1. Characteristics of a group

1.13 Climate

Though it may be difficult to define, the social climate in which group discussion takes place is of enormous importance, and is usually fairly easy to sense. The tutor has an important role to play in creating a climate in which warmth, spontaneity, openness, and informality exist. A positive climate can not only release more energy and imagination in a group, but affect the way students feel about belonging to it. Questions to ask about climate include:

  • Was the group harmonious or dissonant, warm or cool, relaxed or tense, free or constrained?
  • Was there a sense of competition-how did it arise?
  • Did students seem willing to take risks - for example, express uncertainty and half-formed ideas, reject the tutor's ideas, express feelings?

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