The following points highlight the five main conditions for improving group behaviour in schools. The conditions are: 1. Continuous Existence of the School Community 2. Ideals of the School 3. Interaction of the Group with other Groups 4. Group Mneme 5. Group Horme.
Condition # 1. Continuous Existence of the School Community:
A crowd has no continuous existence. But a school can exist continuously. It is true that the students remain there only for a few years, but with the continuous pouring in and dropping out of the students, the school as a whole remains permanent. In fact the body of teachers is more or less permanent.
The leader of the school, the headmaster is for a number of years. Even if all of them change, no part of human equipment of the school remains stationary for a long time, the material equipment, the building, the compound, the library, the laboratories etc., remain the same. In the interests of the building a nice culture, good traditions and a popularity in the region, it is necessary that there must be greater continuity in the presence of formal members of the school.
It is from this point of view that the actions of the educational authorities in the form of frequent transfer of headmaster and staff can be criticised on educational grounds. For building school traditions, transfers are a hindrance.
From the point of view of continuity, residential schools are better than boarding school, in so far as they have the power to establish community spirit and espirit-de-corps. Residential universities, residential colleges and residential schools have a great advantage over the affiliating universities, day colleges and day schools respectively. Establishment of more and more boarding-houses attached to schools and colleges has an educational and psychological significance, apart from its necessity for students coming from far off places.
Condition # 2. Ideals of the School:
Mere bodily presence of the students in a school is insufficient. The students must be together in spirit. For this purpose, the school must have some traditions and ideals for which it stands. As says McDougal, “In the minds of the mass of the members of the group, there shall be formed some adequate idea of the group, of its nature, composition, functions and capacities, and of the relations of the individuals to the group.” Thus the members of the school-society must have a group consciousness, and for this purpose the school authorities should place before them the aims and ideals of the school and of the community.
Condition # 3. Interaction of the Group with other Groups:
Group consciousness can be fostered if the students of a particular school come into contact with students of other schools, through tournaments, declamation contests, youth festivals and district-wise competitions. Group-feeling runs high when one school competes with another school. Such a group consciousness is a healthy affair. It is criticised only when it is abused in the form of development of jealousy and unhealthy rivalry towards other schools.
The interaction between schools can take three forms:
(b) Competition, and
Evidently conflict is to be avoided through tact, sagacity and proper dealings and guidance by the staff. Friendly rivalry or competition between schools is educationality helpful. Cooperation between a number of schools in undertaking certain projects jointly has a greater advantage. This leads to the expansion of group consciousness.
Even inside the school, healthy interaction can be fostered by having functions, debates, declamations and other competition team-basis or house- basis. Group consciousness can be made more permanent if meetings of old- boys association take place at least annually. An alumni will take pride in the almamater.
Condition # 4. Group Mneme:
“There must exist a body of traditions and customs and habits in the minds of the members of the group determining their relation with one another and to the group as a whole.” In other words group memories of the school must be preserved through setting school traditions, framing permanent rules and regulations, prescribing a particular uniform for all the students, maintaining a certain code of conduct, celebrating alumni meetings and establishing a follow-up service.
Condition # 5. Group Horme:
A school group needs proper drive, enthusiasm and common goal. For this purpose efficient leadership for the entire school, and separately for each constituent of the school is needed. In the absence of proper leadership, the school community can go astray, and the group behaviour can degenerate into such unsocial behaviour as strikes, demonstration, raising slogans, disobedience and mischief mongering. ‘A social group is capable of heights of heroism as well as the depths of villainy.’
Therefore the headmaster must act as a supreme guide and leader. The teachers must act as advisors to the various societies and clubs in the school. They must be leaders of the student-leaders. The teacher can appoint monitors, prefects and presidents of the student societies. The leaders will lead the students, but under the active guidance of the teachers. Unguided self-government in a school can lead to disaster.