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DOCUMENT RESUME CG 009 647 Mathes, George E. · PDF file ED 103 773. AUTHOR TITLE. INSTITUTION. PUB DATE NOTE AVAILABLE FROM. EDRS PRICE. DESCRIPTORS. DOCUMENT RESUME. CG 009 647

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  • ED 103 773

    AUTHOR TITLE

    INSTITUTION

    PUB DATE NOTE AVAILABLE FROM

    EDRS PRICE DESCRIPTORS

    DOCUMENT RESUME

    CG 009 647

    Mathes, George E. Group Dynamics for Student Activities. New Directions for Student Councils, Number 9. National Association of Secondary School Principals, Washington, D.C. 68 57p.; For related documents, see CG 009 641-652 The National Association of Secondary School Principals, 1201 16th Street, N. N., Washington, D. C. 20036 (HC-$1.00)

    MF-$0.76 HC Not Available from EDRS..PLUS POSTAGE Evaluation Methods; *Group Behavior; *Group Dynamics; *Leadership Qualities; Pamphlets; *School Activities; Secondary Education; *Student Government; Theories; Youth Leaders

    ABSTRACT Group effectiveness is determined by many things. It

    takes long and exacting effort to discover the precise combination that unlocks the door to success. Although many of the forces that shape group behavior may be intangible, involving subtle factors of personality, much of group activity can be analyzed scientifically, Tu this booklet, the ninth of the New Directions for Student Councils series, the author introduces the reader to the complex study of forces that determine how well--or how badly -a group works. The study of group dynamics, no matter how scientific, will not provide an organization with all of the answers to all of its problems. The editors are confident, however, that if those who are involved in the student activities program understand factors that influence group work, the result can be more constructive group behavior and more dynamic activities. Topics under discussion in the booklet include: (1) group dynamics--whatls it all about, (2) effective student leadership, (3) popular theories about leaders, (4) forces active in student groups, (5) the effective student group, (6) group behavior, and (7) evaluating leadership skills. (Author/PC)

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  • Group Dynamics for

    Student Activities

    GEORGE E, MATHES

    Principal, Hill Junior High School Denver, Colorado

    THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SECONDARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS

    1201 Sixteenth Street, N,W,OWashington, 1:),C, 20036

  • Copyright 1968 THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SECONDARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS

    1201 Sixteenth Street, N,W. Washington, D.C. 20036

    One dollar per copy, Twenty percent discount for 10 or more copies. Special rates for 25 or more copies available upon request, Payment

    must accompany orders of five dollars or less.

    IIIMOOMMIM1-

  • Contents

    Foreword

    Group DynamicsWhat's It All About? 1

    Effective Student Leadership 5

    Popular Theories About Leaders , 11

    Forces Active in Student Groups 17

    The Effective Student Group 21

    Group Behavior 31

    Evaluating Leadership. Skills 41

    Some Practical Suggestions 47

    Bibliography 55

    iii

  • Foreword

    HAT MAKES a group tick? It is no easy question, for group effectiveness is determined by many things. It takes long and exacting effort to discover the precise combination that unlocks the door to success.

    Although many of the forces that shape group behavior may be intangible, involving subtle factors of personality, much of group activity can be analyzed scientifically. In Group Dynamics for Student Activities, the ninth of the New Directions for Student Councils series, the author introduces the reader to the complex study of forces that determine how wellor how badlya group works.

    The study of group dynamics, no matter how scientific, will not provide an organization with all of the answers to all of its problems. We r,re confident, however, that if those who are involved in the student activities program understand factors that influence group work, the result can be more constructive group behavior and more dynamic activities.

    We wish to express our special thanks to Mr, Mathes; to Gerald M, Van Pool, who, as NASSP Director of Student Activities, oversees the entire New Directions series; to Richard P. Harland, who edited the manuscript; and to Margaret Lilly, who typed the manuscript.

    ELLSWORTH TOMPKINS

    Secretary National Association of Student Councils Executive Secretary National Association of Secondary School Principals

    V

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  • Group Dynamics

    for Student

    Activities

    Group Dynamics- What's It All About?

    EVERY DAY, in every secondary school, students get together in groups for a variety of reasons: to join with teachers and administrators to solve problems of mutual. concern; to discuss current issues affecting them; to meet in recognized student ac- tivity groups such as student council or Chess Club; or to visit with friends in the halls or lunchroom.

    Sometimes these student groups identify and solve their prob- lems in a logical and orderly manner. They move with relative ease from one step to another until the goal has been reached. The students communicate and cooperate with each other; they recognize the forces operating within the group and cope with them effectively. Leadership for the group is democratic and widely shared. These groups continuously evaluate their goals, procedures, and outcomes. They improve as they mature.

    Other student groups are not so fortunate. The members of the group do not work well together. They experience fear and frustration. Conflict and tension become an expected part of every meeting. Individual needs and group goals are not realized and, as a result, interest and enthusiasm wane. Soon something happens to the group itself and for all practical pur- poses it no longer exists,

    Most groups will be found at varying points between these two extremes. Why is there this difference? Why are some groups more effective than others?

    To answer these questions, sociologists, psychologists, social

    1

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  • 2

    workers, and educators over the past twenty-five years have been studying scientifically individual and group behavior. Re- cently it has become an area of interest to more and more young people. The major function of this booklet is to apply what is known about group dynamics to typical high school students and youth groups. This material is addressed to those young people who seek to improve their own behavior as they work in student groups in American secondary schools.

    WH;.T Is A GROUP?

    First, just what is meant by the tern; "group"? A group exists whenever two or more individuals interact with and re- late to one another. As a high school student you are a member of many different groups: family, car pool, church youth group, student council, honor society, club, class, and probably many more. Each of these has a social structure somewhat different from a collection of individuals who might find themselves to- gether by chance in a supermarket or on the same bus. Groups generally have common goals which are understood by the members. They have a certain structure, which may be formal or informal, depending upon the nature of the group. They develop common ways of behaving when they are in the group. The members in time identify with each other and de- velop their own power structure and hierarchy of values. In summary, they are more than aggregate of individuals; they are a collection of people interacting purposefully with one another.

    WHAT IS MEANT BY "DYNAMICS"?

    The word "dynanics" is derived from a Greek word meaning forces or action. It refers to the constantly changing conditions in the groupthe forces, actions, reactions, conflicts, tensions, feelings, and the like that are evident within and among the

  • members of every student group at all times. It is this aspect of the groupthe dynamic aspects of individual and group be- havior in typical school-sponsored groupswith which we are most concerned in this pamphlet,

    WHAT IS "GROUP DYNAMICS"?

    Du, ; the past several years the term "group dynamics" has appeared with increasing frequency in the field of student activities. A review of the literature reveals a variety of mean- ings for the term. One reads about "group dynamics tech- niques" as though this were a new system to influence others. Others talk about "group dynamics" as if this were a magic powder which, when sprinkled lightly on a group, suddenly acts as a catalyst and solves all of the group's problems. Still others consider it a plot to do away with "rugged individualism" and replace it with what has been called "group-think." And, finally, we hear students asking: "Should we use group dynamics or parliamentary procedure for our meeting?" as if it were a method. None of these meanings is adequate.

    Essentially, the term "group dynamics" describes a branch of the behavioral sciences that researches and studies the forces present when individuals get together in groups. "Group dynamics" also describes what is happening in all groups at all times whether or not the participants recognize it. Our concern will focus on