chapter  Nine
14 Pages

Group dynamics in school

WithBiddy Youell, Hamish Canham

As human beings, we belong to groups that identify us, such as our gender or ethnicity. We belong to family units, and we are predisposed to seek out membership of other groups that help to define us and give meaning to our lives. Groups also challenge our capacity to cooperate with others, to be realistic about our own strengths and weaknesses, to recognize the contribution of others, and to tolerate difference. A school institution is made up of a large number of groups, each with its own task and each with its own identity. Each group is connected in complicated ways to other groups and to the institution as a whole. It is interesting to pause and think for a moment about how many groups the average adult human being belongs to in any one working day. A child’s progress through a typical school day might be seen to be as demanding in group life, if not more so.