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Making group decisions 
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
Post Making group decisions
I've been doing some lessons on group work and making decisions. It's been great and great for the students so I thought I'd share and maybe get some advice.

I start out by explaining how to introduce ideas:
- How about ...?/ What about ...?
- Why don't we ...?
- What do you think about ...?
- Let's ...

Then I go into accepting ideas:
- That sounds great.
- I like that idea.
- Let's do that.

rejecting ideas:
- That's a good idea, but ...
- I'd rather not.
- Let's keep thinking.

- It doesn't matter to me.
- I don't care.

I write these up on the board, starting with ideas and how to suggest something. I throw out some ideas for plans for tomorrow and then fill in the responses section for accepting, rejecting, and indifference as I get them from the students.

After that I give them a task to decide upon. The first few are generally easy.
- What game will we play at the end of class?
- What will we do tomorrow? (There's no school.)

Then we move on to bigger decisions, like planning a school trip, making a robot, making a movie, making a main character for a racing game.

This has been really helpful for all kinds of group discussions. My problem is the approach seems rather 'sink or swim.' I pretty much just make the list on the board and say 'Go!' They do OK, but it's pretty rough in the beginning. I'd prefer it was smoother.

Does anyone teach something like this? How do you or would you go about it?

The groups are junior high and high school students.

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Thu Nov 30, 2006 12:34 pm
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Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 3:35 pm
Posts: 119
Location: Yamaguchi, Japan
Are you thinking about how people should go about decision making and the way they should evaluate the choices etc.

If you are then De Bono has some good tools that can be used. Simple to follow but effective. One is the PMI. Plus, Minus, Interesting. There is a particular way to go about using it.

For a possible decision
First look at the positives that could result from that decision. Do this for 2 minutes or some specified timeframe. Only think of the positives as this helps the group direct their thinking in the same direction.
Second look at the negatives for the same period of time.
Then note any interesting outcomes.

If you jump between categories then your thinking also becomes more scattered and less likely to achieve a deep level. If your group seems to have run out of ideas after half the time, don`t jump on, spend the time to get to a deeper level of thought.

Is this the sort of thing you were thinking of. There is plenty more that can be used if you would like me to search out some good sites and resources we have used in the past. We used this as part of a thinking skills course aimed at 12/13 year old students in my school in NZ.

Thu Nov 30, 2006 4:04 pm
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