Creative Discussion using Plain Pair Groups

Creative Discussion – a key to insight and change

William Plain
Emeritus Professor, Nagoya University of Foreign Studies

Plain Pair Group Teaching (Plain PGT)
- for universities and schools
Plain Pair Group Discussion (Plain PGD)
- for decision making and staff development
- for informal or community creative discussion

A flash of insight is the spark of cosmic intelligence.
Small group sharing of insight can change the pattern of human intelligence.

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Campus Creative Discussion

Plain Pair Groups

Organise a group

Organise a small “creative discussion group” with other students on campus. Start with two or three people, and then invite others to join. Arrange to meet once a week to present and discuss a topic chosen freely by each person. If your group should grow beyond six, you can divide into separate groups. One person should belong to both groups.

If your university is organising Campus Creative Discussion, you may be placed in a discussion group. Please meet as requested in this group.  You may of course also organise your own group as a “Pair Group”.

Pair Groups

Each person should belong to two different groups so you can present the results of one group discussion to another group, comparing and confronting the ideas of the two groups. Each group then is a “pair group” to the other. You could even form a Pair Group off campus, with family or friends.

Choice of topic

Choose “an important topic” that:

helps you “see the world in a different way”

helps you grow and “evolve”

Present, and listen

In turn, present the most interesting ideas you have discovered in your classes or through your research and thinking during the week. Divide the time equally. As you listen to the others, take notes to help you present the “best ideas” to your Pair Group.

Use your L2

On campus, the whole group should use the foreign language (L2) you are studying – English, French, Chinese, etc. If you find this difficult to start with, present each main point in the L2, then explain in Japanese, but keep returning to the L2. If you choose Japanese as your group language, make sure you join a foreign language Pair Group.

The principle rules of discussion are:

Responsibility: search for topics which will help you, people around you, and the planet to grow and evolve.

Equality: equal time for each person to present their ideas.

Respect: listen with attention and respect to the ideas presented by others in the group.

Insight: search in what others say and in your own ideas for new understandings, for that flash of insight – the “ah-ha” experience.

Earthsight: ultimately, personal insight and creativity come from our collective experience as human beings and as part of a living planet and can be a source of creative understanding and action.

This is your chance to discover that

You have ideas that others want to listen to

Listening to others will help you discover new ideas

Presenting your ideas, and listening to others, helps you become more creative.

Creative Discussion will

Help you to interact freely with others

Expand your world of knowledge

Be an immense help in many aspects of your professional and personal life.

The ‘ripple effect’

When you form a Creative Discussion group, and then another Pair Group, on campus or among your family and friends off campus, and they in turn form new groups, your discoveries, your insights will start to ‘ripple out’ across this open network of Creative Discussion groups. In this way each person can start to change the world, first the ‘inner world’, and then the ‘outer world’.

Print off this page

Tell others in your group to check this web site from time to time.

Print off sign to display while ‘in discussion’

[Campus CD sign]

To use Creative Discussion groups in other situations see:

Creative Discussion Groups

For an explanation of the reasoning behind Creative Discussion groups see:

The Awakeness Paradigm

Education is about developing creativity. The key to creativity is through ‘insight’. Discover new ways of seeing the world around us and the world inside us. By changing myself, I change the world.

Recognition and remuneration


© William Plain  1990-2016 (print) 2005 - 2016 (website)