide for his family in event of his death. 5. Betsy Bates is 29 and a well-known and successful model. Married a little over a year to rock star Duke, she has just found out that she is pregnant, a discovery she views with mixed feelings. 6. Congresswoman Jan Perkins is 37. Widowed young, when her husband died in Vietnam, she has devoted her life to politics. She has been an effective and eloquent worker for peace and for the rights of women and minorities. Her death would be a crushing emotional blow to her elderly parents, though she has provided for them financially in her will. Perkins is widely seen as the most likely candidate for the first woman president of the United States. 7. D.B. Calhoun is 43. Little is known about him, except that he is a very bigoted person with an unstable employment history. He reads Soldier of Fortune and similar magazines, and dreams of himself as an armchair mercenary. It is quite possible that he will try some hostile action against the hijackers and ruin any chance of getting the remaining hostage out alive. 8. Andrea Ohms, 19, she is already a distinguished pianist, having started performing professionally at age 8. Her performances give immense pleasure to thousands of people around the world. She is engaged to be married. small group comm 14 Learning Discussion Through Games by Gene Stanford and Barbara Dodds Stanford 1. Game pg. 22 (small group communication) Objectives: During the activity the student will: a. demonstrate organization and problem solving skills. b. express opinion through participation. c. verbally respond in determining individual consensus. Activity: Students are seated in a circle with the teacher standing outside the group. Only the following directions are to be given: You are to calculate the average height in feet and inches of the members of this group. If a member does not know his exact height, he may give an estimate. The group must agree on the answer and appoint someone to submit it to the teacher. Repeat directions until all students understand them. Then step away and do not talk to the group until the problem is solved. Follow-Up: Careful discussion of the process used for solving the problem will help students understand possible ways of organizing a group. Focus discussion on questions such as: What slowed the group down? What problems did it have in organizing? Did anyone take over leadership? Is this good or bad? Was a leader needed? What responsibility did each member have? How could the group solve the problem faster next time? Second Try: Variations might include calculating the average weight of the members, solving a riddle, or answering subject matter questions. small group comm 15 2. Game pg. 23 (small group communication) Objectives: During the activity the student will: a. demonstrate organization and problem solving skills. b. express opinion through participation. c. verbally respond in determining individual consensus, ideas, and clues. d. demonstrate use of roles in small group communication. Activity: Students are seated in a circle with the teacher standing outside the group. The teacher gives the following explanation: Today we are going to play another game that will help improve your discussion skills. Each of the pieces of paper I am holding contains one clue that will help you solve a murder mystery. If you put all the facts together, you will be able to solve the mystery. You must find the murderer, the weapon, the time of the murder, the place of the murder, and the motive. Any time you think you know the answers and the group agrees on the guess, you may tell me. I will only tell you whether all five answers are right or wrong. If part of your answers are incorrect, I will not tell you which of your answers are wrong. You may organize yourselves in any way you like. You may not, however, pass your clues around or show them to anyone else, and you may not leave your seats to walk around the group. All sharing of clues and ideas must be done verbally. Clues: When he was discovered dead, Mr. Kelley had a bullet hole in his thigh and a knife wound in his back. Mr. Jones shot at an intruder in his apartment building at 12:00 midnight. The elevator operator reported to police that he saw Mr. Kelley at 12:15 a.m. The bullet taken from Mr. Kelley’s thigh matched the gun owned by Mr. Jones. Only one bullet had been fired from Mr. Jones’ gun. When the elevator man saw Mr. Kelley, Mr. Kelley was bleeding slightly, but he did not seem too badly hurt. A knife with Mr. Kelley’s blood on it was found in Miss Smith’s yard. The knife found in Miss Smith’s yard had Mr. Scott’s fingerprints on it. Mr. Kelley had destroyed Mr. Jones’ business by stealing all his customers. The elevator man saw Mr. Kelley’s wife go to Mr. Scott’s apartment at 11:30 p.m. small group comm 16 The elevator operator said that Mr. Kelley’s wife frequently left the building with Mr. Scott. Mr. Kelley’s body was found in the park. Mr. Kelley’s body was found at 1:30 a.m. Mr. Kelley had been dead for one hour when his body was found, according to a medical expert working with the police. The elevator man saw Mr. Kelley go to Mr. Scott’s room at 12:25 a.m. It was obvious from the condition of Mr. Kelley’s body that it has been dragged a long distance. The elevator man went off duty at 12:30 a.m. Miss Smith saw Mr. Kelley go to Mr. Jones’ apartment building at 11:55 p.m. Mr. Kelley’s wife disappeared after the murder. Police were unable to locate Mr. Scott after the murder. When police tried to locate Mr. Jones after the murder, they discovered that he had disappeared. The elevator man said that Miss Smith was in the lobby of the apartment building when he went off duty. Miss Smith often followed Mr. Kelley. Mr. Jones had told Mr. Kelley that he was going to kill him. Miss Smith said that nobody left the apartment building between 12:25 a.m. and 12:45 a.m. Mr. Kelley’s blood stains were found in Mr. Scott’s car. Mr. Kelley’s blood stains were found on the carpet in he hall outside Mr. Jones’ apartment. small group comm 17 Answer: After receiving a superficial gunshot wound from Mr. Jones, Mr. Kelley went to Mr. Scott’s apartment where he was killed by Mr. Scott with a knife at 12:30 a.m. because Mr. Scott was in love with Mr. Kelley’s wife. Follow-Up: Help student to understand what caused the problems the group had in solving the mystery. If they were relatively successful in completing the work quickly, discuss the reasons for their success. Questions should focus first on the skills learned earlier: Was a leader needed? How was time lost in getting organized? Why was it ineffective for everyone to try to talk at once? Finally students should discuss the need for the group to encourage everyone to contribute and to consider the contributions carefully. What problems arose because some people didn’t present their clues? What should they have done? In what ways did some members ignore the clues of others? Was any attempt made to urge all persons to present their clues? Did anyone ever forget a clue and make an incorrect inference? Were all members involved in solving the problem? Did anyone monopolize the discussion? Second Try: clues listed on page 28-30. small group comm 18 3. Game pg. 42 (small group communication) Objectives: During the activity the student will: a. demonstrate organization and problem solving skills. b. express opinion through participation. c. verbally respond in determining individual consensus, ideas, and clues. d. demonstrate knowledge of roles in small group communication through performance and evaluation of peer performance. Activity: (titles of the roles may need to be altered to coincide with lecture) Explain in some detail each of the following roles that a group member can assume at various times during a discussion: Initiator Helps start discussion Organizes the group Introduces new ideas Raises new questions Clarifier Asks for additional information Requests definition of vague terms Raises questions about pervious contributions Summarizer Brings group up to date on their progress Indicates where they stand on the issue Points out areas of agreement and disagreement Evaluator Keeps group posted on how well they are attaining their goals Points out weaknesses in process Then give the group a topic to discuss, either a controversial issue or a subject-matter problem. Distribute slips of paper, each of which indicates one of the following roles the recipient is to play: Initiator Clarifier Summarizer Evaluator Observer (moves outside the group to watch) Contributing Group Member Instruct students not to tell anyone the role they have been assigned to play; they are to reveal it through their behavior during the discussion. After the discussion, the group tries to guess who was playing each of the roles. Follow-Up: Discuss the ways in which these roles help the group to accomplish its goals. Ask for suggestions as to how the roles might be played more effectively. Let observers share their impressions of how the group worked. small group comm 19 Second Try: Repeat the procedure with a new topic and permit students to play different roles. small group comm 20 8. Perception (not from a source) (interpersonal communication) Objectives: During the activity the student will: a. analyzing problems associated with inadequate instructions. b. express the emotions they felt during the activity in the follow-up. c. draw picture to illustrate their understanding of speaker. d. give physical descriptions accurately. Activity: One student will describe an abstract drawing while hidden from view of the rest of the class. Listeners will attempt to recreate the original drawing based on the speaker’s instruction. This activity illustrates how our words can be misinterpreted without our knowledge during communication exchanges. small group comm 21 10. Getting Your First Job pg. 17 (interpersonal communication) Objectives: During the activity the student will: a. discuss possible improvements for interview success. b. express themselves as clearly as possible, avoiding communication errors. c. write a list of possible interview questions. Activity: Discuss the following: Have you ever been interviewed for a job? What is the purpose of such an interview? What type of impression would you try to give? Then have students make a list of possible interview behaviors. Discuss which of these are rituals. For example, shaking hands, “Won’t you be seated?” taking turns speaking, asking and answering questions rather than conversing, “Thank you for coming in.” Divide the class into pairs; one member is the interviewer, one the interviewee. Allow ten to fifteen minutes for the pairs to prepare questions and answers. Bring the group together and role play one or two of the interviews. Discuss each on the basis of openings, closings, manner in which questions were asked or answered, and amount of information obtained. Follow-Up: How did the interviews begin and end? What rituals did we see? Would other strategies have been better, or were these rituals helpful? How do you know when a greeting, or other phrase or action, is a ritual and when it isn’t?
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