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Teaching & Advising > Group Work

Group Observation Sheet

You will shortly be observing the behavior of a group engaging in an assigned fishbowl activity.  Here are some things you may wish to look for:

  1. Getting started.

  • Was the group clear about its task?  If not, did the participants attempt to redefine it?

  • What method or procedures did they use to attack the problem?

  • How was the method adopted?  Through the insistence of one dominant person? By group consensus (that is, talking it through without voting)?  By voting?  By default?

  1. Group behavior.

  • What was the energy/enthusiasm level of the group?

  • Was there high interest in the problem?

  • What was the participation pattern?  Did some play it safe and hold back?  Did all participate with adequate consistency?  Was there a dominator?  Did people really listen to one another?  Did anyone interrupt others consistently?

  • What was the trust level in the group?  Did members share feelings openly?  Were members supportive (did they show concern, caring, etc.) of one another?

  • Was the group marked by high esprit de corps, cohesion?

  • Was there a leader in the group?  If so, did this leader help or hinder progress?

  1. Decision making.

  • Was a decision reached? If so, how?

  • Was the decision arrived at through consensus, bulldozing, voting, bargaining, or what?

  • Were members satisfied with the decision?

Source: Julius E. Eitington. The Winning Trainer, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2002.

"Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment 'as to the Lord.' It is our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done and any grace received."
-C.S. Lewis; Learning in Wartime, The Weight of Glory