In this article we will discuss about the various educational implications of group behaviour.
1. School as a social group:
School itself is a miniature community consisting of a body of students and a body of teachers, both having a common goal i.e., education. Every school has got its traditions, aims and goals which bind its members, and moulds them in a particular manner.
2. School behaviour as a group behaviour:
The school presents all the conditions which are conducive to group behaviour. The pupils sit together in the class, discuss together instructional matter, play together in the field, organise together the curricular activities and do all such activities in the combined manner. They get suggestion from each other sympathies with each other and imitate each other. The pupils, again, get suggestion from the teachers and imitate them. The teachers have sympathy with the students and they are bound with them through filial love.
Secondly, the social aim of the education is achieved through a desirable group behaviour. The school imparts the needed social training so that the pupils, grow up as responsible citizens, and imbibe the citizenship traits of cooperation, toleration, mutual sympathy, philanthropy, communal harmony, patriotism and national consciousness. School is a miniature centre for social living.
3. Group work in the schools:
The group psychology has revealed that individual teaching with all its merits of paying individual attention and remedial teaching, is one-sided technique, and needs seriously to be supplemented by group introduction. The existence of a school is not to be justified on the grounds of economy and convenience in the sense that a number of students get instruction at the same time.
The social group of a school is itself an educative agency, and the education of a child under the ablest tutor at home will remain incomplete unless he joins that social group. Apart from the point of economy convenience, there are a number of subjects and parts of the curriculum, where group-teaching or group-work is essential.
All such instances are listed below:
(i) For inspirational subjects:
For inspirational subjects like Art, music, Poetry and Literature, large classes are a source of enthusiasm to the teacher as well as audience of students. ‘Large numbers bring with them the possibility of a vigorous collective mind which will, by sympathy, suggestion and imitation, become one with the teacher, catching his ideas and enthusiasm’. The speaker enjoys the thrill of speaking to a large audience.
The member of a large audience feels greater enthusiasm and comes under the sway of a ‘halo effect’ associated with the large gathering. Great orators always preferred larger gatherings. Larger their audience, greater enthusiasm, and greater the awe-inspiration that affect the members of the audience.
(ii) Moral and religious teaching:
Moral and religious teaching is best imparted through collective instruction. In fact, morality has no meaning apart from the acceptance of certain ways of acting by a group. Hence it is the group that will accept the moral code, and not the individual. Religious inspiration through discourses and ceremonies have the best effect in a large gathering.
The fear of public opinion or opinion of the members of the school-society will impel the child to desist from unsocial activities. To him smoking is bad because it is not approved by the teachers. He may be or may not be knowing the hygienic disadvantages of smoking.
If any spirit or enthusiasm is to be created amongst the pupils, it can be created in a collective gathering. At the time of the recent Chinese aggression or Indo-Pak war, the students in their respective schools met collectively and volunteered for dedicated service to the nation.
One simple slogan raised by a student, acted and reacted upon the minds of all and created a strong force of enthusiasm, much greater than the sum total of enthusiasm of each student. Patriotism and traits of citizenship can best be fostered in the collective gathering of students.
(iii) Corporate life of the school:
Corporate life of the school can best be strengthened through group work. Organisation of prize-distribution function, foundation-day, sports meet, Independence day, Republic Day, Holi, Diwali, Declamations, Debates, inter- school tournaments and all such celebrations need deliberate planning with large audience.
This should be regarded as an opportunity for stimulating and strengthening the corporate life of the school. Alumni Association must meet at least annually, and the whole school community must gather very frequently for the development of espirit de corps.
(iv) Intellectual subjects:
Intellectual subjects, in certain measure, also can be taught in groups. Although intellectual subjects like Mathematics, Sciences, History, Geography, Civics and Economics can be taught in the class, and individual attention needs to be paid to each students regarding his progress and achievement. Groups techniques developed recently have been found very much effective in the learning process.
Educationists now-a-days emphasise group discussions, panel discussions, seminar readings, workshops and group- projects. The latest among these techniques is the ‘programmed instruction’. Apart from economy, instructions by movies and television, to a large gathering have been found effective in U.S.A.
(v) Sports, athletics and tournaments:
Sports, athletics and tournaments need groups of students, in the form of playing teams who will compete with each other in a spirit of sportsmanship and healthy emulation, and also the audience who will cheer up the players. Without the audience to back up, much of the charm of the tournaments is lost. The mere presence of the audience infuses a remarkable spirit and enthusiasm in the players.
(vi) Morning assembly:
Morning Assembly, which is usually utilised for a number of functions such as morning prayer, announcements, general lectures and students’ programmes is one of the best means of social and moral training of the students.