Page 33 - In_at_the_Deep_End_Document
P. 33

WHAT CAN I DO WHEN A STUDENT OVER-DOMINATES THE GROUP?
This is a frequent occurrence. Sometimes the causes are innocent enough - enthusiasm, knowing a lot about the topic, and so on. One or more of the following tactics may help you to balance things out...
• Agree collectively appropriate ground-rules at the start
of small-group work. It can be useful to discuss leadership and followership - making the point that in many small-group situations in real life, too many or too dominant leaders can mitigate against success, and that everyone needs to be able to be a good follower for at least some of the time. This isn’t a reality show where only one can win!
• Re-arrange group membership regularly. This means that any domineering students are moved around the cohort so that the same one doesn’t impact on other students for too long.
• Intervene  rmly but powerfully. For example, after the excessively dominant student comes to a pause, ask “Let’s provide a chance for someone else now to add to the discussion please?”
• Have a quiet word. Do this with the student concerned outside the group context, for example, giving suggestions about ‘air time’ and allowing everyone’s views to be heard. Help them to understand the bene ts of being effective in a group context in terms of future employability and life skills
• Change the dynamic. Appoint the domineering student as chairperson for a particular activity, with the brief not to make any input on that task, but to coordinate everyone else’s thinking.
• Be aware and deal with domination with sexist or racist overtones. Make it clear that this will not be tolerated, and that Heriot-Watt is an institution that values the inputs of
all students equally. It can be helpful to situate this in the wider context of appropriate behaviours and attitudes for participation in learning at Heriot-Watt.
FURTHER READING
Exley, K. and Dennick, R. (2004) Small group teaching: Tutorials, seminars and beyond, Routledge
Jaques, D. and Salmon, G. (2007) Learning in groups: A handbook for face-to-face and online environments. Routledge.
LEARNING + TEACHING academy | IN AT THE DEEP END 33


































































































   31   32   33   34   35