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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 This small package outlines several personal projects aimed at promoting

NUFS Creative Campus

この小冊子は「NUFS Creative Campus」を促進することを目的とした、

NUFS Creative Campus combines several projects, developed and trialled at NUFS, each of which can be useful in increasing creative interaction and academic discussion across the campus, among both students and staff. The main components are outlined below (with period already trialled).

Campus Creative Discussion (CCD) (used over 3 years) organises students to meet outside of class, often during lunch, to discuss important topics in Japanese or in a foreign language – with no teacher. This project has been developed over 3 years, with students from several departments meeting in small groups with mixed 1/2/3/4th Years. I have found that students benefit enormously from this activity and participate willingly and regularly, even though (or because!) there is no teacher supervision.

Peer Faculty Development using Plain Pair Groups (used in Eibei for university renewal proposals) can follow a similar pattern by providing an informal forum for discussion of teaching and curriculum. Teachers would meet in small groups following the basic formula of presentation of ideas and respectful listening to others while being attentive to one’s own insights.
プレイン・ペア・グループ(大学改革の提案に関して話し合うために、英米語学科にて使用されている)を使うピア教職員開発(Peer FD)も、指導法とカリキュラムに関する非公式な会議の場を用意することによって、同じように行なうことができます。教員は小グループで集まって、①意見を発表し合い、②他の教員が発表しているときにはしっかりと聞き、③そのあいだ自分のひらめきに注意する、という基本原則に従います。

Plain Pair Group Teaching (Plain PGT) (10 years at NUFS) is a very simple method for combining lecture and student-centred discussion. It retains the advantages of intensive presentation of material in a traditional manner while adding student discussion in small groups. This enables deeper understanding of class material and promotes active learning.

Corporate Creative Discussion (proposal) can take the creative interaction of small discussion groups into the realm of administration and management to facilitate exchange of ideas and greater involvement in the management of the university. Ideally this would allow both ‘horizontal’ interaction among colleagues, probably across sections, and ‘vertical’ group formation across levels of hierarchy.
Corporate Creative Discussion(提案中)は、小グループによる創造的な交流は、意見交換や、大学の管理へより深くかかわることを促進する管理・経営の場でも可能となります。理論上、同僚、そしておそらく各課間における「横」の交流や、全階層を通じての「縦」のグループ形成が可能となります。

Ancillary projects already put into practice are: ‘autonomous evaluation’ with student ‘choice’ of grade based on quantity (very effective for encouraging student responsibility); promoting enrolment in NUFS graduate courses; academic discussion with exchange students; preparation for overseas study.

Plain Pair Groups (developed through two Monkasho funded research projects over 7 years at University of Tsukuba and NUFS), which underlies all of these components, requires that each participant belong to two discussion groups, with individual presentation and respectful listening to others, while at the same time being attentive to new ideas or insights that emerge in one’s own mind. Good ideas from one group are then presented to the other group. As each group member belongs to a different ‘other’ group (Plain Pair Group), this forms a network of groups across the campus such that each person can access a wide range of new ideas resulting in a degree of creativity that can transform learning, teaching and professional involvement across the campus.

NUFS Creative Campus can contribute to a creative exchange of ideas among all members of the university: students, teachers and administration. The Campus Creative Discussion project has proven to be easy to organise and can provide a very effective foundation for the other Creative Campus projects.
NUFS Creative Campusは、大学の学生、教員と管理者間における創造的な意見交換に寄与できるでしょう。そのNUFS Creative Campusプロジェクトは、容易に編成できることが示されてきました。また、他のCreative Campusプロジェクトに取って、非常に有効な基礎ともなります。

If successfully applied on this campus, NUFS Creative Campus projects could also be useful for NUAS and other Nakanishi institutions, and would place NUFS in a position of primacy if these ideas should be adopted in other universities.
NUFS Creative Campusプロジェクトが本キャンパスで成功すれば、NUASや中西学園の他の学校でも役立つでしょう。さらに、この計画が他大学でも採用されることになれば、NUFSは主要な大学となるでしょう。

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© William Plain  1990-2023 (print); 2005 - 2023 (website)