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A small group discusses a specific issue or problem and then presents the conclusions to a larger group that it represents.

When a large group decides to make a distribution of tasks, or when it is considered that an issue or problem requires further study by specially trained people, the Commission’s technique is used.

The Commission is a small group – usually three to five members – that acts by delegation of the large group (class, school, club, etc.). Its objective is to discuss a topic, project or problem in order to elevate the conclusions or suggestions to the group that has designated it. In other cases, it has a permanent nature to deal with and propose decisions on issues of a certain nature. There may be a sports, culture, administration, public relations committee in a club. .

The members of a Commission are chosen taking into account their gifts to deal with the corresponding problems. They are usually proposed by the group director or by the members, and accepted or not by the total group. The Commission meets outside the total group, with schedules according to their convenience, and later passes its conclusions to the large group.

How it is performed

The work of the commission admits great flexibility, but in general lines it is carried out in the following way:

At the first meeting of the Commission, the members designate a president or coordinator and a secretary. The first directs the meetings, and the second takes note of what was discussed and prepares the report that will be raised to the large group.

2. The number of meetings will depend on the term agreed by the large group to be issued on the assigned topic. The duration of each meeting will be decided by the members.

The development of the meetings follows the style of the “Small discussion groups”: informal environment, broad debate, search for agreement, summary, writing of the report with conclusions, suggestions or projects.

4. As a representative of the large group, whose delegation it exercises, the Commission must act and be issued in the same spirit and on the same principles that the large group supports.

Practical suggestions

The large group must know how to select the members of a Commission with competence, both because of their capacity in the matter that they must deal with, and because of their possibilities of personal integration (the Commission will not be able to carry out efficient work if its members do not get along well. personal reasons or others).

It is advisable to appoint commissions with an odd number of members in case they have to reach a vote.

A Commission can be transitory, and even meet once, as in the case of an assembly, conference or seminar that designates a commission to be issued on a current issue or problem. In these cases and also when in the entities a commission is designated outside the permanent ones, it is called “ad-hoc commission”, that is to say “for this”.


A small group researches or intensively studies a topic in planned sessions using original sources of information.

The purpose of the Seminar is the research or intensive study of a shortlist in duly planned work meetings (workshops). It can be said that it constitutes a real active learning group, because the members do not receive the information already prepared, but they investigate it by their own means in a climate of reciprocal collaboration.

The Seminar group is composed of no less than 5 or more than 12 members. Large groups, for example, a class, who wish to work in the form of a seminar, are subdivided into small groups to perform the task.

The seminar has certain characteristics, such as the following:

a) The members have common interests on the subject, and a similar level of information about it.

b) The subject or subject of the Seminar requires research or specific search in various sources. A subject already elaborated and exposed in a book would not justify the work of Seminary

c) The development of the tasks, as well as the topics and subtopics to be treated, are planned by all the members in the first session of the group.

d) The results or conclusions are the responsibility of the entire Seminar group. The director is one more member who coordinates the work but does not resolve for

e) Every Seminar concludes with a session of summary and evaluation of the work carried out.

f) The Seminar can work for several days until it completes its work. The sessions usually last two or three hours.

How it is performed


In the case of the educational environment, the Seminars will be organized and supervised by professors, who will act generally as advisers. It could be the case that the initiative started with the students themselves, which would be very auspicious, and that they would manage with enough autonomy, requiring a limited help from the teachers in the capacity of counseling. In either case it would be an organizer in charge of gathering the groups, selecting the topics or areas of interest in which they wish to work, preparing a provisional agenda

(“Previous agenda”), locate elements and sources of consultation, arrange premises and work items, schedules, etc.


In the first session all the participants will be present, who will then be divided into Seminar subgroups. The organizer, after the initial words, will formulate as a suggestion the previous agenda that has been prepared, which will be discussed by the whole group. Modified or not said agenda by the agreement of the group, it is converted into definitive agenda on which the different subgroups have to work.

The large group is subdivided into seminar groups of 5 to 12 members, at will. These small groups are installed in the premises provided, preferably quiet and with the necessary work elements.

Each group appoints its director to coordinate the tasks, and a secretary who takes note of the partial and final conclusions.

The specific task of the Seminar will be to investigate, search for information, consult bibliographical and documentary sources, resort to experts and advisors, discuss in collaboration, analyze data and information in depth, relate contributions, confront points of view, until arriving at the conclusions of the group on the subject. All this following the work plan formulated in the agenda approved by the general group.

5. At the conclusion of the Seminar meetings, the desired objective must have been achieved to a greater or lesser extent. The group will write the conclusions of the studies carried out, which will be recorded by the secretary to be presented to the large group.

After the work of the subgroups, all of them meet again with the coordinator of the organizer, to present their conclusions. These are discussed until an agreement and general summary of the conclusions of the Seminar are reached.

Finally, the evaluation of the task performed will be carried out, using the techniques that the group considers most appropriate (forms, oral or written opinions, forms, etc.).

Practical suggestions

The different seminar groups can work on different aspects of a topic. In this case the members are grouped according to their preferences in the study.

In the case that there are advisors, they lend their collaboration to the different groups.

It is very convenient that the Seminary groups have at hand the information and consultation elements necessary for the investigation of the topic. The organizer will provide at least the varied bibliography and in sufficient quantity. and affordable at the time it is required.


A small group of trained members discuss a major problem until they reach the best solution or agreement for a decision.

The Cabinet Discussion is intended to deal with a topic or problem of particular importance, between a group of people with certain responsibilities, and with the immediate purpose of

make a decision. The name given to this technique is reminiscent of the meetings of ministers, heads or directors, and at a very different level, of course, tries to develop the same type of work. Within the common groups, the Cabinet Discussion can be used when there is a very special problem, of particular resonance, whose solution largely depends on the good progress of the group. It can also be practiced as training for the development of capacity in decision making and development of a high sense of responsibility (similar to the “Staff Service”).

In the “Cabinet” no more than twenty people intervene, with similar hierarchies or status. The group appoints a director or president and a secretary. As we have said, the decision made

the cabinet has a certain scope and its application would interest all the members of the group. This is inferred from the fact that the Cabinet does not meet to deal with routine issues, but rather

of special resonance.

The educational objective implicit in the practice of this technique is to develop in individuals skills for the management of complex tasks or problems, to assume special responsibilities, and to make decisions in group agreement in generally optional situations with practical consequences.

How it is performed


The initiative to hold a Cabinet discussion can start with the director, conductor or coordinator of an organization or group, or the members of a group. Anyway, there will be an organizer in charge of carrying out the initiative specifying the issue or problem, making the citations well in advance so that the members can think about the matter, investigate background, consult experts, etc.


The Cabinet works with the conduction of a director, who can be the same organizer or one of the members designated by the group. A secretary is also appointed.

The director formulates with precision the topic or problem that must be dealt with, exposes the different aspects that he thinks should be discussed, and can be the first to give his point of view on the possible solutions, in order to be considered.

Once the director’s presentation is over, the members present their opinion on the subject and the proposal, a general discussion is established with a view to achieving the best decision. The debate should always be done in a reality plan, counting on the collection of information obtained and with an objective knowledge of the circumstances. As has already been said, it is about solving a concrete and immediate problem, and in this case there are no theoretical disquisitions or abstract speculations.

Once the debate has been exhausted, the group will work out the most convenient decision, which will be recorded by the secretary. This decision will be accepted by all members.

The duration of the Cabinet discussion will depend on the difficulties that the subject presents, the agreement or disagreement that exists between the members, the need for more information, etc. It can be extended to several hours, or be carried out in several separate sessions at agreed intervals (“intermediate room”).



A small group advises one of the members, who should be responsible

make a final decision

It is a specific activity of military life, but it can be adapted for educational purposes as a learning technique. As such, its main purpose is to produce

training for decision making.

The Staff Service can be characterized as a practical exercise that seeks to solve a problematic situation. Five or more people participate in it. The proposals or solutions presented by the members of the “command” respond to specific requirements. The decision corresponds, finally, to the “commander”. An important characteristic of this technique is that all group participants accept, by convention, that the decision is made only by one. In the real situation, everyone, even having presented different solutions, accepts the decision reached and makes the adaptation of their points of view to it.

How it is performed


A more or less numerous group can be divided into subgroups of 6 to 8 members. Each subgroup will function as a “Staff Service”. All the subgroups are presented with a concrete and well-defined problem, a situation of some urgency that must be resolved in the best possible way. A time limit may be set if desired.


Each subgroup meets to work on its own, and designates the member to act as “commander”.

The “commander” makes an assessment of the situation, which consists of the analysis of the mission, and then sets a personal orientation: what he thinks should be taken into account, the information he needs, the criteria he wants (needs, time) , etc.), sets time for studies, etc. In this way it shows the group their requirements. (The members of the “General Staff” will take note of them).

The staff group deliberates on its own, without the participation of the “commander”, and makes its own assessment of the situation. Each of the members (alone or with their “auxiliary staff”) analyzes the courses of action, compares them, etc., trying to best meet the requirements received from the “commander”. Once the study has been exhausted, the staff group draws up the proposals and / or conclusions.

They meet again with the “commander” and the exhibition is held, by one or by all (depending on the circumstances and the time available). When the presentation of the conclusions or propositions is made by a single member, it has previously compiled and summarized the thoughts of the other members of the group.

Finally, the “commander” takes his resolution. Each of the members of the General Staff collaborates in the final drafting of the order, which is the plan to implement such resolution. The order is signed by the “commander”.

The subgroups of the General Staff, once their task is completed, meet again in the large group. The respective “commanders” make known the resolutions adopted for the proposed problematic situation. The group compares and studies them, asks if it wishes the factors that have been taken into account to adopt them, and tries to reach an agreement on the best decision achieved.

Practical suggestions

In order for all members to achieve development in the capacity for decision-making, the role of the “commander” must be rotational.

The appropriate physical environment should be foreseen so that each subgroup can work comfortably, even within the same premises.

The technique of the General Staff Service, adapted approximately as we have shown, is beneficial when the objective pursued consists of learning and training in decision making, which involves the acquisition of criteria to decide, the ability to conduct a study appreciative according to requirements or requirements, development of the sense of individual and group responsibility, etc. Although the decision is made by one of the members of the group (rotating role), it is clear that all participants benefit from the process of analysis, search for solutions, participation in responsibility, etc.

This technique is also useful in circumstances in which the execution and effectiveness of an action are urgent.


A group expresses the possible risks that could arise from a new situation, and discusses the reality of them.

The Risk Technique -exposed by Norman R. F. Maier- consists of a group procedure that aims to reduce or eliminate certain risks or fears through the free expression of them. It is, above all, the inherent fears of new situations in the field of human relations, such as the prospect of applying for a job, of facing for the first time the direction of a class, of entering a club where no nobody is known, etc. In general, any situation of change produces some fears, but among these fears can be differentiated those that respond to real events that must be addressed in one way or another, those that lack foundation and respond only to the imagination, feelings, the subjectivity of the involved. The Risk Technique tends to make clear this difference, and in such a way to eliminate the fears lacking objective reality. It acts on the feelings that a certain situation awakens, trying that the inhibitory or negative feelings lacking real foundation can be eliminated.

“To reduce fears, says Maier, you have to release the expression,” and in this “liberation from the expression of fear” the risk technique is based. “If all the members of a group have fears, some clearly determined and others lazy, each one of them can help the other by expressing aloud the fears that they can locate and communicate, in this way, the collective expression of the group serves to clarify the fears and at the same time create a situation in which this public expression is acceptable.When all the members of a group show some fear, this facilitates the open expression of the most futile fears. ” 1 On this basis, that is, accepting that. the group environment favors the manifestation of the fears, the clarification and the subsequent elimination of many of them, the Risk Technique has been structured as a group procedure.



This technique does not require preparations. It will be sufficient for there to be a blackboard and a favorable physical environment for an informal exchange. The stimulating situation of fears can arise from the group itself at any time or be proposed by the group driver.


The driver of the group formulates with precision the real or hypothetical situation that produces fears or sensation of risk. Explains that in the situation there are certainly positive aspects, positive, gratifying, and perhaps also some aspects more or less negative, unpleasant, inhibitory, that could eventually cause some tension or concern. On these last aspects, it asks that attention be fixed, that reflect and express points of view with absolute freedom.

The driver encourages, encourages the group to express their opinions, trying to discover the feelings and attitudes that move behind the ideas, that is, the fears that awaken those “difficult” aspects of the situation. “The situation is structured in such a way that the members of the group talk about the dangers or risks involved in any change in project, and leave aside, for the moment, any discussion about possible advantages.” A clearly permissive climate that favors free expression should be created in the group.

In this first phase the risks are looked for, the fears are expressed, the active manifestation is facilitated taking into account all the opinions without discussing or questioning them. As the members of the group express the possible risks, the driver writes them on the board in a synthetic way.

Once the expression of the risks has been exhausted, the driver invites to discuss those that have been noted on the board, one by one. In this second phase each risk is analyzed, a free discussion is established, opinions and points of view about its reality and foundation are given. The driver must maintain a balanced position, and if the group rejects outright one of the risks exposed by one of its members, I will try to “maintain” it so that it can be analyzed and discussed so that the manifest person obtains the necessary clarification to enable their attitude change.

During the analysis, the acceptance or rejection of the group towards a certain risk will be observed. The driver will guide the discussion but letting the interested parties themselves argue and find solutions to the case; This is achieved if a situation is provided “in which they feel encouraged to express their feelings freely”. “Giving concrete advice or expressing opinions of your own chokes the whole process.”

Placed in the situation free of analysis of reality, it is common for group members to be motivated to demonstrate that the risks noted, or at least many of them, are unreal, unfounded. The members influence each other (social pressure), and so attitudes change, and the fears exposed above may seem ridiculous

When attitudes to a risk have been modified in such a way, it is deleted from the list or crossed out. The attitude of the director must be reticent rather than favorable to the elimination of a risk, in order that it be well clarified and not be left over on it.

It is probable that in a single session they can not eliminate all unfounded fears. Therefore, in future opportunities the list is considered again and in subsequent discussions it is likely that the risks will gradually disappear. In a single session or in subsequent sessions changes in attitude can be observed in view of the risks manifested, which will seem less real. The change of one influences all others, provided that the atmosphere is permissive, cooperative and non-authoritarian or competitive.

Practical suggestions

It is convenient that the group is not very numerous to facilitate the participation of all. In a common class of thirty to forty students, the Risk Technique gives good results, but there is partial participation due to the fact that, being many, the least communicative leave “others to speak”. The annotation of the list on the board favors the process a lot, clarifies thought and attitudes, stimulates attention and introduces a small formalism that favors participation

In the school environment there will be no difficulties in dealing with the list of risks in successive opportunities.

The Risk Technique can be used to eliminate or reduce the influence of fears promoted by real situations, and at the same time to develop the capacity of discernment necessary to differentiate between real and hypothetical, subjective or unfounded risks. Directed primarily at situations of human exchange, this technique helps to adopt objective attitudes in relationships with others, destroys hostility and distrust often based on “what one believes the other thinks …” By eliminating of fears develops a favorable attitude to change, a phenomenon inherent in all progress and growth that often produces feelings of fear or suspicion.


19. Brainstorming



In a small group, the members expose with the greatest freedom about an issue or problem, in order to produce original ideas or new solutions.

“Brainstotming” means in English “cerebral storm”, and this technique is called in Spanish “whirlwind of ideas”, “brain storm”, “promotion of ideas” or “creative discussion”.

Its objective -as well as the technique of “Future Vision Projects”, which is discussed below, consists of developing and exercising the creative imagination, a source of innovations, discoveries, or new solutions.

It is understood by creative imagination, the ability to establish new relationships between events, or integrate them in a different way. Alex Osborn believes that, from a functional point of view, our mental abilities could be:

Observation} These three capacities can

2. Retention} be developed by brains

3. Electronic reasoning}

Create: intuit and generate ideas {(This ability can only be expected from man). .

If a constant and appropriate use of the power of creation of man is not made, this power can be limited and constrained. On the other hand, the creative process requires an “incubation period” that can last a few seconds or months. By schematizing the mechanics of the imagination, we would have:

We have absolute control over him. It is revealed indirectly and its control is not possible.

The best results are obtained when the mental processes develop between both extremes. Using only one of the aspects means limiting the possibilities of the imagination,

There are several techniques to develop the creative capacity, and among them the most important are: the Whirlwind of ideas and Future Vision Projects (see).

The Whirlwind of ideas is a group technique that starts from the basic assumption that if people are allowed to act in a totally informal environment and with absolute freedom to express what they think is reasonable or extravagant, real or imaginary, there is the possibility that, among the farrago of impossible or far-fetched things, a brilliant idea appears that justifies everything else.

The above assumption is not as absurd as it might seem. Strict logical reasoning orders, frames, hardens and to a certain extent constrains thought in the molds of “right reason”. Little space remains in it for the flight of the imagination, for the unfolding of the creative impulses, for the fantasy from which the most “fantastic” realities sometimes arise. For something it is said that artists are the great visionaries, precursors and creators of humanity. And without being artists, has it ever occurred to us to give birth to a valuable idea or the solution of a problem, precisely when we least directly and logically “thought” about it? The “eureka” of great discoveries has been due, apparently, to those happy moments of wandering and “mental informality”. So, then, we can also come up with some good idea if we create the right climate for it to appear.

The whirlwind of ideas aims, precisely, to create that informal climate, permissive to the maximum, carefree, without criticism, free of tensions, without methodical demands, stimulating the free flight of the imagination, to a certain extent “irrational”, where there is more possibility of giving new ideas. And if these ideas do not appear ?. . . We can continue thinking that the technique is equally profitable: it tends to develop the capacity for the elaboration of original ideas, stimulates the ingenuity and promotes the search of different solutions perhaps more effective than the traditional ones; helps overcome conformism, stereotyping, routine, indifference. It allows to find new possibilities in any field, it teaches that the problems and

situations in general have not an already known solution but perhaps other possible or better ones. It impels to act with autonomy, with originality, with personality.

How it is performed


The group must know the problem, topic or area of ​​interest on which it is going to work, with some anticipation in order to inform and think about it.


The group director specifies the problem to be treated, explains the procedure and the minimum standards that must be followed within the basic informal climate. A secretary (outside the group) can be appointed to record the ideas that are exposed. The use of the recorder will be useful.

The ideas that are exposed should not be censored or criticized directly or indirectly; the feasibility of the suggestions is not discussed; all types of manifestations that coerce or may inhibit spontaneity should be avoided; members should focus their attention on the problem and not on the people.

The members present their points of view without restrictions, and the director only intervenes if the word needs to be distributed among several who wish to speak at the same time, or if the interventions are too far from the central theme. Sometimes it stimulates the remiss, and always strives to maintain an atmosphere conducive to spontaneous participation.

After the deadline for the “creation” of ideas, the feasibility or practicality of the most valuable proposals is now considered -with a critical sense and on a reality level-. The ideas are analyzed in a plane of practical possibilities, of efficiency, of concrete action. (“The idea is good, but is there the possibility of putting it into practice?” “Is it adapted to the circumstances?” “How would it be done?”) The notes made by the secretary will facilitate the review of what was manifested by the members in the first “creative” part.

The group director summarizes and together with the members extracts the conclusions.

Practical suggestions

The physical environment will be conducive to informal work: comfortable seats, quiet place without interference or spectators, no hurry of schedules, etc.

No “emergency” solutions should be sought with this technique. The pressure of time causes a more or less latent concern that threatens the necessary serenity.

The Osbom Rules for the Whirlwind of Ideas sessions

Criticism is left aside. The trial is suspended until further evaluation. If you allow yourself to be critical as well as creative, it is like trying to get cold and hot water simultaneously from a tap. The ideas will not be warm enough, the. criticism will not be cold enough; the results are lukewarm.

The free association of ideas is acceptable. The broader the ideas, the better. Even unpropitious suggestions may inspire other members of the group with practical suggestions, which otherwise would not have occurred to them.

It needs quantity. The greater the number of ideas, the greater the chances of finding the most appropriate solution. It is easier to select from a long list of ideas than to draw at random from a short one.

The combination and improvement is sought. In addition to contributing ideas of their own, the group members can propose that the ideas of others be improved or, even more, combine two or more ideas into one.



The members of a small group must manage to elaborate a project referred to a hypothetical or fantasy situation of the future.

The Future Vision Projects technique has been originally developed under the name of “Creative Engineering”, by Professor Arnold, of the School of Engineering of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The main purpose of this technique is to develop the art of the “imaginative engineer”, which is, in short, an applied science-fiction chair. Thus, for example, students are asked to project a car that will circulate on another planet, a planet that revolves around another sun, in which the. The atmosphere is methane and oxygen has to be used as a calciner, where gravity is lower than on earth, with non-human inhabitants so that the vehicle has to adapt to another anatomy. As can be seen, it is about stimulating the production of new ideas, the development of the creative imagination is sought, disconnecting as much as possible the individual from the reality “made” that surrounds it, (See what has been said about the creative imagination when we treat the Whirlwind of ideas). A Future Vision Project must be as well calculated and as solidly studied as the final project demanded in any University. A work of this nature allows the student to free himself from preconceived ideas and escape reality. In this way his imagination takes flight and acquires readiness for new approaches that respond to the permanent technological and social change of our time. (The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has published 18 volumes summarizing the experiences gained from the development of Future Vision Projects)



The group leader must propose the type of project to be developed. For this you will have to master yourself and start by applying a certain dose of creative imagination yourself. The scheme that presents must contain the necessary data for its development, as in the example of the automobile, already mentioned.


The driver explains to the group the mechanism of the technique and the purposes that are pursued with it. It states the need for the projects that are developed to be rigorous in their logical and scientific structuring, in accordance with the stipulations of the proposed scheme or slogan.

The outline of the project chosen for the session is read or distributed, and the group begins to work.

If it is a large group it is convenient to make subgroups of four or five members, who will work simultaneously.

After a sufficiently long lapse, the large group is integrated again, and a representative of each subgroup exposes the elaborated project, for its general discussion. The whole group examines the exposed projects and draws the best conclusions from the case, being able to arrive at a single final project that takes advantage of the best of the partial projects.

Practical suggestions:

The proposed project must be in accordance with the possibilities of elaboration of the members of the group: capacity, preparation, specialty, etc.

More than in other cases, a silent, comfortable and comfortable physical environment is necessary for the task to develop without external interference. It must also be counted with a period of time appropriate to the nature of the project.




The group thoroughly analyzes a real or alleged problem or incident, and tries to reach the best conclusion regarding it.

The Incident Process is a group technique developed by Dr. Paul Pigors, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with the collaboration of his wife. It is defined as a continuous process of learning from cases that involve real people in real situations, providing the participants in the exercise with the possibility of developing their skills through the practice of simulated decisions. In general, this technique is applied to university-level students; and it has been widely proven in Business Administration courses. Professor Pigors worked intensively with elements coming from cases or judicial sentences referring to the labor law.

In general terms, it can be said that it consists of a detailed analysis of an event or incident that is presented in a very brief and objective manner. This technique is suitable for a group of 15

20 people, and in no case less than that. The development will be done in approximately two hours, with the partial times indicated for each of the steps.



The driver of the group has to choose the “incident” or problem to be studied; will gather all the information concerning it to be able to answer the questions asked; prepare the statement of the incident in writing to distribute it among the members of the group.


1. Present the problem or “incident” (2 to 3 minutes) After explaining to the group the objective and mechanism of the task to be developed, the driver distributes the papers he has prepared with the statement of the incident that is will deal with, about a situation about which

It is necessary to make a decision. The statement should be extremely brief, so that it can be read quickly, and suggest a series of questions in the minds of each of the participants.

2. Find the causes of the event (30 to 35 minutes). As the statement is insufficient to understand the case, members can ask all the questions they want to get more information from the driver. This will have in advance of said information to the extent necessary to solve the problem. The questions must be timely and correct, since the driver will not comment on the value of the questions, just answering them. In addition, it will ask that opinions, criticisms, or statements that may influence others not be expressed.

3. Synthesis (5 minutes). One of the participants synthesizes the information collected during the previous step for the whole group.

4. Determination of the problem (10 to 15 minutes). The group must now establish what the fundamental problem is, which is not always easy. Based on the information synthesized, the driver will help the group to achieve a broad vision of the problem and the aspects that have to be taken into account before making a resolution. All information must be clearly clarified.

5. Individual decision (5 minutes). Each member of the group writes their own decision about the incident under study on paper.

6. Division into subgroups (10 to 15 minutes). Each member reads his own decision. After knowing all the individual decisions, we proceed to vote which is the best of the proposed decisions. Probably the vote will focus on two or three of the propositions. Then the driver will divide the total group into subgroups according to the preferences expressed in the public vote. It will ask each subgroup to consider in depth the reasons that sustain the chosen decision, and to designate a member rapporteur to then expose the final resolution adopted by the subgroup. (In the event that the vote is unanimous towards one of the proposed decisions, the driver will continue directly with step 8.

7. Debate (10 to 15 minutes). The entire group meets again, and the rapporteurs present their conclusions. Once this is done, the driver will promote the general debate on the conclusions presented, guiding it as far as possible towards reaching consensus, probably on the basis of

of an integration of points of view.

8. Evaluation (10 to 15 minutes). The group will change ideas about the teachings that the studied case has left; the members will be able to explain how they would solve the case in real life, how they could be prevented, and how they would face similar situations that could be presented to them.

9. Final discussion (5 minutes). In general, this is developed not on the incident itself, but mainly on the technique or procedure used and its advantages to achieve the desired objectives.

Practical suggestions

The driver of the group will have in sight the payroll of steps and a clock, in order to facilitate the smooth development of the process.

A suitable place should be foreseen for the work of the subgroups, as well as paper and pencils, and a blackboard or flip chart to write the decisions.

The Incident Process is a somewhat extensive and more formal technique than others. No doubt it is appropriate to develop individual and group maturity, to achieve a mutual enrichment of experiences, as well as to obtain training in the resolution of situations or incidents of daily life, that is, in the adoption of good decisions.




The group analytically and exhaustively studies a given “case” with all the details, to draw illustrative conclusions.

A “case” is the detailed description and. exhaustive of a real situation, which has been researched and adopted to be presented in such a way as to allow a broad analysis and exchange of ideas. This technique has similarities with the Incident Process technique (see), but differs from this one in that the proposal is not limited to narrating the trigger event (incident), but includes a broad and detailed explanation of the total situation with all its implications, within which the “incident” can be located.

The Case Study technique, as we know it today, was conceived by the School of Management of Harvard University, and its dissemination outside of this is after the Second World War, as a result of the training plans of business leaders carried out in Europe by the Marshall Plan. One of the characteristics of the Case Study is

that each of the members can provide a different solution, according to their knowledge, experiences and motivations; that is, there is no single solution.



The driver is the one who selects the case to be studied by the group. You must know and master it in all its details. In choosing the case, the following should be taken into account: a) the objectives to be achieved; b) the level of the participants in the experience; and c) the time available. The case will be written by the driver to be read to the group, or copied in papers to be distributed among the members. A questionnaire can also be prepared to facilitate the analysis.

In the Case Study all possible causes or factors of the triggering event (incident) are given.


The driver explains the objectives and the mechanism of the technique to be used; and then exposes the “case” under study, either reading it or distributing the prepared copies.

The group studies the case giving their points of view, exchanging ideas and opinions, analyzing and freely discussing the various aspects.

The group leader can guide the members by indicating some important points, but without indicating a particular problem, which corresponds to the group. I can also write on the blackboard or flipchart the significant contributions, and especially the possible solutions that appear, which will facilitate the final recapitulation.

Once the discussion of the case has been exhausted, the driver makes a final recapitulation presenting the proposed problems and the proposed solutions. It will also highlight the truly original contributions, and will point out those that lead to situations without exit.

The group will try to agree on the best conclusions about the case studied.

Practical suggestions

The more complex the case, the longer I will demand your study.

The “case” can be simply narrated, written on sheets to distribute among the members, or presented by films, slides, recordings, etc. They can also

combine these means.

It is very convenient that the driver does not express his personal opinions about the case. It will clarify, yes, all the questions that are asked with reference to it. The duration depends on the circumstances; the choice of the case will be made taking into account the time

The House Study technique allows to train the members of a group in guided discussion, conducting a group, analyzing situations and events; develops the flexibility of reasoning by showing that there can be different solutions for the same problem, helps the participants to observe their own work with perspective and depth.



Two or more people represent a real life situation assuming the roles of the case, in order that it can be better understood and treated by the group.

Usually, when you want someone to understand as closely as possible a behavior or situation, you are asked to “put yourself in the place” of who lived in reality. If, instead of evoking it mentally, the role is assumed and the situation is dramatically revived, the intimate understanding (insight) is much more profound and enlightening. This is Role Playing or Role Playing: represent (dramatize) a typical situation (a specific case) in order to become real, visible, lived, so that better understanding the performance of who or who should intervene in it in real life.

The aforementioned objective is achieved not only in those who represent the roles, but in the whole group that acts as a participant observer because of their rapport in the process. The actors transmit to the group the sensation of living the event as if it were in reality.

This type of action arouses interest, motivates the spontaneous participation of the spectators, and by its own informality maintains the expectation of the group focused on the problem that develops. The scenic representation provokes an experience common to all those present, and after that it is possible to discuss the problem with some generalized direct knowledge, since all have participated either as actors or as observers.

The representation is free and spontaneous, without the use of scripts or essays. The actors represent taking possession of the previously described role, as if the situation were true. This certainly requires some skill and group maturity.



The problem or situation can be foreseen in advance or arise at a given time from a group meeting. In all cases it must be well delimited and exposed with full precision. The members provide all the possible data to describe and enrich the scene by representing, imagining the situation, the moment, the behavior of the characters, etc. This will help to frame the scene and serve as “material” so that the performers improvise a meaningful context and as close as possible to reality. The group will decide if they want to give a well-defined structure to the staging, or prefer to leave it to a greater extent to the improvisation of the “actors”.

It is very important to clearly define the objective of representation, the “moment” to be represented, the concrete situation that interests “seeing” to clarify or understand the problem of the case. Accordingly, it will be decided which characters are needed and the role each one plays.

Among the members of the group are chosen the “actors” who will take over the roles. Each character will receive a fictitious name, which helps to take possession of the role and reduces the personal implication of the interpreter.

According to the needs the “stage” of the action is prepared, using only the indispensable elements, usually a table and chairs. Everything else can be imagined with a brief description.

The group can designate special observers for certain aspects: performance of each character, illation of the theme, contradictions, fidelity to the situation, etc.

It is convenient to give the interpreters a few minutes to place themselves in the mental situation, put themselves in “their role”, achieve climate, and if they wish to explain briefly how they plan to act. The group can collaborate positively in the creation of a favorable emotional atmosphere, encouraging the “actors”, participating in their ideas and avoiding any unnerving or intimidating attitude. In all the development of this technique it will be necessary the collaboration of a director who has experience, coordinates the action and stimulates the group.


First step: Scenic representation

The interpreters start and develop the scene as naturally as possible. They will take possession of their character spontaneously, but without losing sight of the indispensable objectivity to reproduce the situation as it has been defined.

If you have previously opted to plan the scene giving it a certain structure, defining the characters with some detail (age, profession, character traits, habits, etc.), the interpreters will adjust to these characteristics and therefore the representation will result more objective. On the other hand, if it has been preferred to establish only the basic situation and the typical role of the characters, that is, a scene delivered with greater freedom to the improvisation of the performers, they should make a greater effort to “create” their characters and give structure to the situation, which will thus be more subjective due to the inevitable individual projection. Between both extremes of structuring the scene there are, of course, many intermediate possibilities.

The development of the action must not be interfered with, except for reasons of force majeure. The group will maintain a propitious atmosphere following the action with interest and participating in it emotionally. The attitude of the spectators is usually somehow “captured” by the interpreters.

The director cuts the action when he considers that enough information or illustrative material has been obtained to proceed with the discussion of the problem. This is the goal of representation, and to achieve it, it is not necessary to almost never reach an “end” as in theatrical works. It will be enough that the staged is significant to facilitate the understanding of the proposed situation. The scenic performance usually lasts five to fifteen minutes

Second step; Comments and discussion

The comment and discussion of the representation is immediately carried out, directed by the director or coordinator. First, interpreters are allowed to give their impressions, explain their performance, describe their state of mind in the action, say what they felt when interpreting their role. In this way, apart from obtaining valuable information, the “actors” are given the opportunity to justify their performance and prevent possible criticism from the spectators. Then, the whole group exposes their impressions, interrogates the interpreters, “discusses the development, proposes other ways of playing the scene, suggests different reactions, etc. The basic problem is analyzed in this way through a concrete” reality “in which all have participated. In certain cases it will be convenient to repeat the staging according to the criticisms, suggestions or proposed new approaches. The interpreters can invest their roles (who played father as a son and vice versa), or new “actors” can take care of the characters. Finally conclusions are drawn about the problem under discussion.

This stage of discussion is the most important Role Playing, because the first, the staging, with being the most “attractive”, only aims to motivate the group, provide specific data, significant “visible” situations, to introduce it spiritually in the core of the problem under discussion. This stage must be given all the necessary time, which will not be less than half an hour.

Practical suggestions

This technique requires certain skills and it is advisable to use it in groups that have some maturity. It should start with very simple situations and choosing well the interpreters among those more confident and skilled, communicative and spontaneous. As usually at the beginning the dramatization causes hilarity, you can start with situations that give rise to precisely the humorous expression. It is also good to start with well structured scenes in which the performers should improvise less.

Unpopular or inferiorizing roles should be given to self-assured people, who can not be affected by the role. Nor should roles be given similar to what the individual is in reality (you should not choose a shy to play the role of shy).

In certain cases representations can be made with alternative approaches, that is, a scene can be played in two different ways to decide a doubt or find the most appropriate solution.

The staging will be done in an appropriate place for spectators to observe without difficulty.



Team-Teaching is not strictly a group technique of the kind that has been discussed so far. It is a novel essay to improve the quality of teaching by interweaving different subjects and possibilities, and making maximum use of the complementary powers of teachers. As the name implies, it consists above all in teamwork. But within those teams, both teachers and students, and even acting together, situations and processes that study and guide the group dynamics are in fact done. For this reason, and because it is a new teaching experience, even in the trial stage in the United States, it is included here for reader information.

It will be noticed, without a doubt, that the possibilities of applying this procedure escape the immediate action of the teacher or the teacher; TeamTeaching requires an important change at the level of the school organization. Perhaps some private school director may be in a position to rehearse this new teaching system.

What is TeamTeaching?

Team Teaching (teaching as a team) “is an instructional unit within a school.” This unit is a combination of a defined group of students: a small group of teachers who possess complementary talents and specializations, responsible for the academic and guidance program; and in addition to certain auxiliary personnel that help teachers and students. ”


The main objectives of this system are: to improve the quality of teaching and school guidance (Guidance), and the use of time and talent of teachers and teachers to take advantage of the beneficial influence of student participation in teaching a “learning community”; provide the student with the perception of the overall meaning of their studies and the interrelation of them, through the “interdisciplinary crossing”; obtain the conjunction of the greatest number of factors in the learning process.

Organization and operation

The students constitute a clearly identifiable group or team: the student team. These student groups consist of 90 to 180 students, in high school, and 150 to

200 in the primary. They correspond to similar courses of studies.

Each student team is assigned a team of teachers. A group of four to six teachers, or five to seven teachers in primary school, whose skills and specialties complement each other, form the teacher or teacher team. This team is responsible for the total academic program of the students and their orientation, generally for two years. Teachers participate in the same meeting period every day. Each of them represents a subject or sector of knowledge. The team aims at self-sufficiency to the extent that members acquire special skills in complementary areas.

Each team of teachers has a leader or team leader elected or appointed, who coordinates the tasks of all. In addition, each team has an assistant, a non-qualified person who works with the team in office tasks, administration, etc. Sometimes the assistant is engaged in supplementary teaching tasks, such as re-runs, study visits, corrections, etc.

Each team prepares a list of distinguished citizens who possess certain particular abilities, to collaborate on specific aspects of the program or, in some cases, to conduct study groups. These citizens – artists, scientists, craftsmen, professionals, etc. they constitute an important source of information to improve teaching and give it a realistic meaning. To a certain extent they represent the “expert” that is often used in various group work techniques.

In the case of the elementary school, two new resources are added: the internal teacher, who is a new teacher assigned to the group in which the older educators train him in his initial activity; and an assistant teacher, who acts primarily as a substitute for team members in case of absence.


According to the makers of this experiment, the following advantages are obtained among others: variation, according to needs, of the duration, size and sequence of the classes; allows to gather all students easily; the teaching of large groups allows to vary teaching techniques: debates, audiovisual media, conferences by experts, group techniques, etc .; Teachers can meet often. to solve problems of the group, which facilitates the coordination and concentration of efforts; parents of students are more interested in the education of their children, since they can meet with the entire team of teachers at the same time, without having to resort to several individual interviews; voluntary study groups can be made according to interests or levels, coordinated with the resource of “distinguished citizens”; the guidance of the students (Guidance) is more effective; the correlation of the subjects and the interdisciplinary approach are facilitated.



E The temperature of the equipment

When to use it

Do this exercise continuously at all levels of team development to determine if all team members and the leader agree on how they are going in terms of team spirit.


This exercise makes the members and the leader qualify their work team in terms of the five keys to developing a team spirit. It also allows the leader and members to talk about how the team needs to change.


Sixty minutes, including the discussion.


Questionnaire on the temperature of the equipment and scorecard.


Explain to the team that you want to know what they think about how well they are demonstrating the five keys to having a team spirit: clearly defined roles and responsibilities, honest and honest communication, an expert and supportive administrator, decision-making authority , and rewards and recognition.

First, ask that team members answer the team temperature questionnaire on their own. Once everyone has done that, comment on the results and have them discuss the qualifications of each of the five keys. They can fill out the questionnaire anonymously or you can ask them to put their names. That decision depends on the level of confidence that the team has at the moment. If it is too high, team members can speak openly and you can have them answer the questionnaire together or individually with their names on it; However, if there is still not much confidence, it is better not to ask them to write their names to get more accurate results.

I have included a sample of a questionnaire for the temperature of the equipment. You may want to add OR delete points from it to make it more applicable to your computer. Add the scores yourself or together with the team, or allow one or two team members to do so. Then comes the most important part of the activity, the discussion of the results and what you and the team can do in case these results are not up to par.

Equipment temperature questionnaire

This survey measures your opinions on how our team is doing in relation to team spirit. Using the scale below, circle the number that corresponds to your assessment of each statement with respect to your team. Add the points of each section and place the results in the indicated spaces. A score of twenty-five is the maximum for each category. The total maximum score is 125.


5 – Absolutely True

4 – Generally true

3 – A bit true

2 – Almost never

1 – Never

Roles and responsibilities clearly defined

1. Everyone knows what their function is. 5 4 3 2 1

2. Everyone knows and understands the role of the team. 5 4 3 2 1

3. Team members understand how their roles fit into the team’s goals. 5 4 3 2 1

4. Everyone knows the roles and responsibilities of others in the team. 5 4 3 2 1

5. Having clear functions is important for a team. 5 4 3 2 1

Score of roles and responsibilities: _


Frank and honest communication:

6. Our leader constantly informs us how we are doing in the fulfillment of our goals. 5 4 3 2 1

7. We work together to set clear, feasible and appropriate goals. 5 4 3 2 1

8. If the team does not reach its goal, we are more interested in finding out why we fail than blaming the teammates. 5 4 3 2 1

9. We talk to the team members that we feel are not doing their part. 5 4 3 2 1

10. Our team leader is receptive to our opinions. 5 4 3 2 1

Communication score:


An expert and supportive administrator

11. The administrator has sufficient technical knowledge and experience to guide us in our efforts. 5 4 3 2 1

12. The administrator develops all of our skills and understands our needs. 5 4 3 2 1

13. The head of our team tries to give us the Credit for the work and does not appropriate it. 5 4 3 2 1

14. Our administrator keeps us up to date as to what happens in the organization. 5 4 3 2 1

15. The administrator is respected in the company. 5 4 3 2 1

Administrator score:


Decision making

16. People outside the team would describe our decision-making as productive and constructive. 5 4 3 2 1

17. We work together to make decisions instead of ignoring them. 5 4 3 2 1

18. The team encourages each person to be honest and honest,

even if they have to share information that goes on

against what the team would like to hear. 5 4 3 2 1

19. Our team believes that we all have something of value to

contribute to the team’s debates and that our

Opinions are of paramount importance to the success of the team. 5 4 3 2 1

20. Decision making by consensus is very good. 5 4 3 2 1

Score of authority to make decisions:


Rewards and recognition

21. The team has the skills and motivation it needs to be rewarded for its efforts. 5 4 3 2 1

22. Team rewards make sense for the entire team. 5 4 3 2 1

23. There is good agreement between the capabilities of team members and the recognition they receive. 5 4 3 2 1

24. We clearly understand what the team has to do in order to be rewarded and recognized. 5 4 3 2 1

25. Team members give each other mutual recognition. 5 4 3 2 1

Rewards and recognition score:


Instructions for the score

Average the scores of team members in each of the five key areas. Write these averages in the first column of the scorecard.

Then fill in the team leader’s scores and the difference between team and leader scores. A score of 20-25 in any category is almost perfect, and a sign that it is an amazing high performance team. A score of 16-19 indicates that the team is doing well in that category but can improve. A score of 12-15 indicates that the equipment is in development mode, and a score below 12 indicates deep problems in the operation of the equipment.


Hold a broad discussion about what the scores indicate. Then ask some questions. What areas should we improve? What are our strengths? How would you analyze any gap between the leader and the team? What other issues, not mentioned in the survey, are sensitive points for us?


Five Keys to a Team Spirit Results of Team Members Results of the Leader Difference

Roles and responsibilities

Honest and honest communication

An administrator who supports

Authority to make decisions

Rewards and recognition




When to use it

Use the blind square to highlight the importance of effective team communication and leadership, and when a team has communication or leadership difficulties.


In this exercise the members of the team live a communication process and then relate that experience with the way in which the team communicates habitually. Team members gain an understanding of what effective team communication entails.


Sixty minutes: ten minutes to prepare the team; twenty-five for the activity and twenty-five for the discussion.


Cards, a rope of thirty meters and a handkerchief (bandage) per person.


The blind square is the best exercise for team building that I have ever used. The understanding that members of the teams acquire from him is extraordinary and will continue to allude to him for months. This exercise really shows the strengths and shortcomings of the team’s current communication. There is only one issue that could worry you when it comes to using it: you need a large interior or exterior space to do it. The perfect time to carry out this activity would be to be outside the company.

There are two things you must do to prepare for the activity. First, appoint at least one member of the team as an observer, he will be the one to give his opinions after the activity ends. Ask that person to also evaluate the activity.

Second, prepare seven 15 x 18 centimeters cards. Write one of the following points on Each card, with very clear and large letters:

The rope must be fully extended.

The rope is thirty meters long.

Everyone must have at least one hand on the rope when we finish.

We have to form a perfect square.

The time limit is twenty-five minutes.

The bandages must be used until it is finished; you are not allowed to look.

Someone is going to be taking care of us, so do not worry about falls or your safety.

Take the work team to the space where you will perform this team training activity. Tell them that they will participate in an activity that will reveal a lot about how the teams communicate and behave. Do not reveal any additional information. Hand out the cards to seven different team members and tell them they must memorize what is in them. Give them thirty seconds to read their cards and then collect them. Then ask the team to put on their bandages; tell them not to worry about their safety because someone (maybe you) is going to monitor every movement of them.

Find out in advance if someone is uncomfortable with the bandage, you can have that person take on the role of observer. Some people will have glasses. Collect them or ask them to put them on top of the bandages (a great opportunity to take photos). After everyone is blindfolded, give a member of the team the rope. Then do not say anything else during the activity, except to report every five minutes or something like that how much time you have left, or if you notice there is concern for safety or a badly worn bandage.

What often happens next (although unfortunately I have seen that some teams never do) is that the members of the team that have the cards tell everyone what was written on them (never tell them to do this). You will be truly fascinated to see how the team solves the problem of making a perfect square, without being able to see.

You or one of the observers needs to be alert to avoid accidents.

I suggest you use a space that has no obstacles and a flat floor. In addition, the space should be as private as possible, without any person “outside” observing. Outsiders will make the group feel very uncomfortable, either during or after the activity, or both.

You can be a little flexible over time. For example, if the team seems to be successful and only two minutes remain, you can ask them if they want another five additional minutes.

When the time is up, tell them to remove their bandages so they can see the results. They will have fulfilled their task of the blind square if they manage to form a perfect square (it does not have to be one hundred percent perfect), all team members must have at least one hand on the rope, which must be fully extended. Give the team a few minutes to talk with each other or with the whole group, before the evaluation. They will probably be very excited and most will have a lot to say before they can concentrate on specific questions.


The evaluations are always very important and that of this activity will be an enriching experience for the team. I suggest starting this section with a round. Ask each team member to say what they want about the exercise.

Then ask the observer (s) to comment on what they noticed.

Then ask the following questions (if they have not been discussed yet). These questions are only by way of suggestion. Based on the performance of the team, you will probably have additional or different questions.

What worked for the team and what did not?

Do they all feel that they participated? But because?

How was the leadership? Who was the leader? Was it effective?

How was the communication? Was it effective? What could I have done differently?

Compare the communication that occurred during the activity with the communication of the team during normal working hours, what are the differences?

What did you learn from the blind square that will improve our joint work?

What did you learn in this exercise in relation to team dynamics?

What discoveries did you make about yourself in this exercise?


I have shared many activities for team building that you can try with yours. Your teams will find that these exercises are fun and stimulating. They can also be a little risky. That is, team members will reveal things about themselves that they may not have expressed before and may receive comments that they may not want to accept. It is important that you explain to them why you are doing these exercises. Also, make a very detailed evaluation after each one. People will gather in-depth knowledge during the development of the exercises, but the message or objective of them will be firmly implanted during the discussion and evaluation.

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