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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Silence in the Classroom


William Plain


Copyright © 2003
by William Plain
First published 2003
Published by Aishin Corporation
Printed in Japan


Abstract of research project 2

Research report 5

Acknowledgements 12

Visiting a ‘Plain Pair Group Teaching’ classroom 13

Part 1: Methodology

Chapter 1 - Aim of this book 17

Communicative methodology - how
Communicative theory - why
New paradigms
Theory based on personal observation
Replication reading

Chapter 2 – Searching for a method 23

Language is not its description
We become part of a language
The communicative non-native teacher
From structure to communication
Minimal input
The child in the language classroom

Chapter 3 - ‘Plain PGT’: a teaching method for awareness 35

A method for communication
Choice of method
A rationale for groups
Group dynamics
Focus on materials
Introduction and presentation of material
Cross-group pairs
Small cross-groups
Student presentation
Group or individual report

Chapter 4 - ‘Plain PGT’: classroom management 45

The classroom is concerned with learning
Don’t correct
Ways of managing
Developing confidence
The lonely teacher

Chapter 5 - Content in university language classes 55

Content or skills
Acquiring a language
Content for relevance
Types of content
Methodology for content

Chapter 6 – Management of silence 61

Learning space
All teaching is based on principles
‘Jug and glass’ teaching
Not change, but ‘awakeness’
Education for awareness

Part 2: Efficient second language learning

Chapter 7 – Paradigms and models 71

Language ‘boxes’
Mental boxes as paradigms
Language sphere
‘Space’ and ‘silence’

Chapter 8 - Learning space 79

Space for silence
What is learning space?
The freedom to learn

Chapter 9 - Two ways to learn 85

Natural learning VS taught learning
Non-institutionalised learning
The role of the teacher
Light learning vs. heavy learning

Chapter 10 - Teaching through awareness 93

Hidden curriculum
Awareness as ‘non-method’
Make it yours
Teacher presence
Internal silence
The classroom dynamics of awareness

Part 3: Paradigms and first language learning

Chapter 11 - Paradigms and linguistics 105

Paradigmatic methodology
Creativity through paradigms
Parallel paradigms
The modern paradigm
The separation paradigm and structural linguistics
The participation paradigm and participatory linguistics

Chapter 12 - We are all natural learners 115

The eternal present
Psychological theories - Freud and Jung
Two views of early intelligence
Losing and finding our childhood

Chapter 13 - Early language acquisition 123

Communication as participation
Childhood learning and the silent mind
Science actually agrees
Observations of childhood learning
Language learning is internally active
Language contextualisation

Chapter 14 - Enhanced learning 137

Natural language learning
The nature of silence
To be mentally ‘available’
Losing and regaining

Chapter 15 - Natural multi-lingualism 143

Learning other languages is natural
Being ‘in the language’
A natural capacity for analysing the language
Multiple language learning
Language and world-making
Language diversity

Bibliography 155

Recognition and remuneration


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