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close this bookAppropriate Community Technology - A Training Manual (Peace Corps; 1982; 685 pages)
View the documentThe Farallones Institute Rural Center
View the documentCHP International, INC.
View the documentPreface
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentIntroduction
close this folderPhase I: Introduction to training
View the documentPhase I Calendar
View the documentSession 1. Sharing perceptions of appropriate technology: an ice breaker
View the documentSession 2. Defining expectations of the appropriate community technology training program
View the documentSession 3. Group resource assessment
View the documentSession 4. Appropriate educational and learning processes part 1: non-formal education (nfe) and international community development work
View the documentSession 4. Appropriate educational and learning processes part 2: adult learning theory and how it is used in this training program
View the documentSession 5. Development of facilitation skills criteria
View the documentSession 6. Cross-cultural awareness and communication
View the documentSession 7. Hollow square
View the documentSession 8. Health in a cross-cultural context
View the documentSession 9. Community resource investigation
View the documentSession 10. An exercise in problem solving: formulating a plan for well-being
View the documentSession 11. Communication and listening skills
View the documentSession 12. Construction of earthen block molds: a focus on group dynamics
View the documentSession 13. Construction of earthen blocks
View the documentSession 14. Global energy issues
View the documentSession 15. Introduction to the evaluation process
View the documentSession 16. Evaluation and integration of training themes
Open this folder and view contentsPhase II: Earthen construction and fuel-saving cookstoves
Open this folder and view contentsPhase III: Pedal/treadle power
Open this folder and view contentsPhase IV: Solar water heaters
Open this folder and view contentsPhase V: Solar agricultural dryers
Open this folder and view contentsPhase VI: Concluding the program: The energy fair
Open this folder and view contentsAppendices
 

Session 12. Construction of earthen block molds: a focus on group dynamics

Total time:

4 hours

Objectives:

* To construct earthen block molds
* To examine and discuss the characteristic decision-mating styles within work groups
* To list some generalizations about effective group decision making

Resources:

* Attachment I-12-A: "Earthen Block Molds"
* Attachment I-12-B: "Effective Group Survey"
* Attachment I-12-C: "The Decision-Making Process"

Materials:

Scrap lumber (Scary x 10cm or 2.5cm x 10cm/2" x 4" or 1" x 4"), nails, hammers, saws, metric tape measures, newsprint and felt-tip pens

Procedures:

Step 1. (5 minutes)
Present the session objectives and outline the activities.

Trainer Notes

Explain that today's session is the first step towards the next day's activity of actually making earthen blocks.

Step 2. (5 minutes)
Distribute Attachment I-12-A: "Earthen Block Molds." Referring to the attachment, give instructions on how to construct the molds and present the tools and materials.

Trainer Notes

While giving the instructions, explain the following:

* The difference between individual and gang molds.
* The size of the mold depends upon the desired block size ant its intended use.
* The mold dimensions listed on the attachment are interior dimensions.
* The participants should practice building the molds using metric measurements.
* Molds should be rigid and easy to handle.

Step 2. (5 minutes)
Ask the participants So form construction groups consisting of three individuals and explain that:

* Each group should utilize one of the three possible dimensions given for individual mold construction.

* An attempt should be made to work cooperatively with the active participation of all group members.

Step 3. (1 hour)
Have the groups build the individual molds.

Trainer Notes

It is important to circulate among the construction groups while they are working to check the progress and to see if the mold is rigid and built to specifications.

Step 4. (15 minutes)
Ask each group to join with another and discuss members' observations of the group process, both on a technical and interpersonal level.

Trainer Notes

Explain that the groups should select one of their members to act as a facilitator for the discussion.

The following questions may serve as guidelines for the group discussions:

* How did group members react regarding various individual technical skill levels in the group?
* Was it a help or a hindrance to work with people of a different skill level?
* How were decisions made during the construction process?
* What factors contributed to or impeded mutuallyshared decision making?
* What would you do next time to help the group function more cooperatively?

Step 5. (15 minutes)
Have participants take a break.

Step 6. (1 hour)
Ask the participants to form groups of six and build a gang mold.

Step 7. (10 minutes)
Instruct each group to discuss the differences between working in small and large groups

Step 8. (10 minutes)
Distribute Attachment I12-B, "Effective Group Survey." Ask the participants to complete it and discuss their responses within the group.

Step 9. (10 minutes)
Distribute Attachment I-12C, "The Decision-Making Process," and allow time for the participants to read it.

Step 10. (15 minutes)
Ask each group to select a member to facilitate a discussion of the potentially positive (satisfying) or negative (frustrating) consequences of each decision-making technique.

Also encourage the groups to recall examples of the decision-making styles used within their groups during the construction of the molds.

Trainer Notes

It is helpful to point out that all the styles, with the exception of consensus, often preclude the full involvement and commitment of some group members or ignore important issues that should be raised.

Mutually shared decision-making (termed consensus) is a positive alternative to other styles. Although it may require more time and increased sensitivity to the individual group members, it provides for the involvement and commitment necessary to group cohesiveness and cooperation.

Step 11. (20 minutes)

* Reconvene the groups and ask group members to share their views on the decision-making styles used by their group and the extent of cooperation within the group.

* Record their responses on newsprint.

* When several generalizations have been recorded, the session should end by reminding the participants that what remains to be done is for them to apply these generalizations.

Trainer Notes

The intent of this wrap-up discussion is to have the participants develop some useful generalizations they will be able to apply in future work groups.

For example, there should be some agreement about what kind of behavior improved group performance. Or there may be certain things everyone agrees ought not to be done again.

Both of these are good examples of useful generalizations from what the participants have experienced, published (shared) and processed.

EARTHEN BLOCK MOLDS

There are both individual and gang molds and are usually constructed from 2" x 4" (5 x 10cm) or 1" x 4" (2.5 x 10cm) lumber. Size of the blocks vary in accordance with end use. A mold of 4" x 12" x 18" would produce a block weighing approximately 50 lbs. and having a volume of 1/2 cubic foot.


Individual Mold

Following are the most commonly used interior dimensions for mud block molds.

Inches

Centimeters

4 x-12 x 18

10 x 30(½) x 46

4 x 7(½) x 16

10 x 19 x 40(½)

4 x 10 x 15

10 x 25(½) x 38


GANG MOLD

EFFECTIVE GROUP SURVEY

Group leaders, group facilitators and group members may sometimes want to assess the group's capability for working productively. This survey can be used by one or many, with the results posted and discussed toward the end of a meeting.

Directions: Circle the letter opposite each item on the survey below that best describes the group's interactions.

The scale used is:

A - All group members
B - Most group members (two-thirds or more)
C - About half the group members
D - A few group members (one third or less)
E - None of this group

During this (or the most recent) session, how many group members, including yourself:

1. Gave due consideration to all seriously intended contributions of other group members?

A

B

C

D

E

2. Checked (by paraphrasing, etc.) to make sure they knew what was really meant before agreeing or disagreeing?

A

B

C

D

E

3. Spoke only for themselves and let others speak for themselves?

A

B

C

D

E

4. Viewed all contributions as belonging to the group, to be used or not as the group decided?

A

B

C

D

E

5. Had the opportunity to partici pate in the group if they desired to do so?

A

B

C

D

E

6. Tried to find the reason if the group was having trouble getting work done?

A

B

C

D

E

7. Helped the group make decisions openly rather than by default?

A

B

C

D

E

8. Helped bring conflict into the open so the group could deal with it?

A

B

C

D

E

9. Looked upon behavior which hindered group process as a group problem, rather than as a "problem member"?

A

B

C

D

E

Reprinted from Systematic & Objective Analysis of Instruction Training Manual. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 1970.

THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS

We all live and work in groups and undoubtedly have experienced difficulty in arriving at group decisions. Some groups tend to break down when confronted with a decision for which a consensus is required. Others get bogged down in the interminable discussion of minor points or irrelevant side issues. Still others seek escape from their anxiety in Robert's Rules of Order, voting or calling upon the "chairman" to establish control.

Dr. Kenneth Benne (1960) has analyzed the prevalent reasons for the difficulty groups have in making decisions and has identified the following six blocks to decision making in groups.

1. Conflicting Perception of the Situation

If group members view the problem at hand in different ways, communication can be impeded, resulting in a breakdown of the group.

2. Fear of Consequences

The possible outcomes of an impending decision can overwhelm a group Outside pressures on individuals or on the entire group may exert a paralyzing effect on its ability to come to a decision.

3. Conflicting Loyalties

Every group member belongs to a number of different groupings than the one he may presently be engaged in. These multiple memberships can operate as hidden agendas or conflicting pressures within the decision-making group.

4. Interpersonal Conflict

Personal differences or personality clashes can provoke defensiveness, antipathy and biased discussion, preventing a sound, fair decision from being made.

5. Methodological Rigidity

Many groups are so frozen into Robert's Rules of Order or similar rigid methods for decision making that they are prevented from inventing or using other methods when the nature of the decision calls for one (e.g., con 5 ensue).

6. Inadequate Leadership

When the entire group does not share the leadership functions and relies too heavily on a designated leader (who may or may not be sufficiently skilled), then no group decision can be made and the commitment and responsibility to any decision is lessened.

TYPES OF DECISIONS

The following types of decision making are familiar to all of us:

1. Plops

A decision suggested by an individual to which there is no response (e.g., "I suggest we shelve this question.")

2. Self-Authorization

A decision made by an individual who assumes authority (e.g., "I think we should all write our ideas on the blackboard." --and proceeds to be the first to do so).

3. The Handclasp

A decision made by two or more members of the group who Join forces or decide the issue in advance (e.g., "That was a helpful comment, John. Yes, that's the course we're going to take.")

4. Baiting

A decision made by pressure not to disagree (e.g., No one objects, do they?), or a decision made by pressure to agree (e.g., "We all agree, don't we?).

5. Majority Rule

A decision made by some form of voting.

6. Unanimity

A decision made by overt and unanimous consent, often without discussion.

7. Polling

A decision made by a form of voting which inquires, "Let's see where everyone stands." -- and then proceeds to tabulate the already expressed majority decision.

8. Consensus

A decision made after allowing all aspects of the issue, both positive and negative, to be put forth to the degree that everyone openly agrees it is probably the best decision. This is not necessarily unanimity, but it constitutes a basic agreement by all group members.

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