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##### CHARACTERISTICS OF SMALL GROUP LEARNING

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**CHARACTERISTICS OF SMALL GROUP LEARNING**Raja C. Bandaranayake**CHARACTERISTICS OF A GROUP**• A collection of individuals • Who have a common purpose • And interactwith each other**CHARACTERISTICS OF AN EFFECTIVE GROUP**• Non-threatening atmosphere • Clear understanding of task • Participation by all • Pertinent contributions • Freedom to express views & feelings • Disagreements not suppressed • Lack of domination by leader or facilitator • Criticisms frank, open & constructive • Decisions by consensus • Assignments made, accepted and completed**STAGES OF GROUP DEVELOPMENT**• FORMING • Uncertainty • Getting acquainted • Laying down procedure • STORMING • Rebelling & differentiating • Conflicts as group influence resisted • NORMING • Establishing cohesiveness • Accepting commitment & task ownership • Setting norms for appropriate behaviour • PERFORMING • Functioning maturely & productively • Proficiency in goal achievement**SMALL GROUP ACTIVITIES: ADVANTAGES**• Permits more interaction • Facilitates evaluation • Students are active • Enables problem-solving**SMALL GROUP ACTIVITIES: DISADVANTAGES**• Costly in staff time • Physical resources required • Greatly influenced by total number of students • Requires more time in the schedule**PROBLEM 1**You are a teacher with a group of five students. Two members of the group are trying to be the leader of the group. In the process, they are arguing with each other, and the other group members are silent. You are concerned that the group is not achieving its task. What would you do?**PROBLEM 2**You are a teacher in a group of five students. One student is very silent, and has not contributed to the discussion, even though half the time allotted for the group activity has been spent. What would you do?**PROBLEM 3**You are a teacher in a group of ten students, meeting for the first time. The students have been given a topic one week ago to prepare for today’s discussion. However, there is total silence. What would you do?**PROBLEM 4**You are a teacher in a group of 6 students. One member is an aggressive, dominating individual, tries to control the group and direct attention to himself at the expense of accomplishing the group task. He is constantly critical, deflates others and keeps interrupting. What would you do?**PROBLEM 5**You are a teacher in a group of 4 students which has been meeting regularly for some time. One member constantly comes late to the group discussions and has occasionally failed to show up. He always gives an excuse for his tardiness or absence. He tells you that he is accomplishing the task in a different way from the rest of the group. What would you do?**PROBLEM 6**You are a teacher in a group of 6 students. One member is constantly blocking the progress of the group. He goes off at a tangent and talks about unrelated personal experiences. He continues to argue about a point which has just been resolved. What would you do?**A JOURNEY ON MARS: THE PROBLEM**Your group has just landed at Point A on Mars. This is your first visit, and you have a map with you. You wish to get from Point A to Point C, but you must pass through Point B, as there is no other road. The electrically powered extra-terrestrial vehicle (ETV) which you brought with you has enough power to last a journey of 20 hours only. You must be sure to come back to where your space capsule has landed, so that you can return to Earth. Otherwise you will be stranded on the inhospitable Mars surface indefinitely.Unfortunately, the map you have with you has Mars units on it, which makes it very difficult to work out your power situation. Distance is given in lutts and mipps, while time is indicated in wors and mirs. Before you left Earth you were given some instruction on Mars units. However, due to the extraordinarily long time it took you to reach Mars, each of you has forgotten some of the knowledge you gained from the Mars course. Fortunately, different members of your group remember different bits of knowledge.The cards which each of you has indicate the knowledge you possess. You can only solve your predicament by seeking relevant information, through asking relevant questions from each other. (Some of the information you have may be irrelevant to this particular problem). You should then be able to pool the information you have and determine whether you have enough power to travel to Point C through Point B, and back to the space capsule.How long will it take you to travel from A to C through B and back to A through B?**A JOURNEY ON MARS: INFORMATION1 lutt is equal to 20**kilometres4 lutts are equal to 1 mippThe distance from A to C, as the crow flies, is 5 mippsThe distance from A to B by road is 300 kilometresThe distance from B to C by road is 10 luttsIt will take your group half an hour to complete your work at Point C1 mir is equal to 4 minutesThere are 120 mirs in 1 worThe average speed at which you can travel from A to B is 10 mipps per worIt will take you 5 hours to travel from B to C**A JOURNEY ON MARS: INFORMATION (continued)On the return**journey from C to A through B, it will take you one hour less than the onward journey from A to C through BThere are no crows on MarsThere are no petrol stations on MarsThe space capsule has taken 1200 days to reach Mars from EarthThe return journey from Earth to Mars will take 100 days less than the journey from Earth to MarsThere are 60 minutes in 1 hourThe road from A to B is flat and straightThe road from B to C is hilly and windingThere are 1.6 kilometres in a mileThe batteries in your ETV can only be recharged in the space capsule**A JOURNEY ON MARS: THE SOLUTIONA to B= 300 km @ 10 mipp per**wor = 300 km @ 40 lutts per 120 mirs = 300 km @ 800 km per 480 minutes = 300 km @ 800 km per 8 hours = 300 km @ 100 km per hour=3 hoursB to C= 5 hoursTime for work at C=0.5 hoursC to B to A = (5+3-1) =7 hoursTotal time taken= 15.5 hours