Action Learning Blog 4
On this week’s lecture we had a group presenting a topic on honoring differences. The tools and techniques used to project their message were casting play and music. What was quite evident with this topic was enormous attachment that people exhibit about their culture and how much is identity a pillar of strength for them.
This brought back the group dynamics experience. I recall that in my group we initially had a problem dealing with the way we will approach our topic and how to present it. It was very clear that we had different perspective as individual members of the group. This was precisely because we have different experiences informing our different approaches and at the end of the day in one of our meeting we were uncertain about the way forward and could not take decision on the matter. This was a clear case of embracing differences.
In normal group situations including my team I could see three dimensions of disclosure always visible. The public or visible arena became clear. I recall that in one of the group meeting at work there was a gentlemen who approached things differently, he wanted to be dominant in the group because he wanted to be seen as having leadership skills. He could not take other people’s point of view but only his own. During tea break I spoke to him trying to understand his intentions about dominating the discussions and not allowing other people’s point of view to be heard. He could not give me a straight forward answer. When we were doing group feed backs, he volunteered and provided a feedback for our group at the end he said that all the ideas he presented were his and that he has been guiding our group in the discussion. This angered members of our group.
The private and hidden arena is another dynamic of the group discussions. This is exposed when some members of the group are quite in the discussion. They hold back to their thoughts and feelings about the matter at hand. This sometimes happens, especially, when you meet new people in a group to solve a particular problem. You tend to think that sometimes my experience will not be necessary in this group. This is so because you sometimes think that your beliefs, assumptions and experiences are not required by your group because they have enough information to make a decision.
Regarding the unconscious arena or blind spot, it only becomes evident to me when someone in a group speak ill on the matter of personal attachment. When that happens, I normally recall lots of unpleasant experience that raises my emotions. This clearly indicates that there are some issues that are still not healed. This will put me in a particular situation that makes me have deep thoughts about my experiences.
The Johari Window is one of the excellent tools that make an individual to reflect back or basically conduct self assessment. This is very true because when you meet people and you have a general discussion about general matters affecting our society you will only get a similar response. But when you get deeper on matters relating to your personal staff, the person you talk to is likely to give you advice on the same matter based on his/her experience or someone’s experience known to him or her. I was once a new learner in a new school. When I entered classroom I greeted the teacher and the same by the teacher. When it was lunch time I sat alone and decided to try make friends with other learners. During the development of our friendship we began to release more information about our experiences and as a result we began to know each other very well. My friend could tell me about things that I’m not capable of doing and interestingly I had always thought that I was capable of doing them. And I realised that there are certain aspect of myself that I needed to address in order for me to grow.
During this class I learnt a lot from our lecturer who advised us to be always open minded about issues. She told us that it is very important to communicate well and back up your communication with data. I also learnt from her that assumptions are neutral, they might be true or false I need to find evidence to be able to make conclusions. She indicated that the best method for dealing with large group in facilitation is to create a shell layer. It is not the best to point at people for answering questions, if you single out people you embarrass them. It is best to ask for volunteers when you need some one to answer question especially for the answer that could possibly be known by everyone.