GROUP THINK

Learning. In one way or another it’s been in the news.

In mid May, a father won a court case over the legality of keeping his child away from school for a family holiday. He need not pay the fine the judge ruled, given the child’s good attendance record.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-36277940

Earlier in May, a number of parents kept their primary age children out of school for a day in protest at new tests. 40,000 names appeared on the petition for the boycott. ‘Let our kids be kids’ was the refrain, they are being ‘over tested and over worked’

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-36188634

One mother said of the tests. ‘They are difficult and joyless’.

(‘Difficult and joyless’ could be applied to more than one business culture I know.)

The debate about these decisions continued for days. Was this selfishness? Or was this reclaiming a human view of our world?  Having seen how truly difficult the tests are (the schools minister Nick Gibb was unable to answer one of the SATs questions for 11 yr olds during an interview on BBC’s World at One. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03syxdv : it went viral, wrapped in a sort of ‘glee halo’) I can only agree with ‘difficult and joyless’.

And isn’t a holiday, a family experience, valuable?

I’m a ‘yes’, but. There’s another factor to consider.

And its not fashionable: the power of the group.

We say ‘group think’ to denote rigid, compliant, airless, habitual, self-protective thinking-in-a-rut.   But there is a power to a group that works brilliantly together to solve, create, imagine, and transform that is nothing less than magical.

A group needs time to form, and to establish the sort of real and healthy contact that makes thinking differently possible. A group needs time together.  A group can generate so much more than the individuals that create it.

Learning something in a group is a different experience to learning alone.  Yes, always rebel against joylessness. Yes, plough your own furrow if that’s needed to realise an opportunity.

But.

Remember your ‘group’. If it’s working well, your presence and contribution is an incalculable part of that group’s potential.

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