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ERIC Number: EJ888851
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Oct
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 6
ISSN: ISSN-1740-4622
"Making a Lion into a Pussycat": Working with Difficult Group Members
Eckstein, Nancy J.
Communication Teacher, v19 n4 p111-115 Oct 2005
Groups are defined as a small, interdependent group of individuals who share a common identity and interact with one another, usually face to face over time. While groups can be an effective way to explore issues and provide creative solutions to problems, rarely do members in groups get through the process without encountering a difficult group member. Problem areas may involve the development of poor group climate, group members' personality issues, confirming and disconfirming messages, defensive and supportive message behaviors, and different styles of communication. Because groups are often disbanded at the end of the semester, students have not had the opportunity, instruction, or practical application of theories that would enable the solving of inter-group conflicts. As a result, many students continue to experience dislike of small groups over the span of their careers. The presentation of interpersonal and small group concepts that can assist students in working with difficult group members is often theoretical in nature, and students may miss the practical application of these theories. Although instructors can offer students strategies to work with difficult group members, the effective interpersonal interaction and interdependence necessary for effective groups is often undermined by students' inability to recognize and apply these skills. This paper presents an activity that offers students a creative way to brainstorm, identify, problem-solve, and strategize the implementation of interpersonal communication skills when having to deal with difficult group members. The primary objective of this activity is to identify the role of interpersonal communication skills in the small group process. Secondary objectives include engaging students in a brainstorming activity and providing an opportunity for groups to determine ways to work with difficult group members. (Contains 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A