The group synergetic effect: some observations in relation to design with relevance to schools
conference contributionposted on 15.03.2006, 11:57 by Howard G. Denton
This paper examines some aspects of synergy in relation to the activity of designing by pupils. Firstly the concept of synergy is considered by reference to the literature on the subject. Secondly observations are made from fieldwork completed by the author. This fieldwork consisted of a series of case studies of pupils designing in teams. It had been hypothesized that the performance of such teams would be enhanced by synergetic effects in comparison with design work done individually. The limitations of these observations, due to the specific conditions of these case studies, are made clear. The fieldwork demonstrated a positive effect on endeavour in these situations; but it was not possible to demonstrate a positive effect on the quality of design work completed. Pupils tended not to adopt a competitive approach but did respond to deadlines. Pupils preferred to establish cooperative team management structures rather than establish leaders, who were not seen as relevant. Endeavour was maximised in teams which were selected so that they were heterogeneous in terms of gender, friendship groupings, subject expertise and ability. The findings from the fieldwork are then interpreted in relation to the theoretic literature. Certain conclusions are drawn in relation to the teaching of design in schools and suggestions are made for further research.
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